Opinion on "smoking"

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Original poster
Aug 23, 2005
Is it considered "smoking" something if you have a barrel type charcoal grill, but put the coals and wood chips on one side, and the meat on the other, or is that "bbqing"? Just curious. My rig doesnt have a separate firebox. (wish it did!) Its an older model from Oklahoma Joe's that a buddy gave me. Not real big, but it weighs a ton!! Especially with no wheels on it. (gotta fix that one of these days!) Thanks
I could be totally wrong on this but in my opinion BBQ-ing is cooking meat and smoking is something you do to enhance flavor. I also don't believe there is ever a stupid question. Everyone has to learn at one point in time. Welcome to the site.
Now there's a question to which you'll get lots of opinions and many of them different. Some grill manufacturers call their gas grills "Barbecues". An event where the family or a community comes together is also called a barbecue. To the general public anything that involved hamburgers, hotdogs or a grill is barbecuing.

When I think of barbecue, I think of meat cooked indirectly using fire and smoker like in an offset pit, horizontal smoker, or indirectly on a grill. "Smoking" can either be hot or cold, the former for eating and the latter for preserving.
I'm agreeing with you totally except there is some exceptions to cold smoking. It is used for preserving at times but I cold smoke cheese and I have a recipe for a cold smoked sausage that is great. Just two examples where cold smoking is not always preserving. Keep on smoking!!
I have used my barrel type grill many of times to slow smoke turkeys or chicken, even slow smoked the bear loins on it last week. I just place the coals as far to the left as I can and the meat as far to the right. The trick is to not place to many coals into the grill. Using lump charcoal and good soaked wood chucks makes it easy to keep the temp where you want it. To me the difference between BBQing and Smoking lies in the temp of the cooking area and to placement of the meat and coals.
The accepted definition and the actual definition are two different things. I and a lot of people use smoking and bbq interchangeably.. I think true bbq is at a higher temp than smoking but for all practical purposes smoking and bbq are the same thing in most minds.

To get technical the way I understand it.. smoking is cooking with wood coals between 90 and 225 degrees while barbecuing is cooking with wood coals between 225 and up to normal grilling temps of 400+

I like to keep the smoker right at 225 so in reality it could be called smoking or barbecuing either one and still be correct.


You are doing what is called "indirect smoking" meaning you are converting a grilling situation with the hot coals directly below the meat into a smoking situation by moving the coals to one side and putting the meat on the other.
Yep, what Jeff said. I look at smoking and barbequeing as low and slow (low cooking temps and long cooking times) and grilling as high and fast (high temp and short cooking time).

I have a neighbor that likes to "wander" over anytime I'm cooking outside. Last Sunday I was grilling some steaks for my B-day dinner when he showed up. He asked "What 'er ya barbequeing?" He had that puzzled look when I told him I was "just grilling steaks cuz I was in a hurry to eat." :D
SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Latest posts

Hot Threads