5 Barbecue Myths Debunked: Separating Fact from Fiction

What's the difference between barbecue and grilling. Picture of grilled protein.

Barbecue is a time-honoured tradition that has been enjoyed by many cultures around the world. From the Southern United States to South Africa, barbecue is a cuisine that has a rich and diverse history. However, with this rich history comes a plethora of barbecue myths and misconceptions that have been passed down through the generations. In this article, we will debunk some of the most common barbecue myths and separate fact from fiction.

Barbecue Myths #1: Barbecue and Grilling are the Same

To get to this answer the question has to be what’s the difference between barbecue and grilling? One of the most common misconceptions about barbecue is that it is the same as grilling. While both involve cooking meat over an open flame, there are distinct differences between the two. Grilling involves cooking meat quickly at a high temperature, whereas barbecue is a slow-cooking process that uses low heat and smoke to tenderize meat over a longer period of time. Barbecue also involves the use of wood smoke, which gives the meat a distinct flavour that cannot be achieved through grilling alone.


Myth #2: Barbecue Sauce Should be Applied at the Beginning of Cooking

Barbecue Myths would have you basting your protein heavily with sauce on your meal
Barbecue Myths promote various sauce recipes with your BBQ

Another common myth about barbecue is that barbecue sauce should be applied to the meat at the beginning of the cooking process. However, this is not the case. Barbecue sauce is high in sugar, which means that it will burn easily if applied too early. Instead, it is best to apply barbecue sauce towards the end of the cooking process, or even after the meat has been removed from the grill or smoker. This will allow the sauce to caramelize on the meat without burning.


Myth #3: Barbecue Should Always Be Cooked Low and Slow

While low and slow is a common method of cooking barbecue, it is not the only way. There are many different methods of cooking barbecue, and the best method will depend on the type of meat being cooked, the equipment being used, and the desired flavour profile. For example, some cuts of meat may benefit from a higher cooking temperature to crisp up the outside, while others may benefit from a longer cooking time to tenderize the meat. Ultimately, the best way to cook barbecue is the way that produces the desired result.

Barbecue Myths #4: Barbecue Must Be Cooked with Wood

While wood smoke is a common ingredient in barbecue, it is not the only way to achieve the distinct

flavour associated with barbecue. Many different types of fuel can be used to cook barbecues including charcoal, gas, and electric. While it’s true that hardwoods such as hickory and oak are popular choices for smoking, they’re not the only option. In fact, some pitmasters swear by fruitwoods such as apple and cherry for imparting unique flavours to meats.

Additionally, some woods such as mesquite can be overpowering if used in large quantities, so it’s important to experiment with different woods to find the perfect balance of flavour.

Barbecue Myths #5: Barbecue is Only for Meat

While meat is the most common ingredient in barbecue, it is not the only thing that can be cooked on a grill or smoker. Vegetables, fruit, and even desserts can all be cooked using barbecue techniques. Grilled vegetables can be a healthy and delicious addition to any barbecue, while grilled fruit can be a refreshing and unique dessert option. The possibilities are endless when it comes to cooking on a grill or smoker. We recommend that you seek out  this publication

       “How To Grill Vegetables”  

In conclusion, barbecue is a cuisine that has a rich history and a wealth of myths and misconceptions. By separating fact from fiction, we can gain a better understanding of the true nature of barbecue and how to achieve the best results. Remember, there is no one “right” way to cook barbecue, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find the method that works best for you.

We have a question and would love to have your opinion! Which is the best barbecue grill to buy? Do send us your opinion on this topic as we are compiling feedback from our audience.

Photograph Credits

Photos supplied by Ruslan Khmelevsky and pexels.com


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  1. Hey there!

    I just read your article on “5 Barbecue Myths Debunked: Separating Fact from Fiction” and found it really informative. It’s amazing how many misconceptions there are about barbecuing, and your article did a great job of debunking some of the most common myths.

    I especially appreciated your explanation of the difference between grilling and barbecuing, as well as your clarification on the best temperature for cooking meat. It’s helpful to have these facts straight in order to achieve the best results when cooking outdoors.

    Thanks for sharing your expertise with us!

    1. Author

      Hey Jennyse, thanks very much for your feedback. It’s such an amazing topic. FYI, I’m not sure if you are aware but we offer a free downloadable time and temperature chart that covers most proteins cooked over a BBQ. You can access it Free here.

  2. I couldn’t stop smiling while reading your post. ☺ 

    While I always knew that barbecue is not the same as grilling, there is still a lot that I do not know. And yes, there is this thing about applying barbecue sauce prior to cooking. Apparently, this is to allow the meat to absorb the sauce, making it taste better. But I noticed that meat with barbecue sauce on gets burned pretty quickly. 

    Also, I can relate to myth #5. We use the word “barbecue” when cooking meat over an open flame and call it “grilling” when we cook fish, lol. Thanks for the correction. I am sure that the next time we do a barbecue or grill, I will remember this post. 

    1. Author

      Thanks for your comments, Alice. Regardless if it’s grilling or barbecuing it’s always such a pleasant experience. Enjoy!

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