Smoker vs Grill: Difference and Comparison

There are lots of foods to eat with different flavours that come from different types of cooking techniques used.


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Such two techniques Smoking and grilling are often confused to be the same but they are a lot different in terms of the methods and flavors.

Smoking is a slow process that uses indirect heat, whereas Grilling is a fast process that uses a direct heating method.

Key Takeaways

  1. Grills use direct heat for cooking food, while smokers use indirect heat and smoke.
  2. Grills are better for cooking foods quickly, while smokers are better for slow-cooking and infusing smoky flavor.
  3. Smokers are more expensive than grills.

Smoker vs Grill

The difference between Smoker and Grill is that they both have different cooking times and heat levels. Smoking is a slow process and is done over low heat so it takes several hours to be done properly. On the other hand, Grilling is done on high heat and thus the food is cooked fastly and takes less time. Smoking is all about enhancing the flavors whereas Grilling is all about heat and moistness.

Smoker vs Grill

Smoking involves indirect heating, and the food takes several hours to be done. The temperature ranges anywhere from 190F and 300F.

They, however, give the best authentic flavours when added wood and charcoal.

One has to keep patience when smoking as it takes time and is done at an even and consistent temperature. The flavours depend on the wood used.

Grilling uses a direct heating method and there is no need to use wood and charcoal in this process. The direct heating temperatures can range anywhere between 300F to 550F.

They are not time-consuming and take some minutes to cook food. The food flavours are very different from that of smoking, and usually, you can get moist food, and the flavours are of the types of spices used.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSmokerGrill
Cooking TemperatureThe internal temperature is very hot and ranges from 400 Fahrenheit to more than that.The internal temperature is lower and ranges from 120 to 300 Fahrenheit.
FlavorsGet authentic barbeque flavor and different flavors when used wood or charcoal.It doesn’t have that barbeque flavor but the flavor of spices used and it stays moist and more flavourful.
Cooking timeIt is a slow process as it is done at low temperatures and can take even hours.It takes less time as it is done over high temperature but there are also chances of burning the food if left.
Heating methodIt involves an indirect method of using smoke and sometimes moisture to cook food that is dispersed through heart chambers.It involves a direct method of using a flame under the food rack to cook.
NatureLimited heat capacities thus the process of cooking is slow.It can reach high temperatures and thus the cooking is very fast.

What is Smoker?

A smoker is used for cooking large and tough pieces of meat such as briskets, whole birds, porks, etc. It is generally operated at low temperatures ranging from 90 F to 300 F.

They use indirect heating methods which is a time-consuming process and takes several hours to cook properly.

The time it takes helps in enriching its smoky flavours and at the end, you can get some well-prepared, delicious, authentic barbeque, smoky meat with the flavours of charcoal and wood used.

They help to lock the natural flavours of the food and give them moisture.

A combination of smoke, time, and low heat is used in a closed environment. Smoking is of two types: 1) cold smoking and 2) hot smoking.

Cold smoker has a temperature anywhere between 68F to 86F which takes 12- 24 hrs to cook food. Hot smoking has a temperature of 126F to 250F.

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smoker 1

What is Grill?

Grilling is a very different technique which is much faster than smoking and more preferred if having large groups of people to serve.

Using direct heat, in grilling, the capacity of the temperature is high and ranges from 330F to 550F. The direct flames to the food make them moist and cooked fast.

It is a fast way of cooking, but one can’t get such authentic barbeque flavour from grilling. Grilling helps to keep the moistness and flavour of the food for a long time and has the flavours of spices used. 

Grilling mainly uses small pieces of meat to cook them fast. For different types of flavours, different types of grillers are used, such as Kettle charcoal grills, barrel grills, gas grills, etc. They are used depending on the situation.

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Main Differences Between Smoker and Grill

  1. Smoking needs a heat temperature between 90F to 300F, whereas Grilling needs high temperatures from 330F to 550F.
  2. Smoking is done at low temperatures, and hence it takes hours, whereas Grilling is a fast process and takes a few minutes to be done.
  3. Smoking gives an authentic barbeque flavour with the use of wood and charcoal, whereas Grilling has moist flavours of the spices used.
  4. Smoking involves indirect heating, and no direct flame is used; instead, wood and charcoal are used, whereas Grilling involves the use of direct heating at high temperatures and direct flames.
  5. Smoking has limited heating capacities, whereas Grilling has a high heating capacity.
Difference Between Smoker and Grill


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