Grills Vs. Smokers

Monday, April 19th, 2021
BBQ in Amarillo Texas

Summer is around the corner which means grilling and smoking food outside will become more frequent. Preparing food outside is an excellent way to get that fresh air and produce extraordinary food in the great outdoors. There are lots of different types of outdoor cooking equipment, each with its own benefits and difficulties. Let’s clear up some of the confusion about smokers versus grills that comes with outdoor cooking.




Smoking food creates a special flavor that cannot be achieved using a conventional grill. This food preparation process requires a slow cook time at a low, constant temperature. Indirect heat is used to produce delicious, tender BBQ that falls right off the bone. It is most common for smokers to use a combination of water and wood to create that distinct flavor. Smokers work best when cooking big pieces of meat, such as a brisket or a rack of ribs. They require dedicated attention as well as many hours to properly cook the meat. The heat needs to be watched carefully.  Wood must be added often, and airflow must also be controlled. Smokers are perfect for that smoky flavor, but there is a slow cook time and careful attention is a must.




Grills use direct heat to sear the outside of the meat and cook for a shorter period of time at a higher temperature than smokers. They come in charcoal, gas, and electric models, but charcoal and gas are favored by most people as electric doesn’t produce as good a flavor. With grilling, direct or indirect heat can be used by putting the meat over the open flame, or by putting the meat away from the flame. Using indirect heat on the grill can enable you to slow down the cooking process and cook thick pieces of meat without burning the outside.


Biggest Differences Between Smokers and Grills



  • Cook Time


The most notable difference between smokers and grills is cook time. Grilling meat can take as little as 30 minutes, depending on how you prefer the doneness. However, an average cook time for smoking meat is 6-8 hours, possibly longer. 


  • Flavor Profile


It’s no secret that grilled and smoked foods taste different. Although grills can give your food a smoky flavor, smokers are the way to go if you want a much stronger, deeper smoky flavor. Keep in mind that the type of heat source you use, whether it be charcoal, gas, or wood will influence the flavor of the food no matter the cooking method. That is something to consider when deciding between a smoker and a grill.


Similarities Between Smokers and Grills



  • Upkeep


Both grills and smokers need similar cleaning and maintenance. Cleaning your outdoor cooking equipment is required a few times a year, if not after every use. How often you need to clean your smoker or grill really depends on your preferences and how often they are used.


  • Ease of Use


Smokers and grills are both relatively easy to cook with, and expert cooking knowledge is not required with operating either cooking device. It is possible to easily check on your food with both a smoker and grill as well.


  • Fuel Usage


About the same amount of electricity or other fuel is required for both grills and smokers. Grills may cook more quickly than smokers, but they use more energy to produce those higher heat.  Because of this, it is likely that a generally similar amount of energy is used with a grill or a smoker when preparing food.


In Conclusion


The final decision between smoker and grill will come down to taste preferences and cook time, whether you are a novice or a master griller. Or better yet, instead of having to do all the work yourself, let Dyer’s BBQ prepare your food! That way you don’t have to worry about cooking times, or equipment upkeep. Let Dyer’s do all the hard work for you. Check out our menu here, we’d love to cook for you!