Topic: Barbecues & Grills

Date Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Posted by: Tanya Zanfa (Master Admin)

Yuma Foodie: A look at grill vs. barbecue

Yuma Foodie: A look at grill vs. barbecue


By Karla Billdt

Do you grill or do you barbecue? Do you know the difference? What type of bbq/grill device do you require to do either or both.

I believe almost everyone has a barbecue/grill in their backyard, especially here in Yuma. The summers are extremely hot, and it is a way to keep the heat out of the kitchen. I have seen some beautiful outdoor kitchens, massive grills, little hibachis, smokers. There really is a BBQ/Grill of every shape and size.

Grills/barbecues use a variety of heat-producing products such as charcoal, gas and electric. The newest is pellets. I have found that people get very passionate about the way they cook their food. Charcoal lovers will argue forever about the difference in taste between a gas-cooked steak and a charcoal one.

Now back to grill versus barbecue.

Grilling is what most people do in their back yards. Grilling is cooking foods hot and fast, usually at 500 degrees Fahrenheit, typically done over direct heat. Grilling is done with steaks, chops, hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken pieces. The flavor of some vegetables and fruits is also enhanced by grilling over the flame of direct heat. So, grilling is what most of us are doing to cook that steak, hamburger, chicken for a quick meal.

Barbecuing is cooking foods low and slow. Barbecuing is for larger pieces of meat such as ribs, pork shoulder, whole chicken, turkey or beef brisket. The slow, low heat of the barbecue will break down the protein in the meat, making for lots of delicious and tender meat. Different woods are added to enhance the flavor of the meat, such as mesquite, hickory and apple. The new barbecue/smokers burn pellets and the heat can be regulated with a thermostat. 

Low and slow barbecuing has become an art, and many chefs travel to compete in who has the best barbecue. These recipes, type of wood, sauce, spice, time of cook and what temperature are held pretty secret.

Now that we know the difference between grilling and barbecuing, here are a few helpful hints.

To grill a great steak,  buy a good cut of meat, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before grilling. Once at room temperature, make sure steak is dry, then lightly oil and salt. Sear over high heat for 3-5 minutes per side then move to a cooler spot on the grill to continue cooking. Don’t overcook! Overcooked meat is tough meat. Once the steak is at proper temperature place it on a platter, add some herb butter (recipe to follow) and let set for at least five minutes.

For grilling chicken, thigh and legs are the best, as they are a fattier meat and can stand the dry heat of a grill and stay moist. Use a rub on the chicken, then grill over indirect heat cooking slowly. The last five minutes of cooking, put over direct heat, as this caramelizes the glaze for a wonderful taste.

I have found that grilling fish is best done on cedar planks. These can be purchased at most kitchen stores. Not only does the plank hold the fish and keep it from falling apart, but the cedar planks add a great flavor to the fish.

Vegetables and fruits are greatly enhanced when grilled. Try taking a peach half – grill it, fill with vanilla ice cream and drizzle a little honey over the top. Amazing.

Here are a few recipes to try on your next grill day

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Ancho-Tequila Glaze

(Source: Cooking Light magazine)

1 1/2 cups hickory wood chips

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

12 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned (about 2 1/2 pounds)

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

6 tablespoons amber agave syrup

3 tablespoons tequila

1 1/2 tablespoons hot sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Cooking spray

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

6 lime wedges

Soak wood chips in water 30 minutes; drain well.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat using both burners. After preheating, turn the left burner off (leave the right burner on). Pierce the bottom of a disposable aluminum foil pan several times with the tip of a knife. Place pan on heat element on heated side of grill; add wood chips to pan. Let chips stand for 15 minutes or until smoking.

3. Combine chile powder and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss well. Add oil to bowl; toss well.

4. Place syrup and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup and begins to thicken (about 3 minutes). Reserve syrup mixture.

5. Place chicken, meaty side down, on grill rack coated with cooking spray over left burner (indirect heat). Brush chicken with 2 tablespoons syrup mixture; grill 15 minutes. Turn chicken over. Brush with 2 tablespoons syrup mixture; grill 15 minutes. Turn chicken over and move to direct heat; grill 5 minutes or until done. Garnish with cilantro, if desired. Serve with remaining syrup mixture and lime wedges.

Herbed butter

½ cup un-salted butter at room temperature

¼ cup fresh herbs, such as thyme leave, chives, rosemary, shallots

Kosher salt and freshly ground butter

Mix all together adding salt and pepper to taste. I like to place the herbed butter on parchment paper and roll into a log about the size of a quarter round. Once set you can keep wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge, slicing off about a ¼ inch to place on steak. (also good on potatoes and hamburgers)

Cowboy Rub

This is one of my favorite rubs for beef, I’ve also used it on pork loin and ribs with great success

¼ cup ground coffee

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

1 tablespoon smoky paprika

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoons course ground pepper

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon thyme

Mix all together and rub on steak at least one hour before grilling.

Extra rub can be kept in fridge for up to six months.


Karla Billdt works as a personal chef in Yuma and owns Karla’s Kreations.

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