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Roast vs. Grill – Why Choose Which?

Roast vs grill

When it comes to roast vs. grill, there are several similarities and differences between both. In essence, both are the same “type” of cooking methods. They’re both the dry-heat method, a method in which no liquid use occurs in the cooking process.

Both roasting and grilling follow an indirect heating method. An indirect heating method is one in which radiation or convection is the main source of receiving the heat. Meaning, in both methods, the cooked food is not in direct contact with something heated by fire. Instead, the cooked food is being heated by the air or radiations from the fire.

Comparison: Roast vs. Grill

EquipmentGrill, Gridiron, or GriddleOven, Closed-lid Grill
Time3 to 10 minutes for medium-rare, medium, or medium-well 1 to 3 hours to cook
TemperatureTemperatures often exceed 500 °FLow-temperature oven, at 200 °F to 400 °F
BenefitsCharred crispy meat slicesTender, wholly internally cooked meat
Traditional DishesSteaks, Kebabs, Ribs, HamburgersShawarma, roasted beef, chicken, potatoes, and vegetables
Heating High direct heatLow Indirect Heat

Difference Between Grilling vs. Roasting

What is roasting?

Roasting refers to indirect heating of your food in an insulated box over a set temperature. That’s why it’s usually performed in an oven. However, closed lid grills may also be used. The cooking temperatures range from 200°F to 400°F.

A heat source heats the ambient air of food. The air rises in temperature to a set degree and conveys diffused heat. The enclosed setting utilizes the hot air inside to cook the food till perfection inside-out. Such way, you minimize burns on the outside and raw areas in the middle.

What is grilling?

Grilling refers to direct heating of your food in an open atmosphere, over high temperatures. It’s usually performed on a griller, griddle etc. The grilling process always has incorporated coal or wood burning. It embellishes the food with mouth-watering flavors.

Roast vs grill

The temperatures sometimes reach over 500 °F. You have to place food on a grill rack over the open flame. Grilled food usually has a charred look and crispy outer. However, you must be extra-vigilant as cooked meals burst into dark burnt, inedible meats real fast due to high temps.

The difference

Both grilling and roasting incorporate many strengths and weaknesses. They’re personalized for food types and personal preferences. Let’s take a look at some of them!

  • Grilling involves higher temperature with direct, radiant heating pattern. It’s performed with food directly exposed to burning coal or flame, on the metal grates.
  • Roasting uses a more indirect and diffused pattern of heating on lower temperatures. It’s commonly performed in an oven in which all sides expose the food to radiations.
  • Grilling is best for cooking thin and chopped pieces. Such as steaks, sweet potatoes, corn, hot dogs and chicken quarters.
  • Roasting is capable of cooking a thicker piece of meat completely such as a lamb’s leg, roasted turkey, roasted chicken, roasted vegetables and shawarma.
Roast vs grill
  • Grilling is a very less time-consuming method. For medium-rare meat, you need 3 to 4 minutes. For medium, you need 4 to 8 minutes. Lastly, for medium-well cooked meat, you need around 10 minutes. For roasting, depending on food type, cooking time range from 1 to 3 hours! So it consumes more time on low heat to give you well-cooked thick meat.
  • In grilling, temperatures reach as high as 500 °F. Temperatures in roasting, on the other hand, range between 200 °F to 400 °F.
  • Through grilling, you obtain a rich golden-brown surface of meat with charred texture. In roasting, a wholly juicy, well-cooked, tender meat is obtained with even cooking throughout.

Grill vs. roast - Which is healthier for cooking meat?

The perspective of health when it comes to roasting vs. grill is debatable and controversial. Both can create negative impacts on health if proper precautions are not practiced. However, from birds’ eye, they’re both a healthier option overall compared to other cooking techniques. They liquefy and melt the fat away from foods as it cooks.

Grilling is considered healthy as the fat drips out of the meat during the cooking process. However, if the meat isn’t marinated properly, carcinogenic (cancer-causing) materials may deposit on the meat. What’s the story behind it? It occurs when dripped fat is burnt in charcoal to give heat to the meat. The composition of fat leftover burnt in charcoal directly isn’t healthy.

Roasting also renders out the fat content from the meat. However, for the meat to not sit in rendered fat, it’s essential to use a roasting rack. The cooking process is longer and thus most fat is released, and natural juices are rather better maintained.

Difference between grilled vs. roasted vegetables

The trick to grilling vegetables lies in perfect timing. Cook them hot, fresh and fast in an outdoor grill. It brings out their natural sugar and saturates them with the smoky char flavor. It requires significant prep work to get things ready. Small grill grates are best for small vegetables. Vegetables are prone to sticking, use oil to counter that. The charred surface with mild brown texture is your signal to finish the process.

Roasting requires the least preparation. The vegetables are supposed to be cooked nice and simply for around half an hour. When the surface gets caramelized with golden-brown texture, consider your veggies done! Caramelized vegetable have a sweet flavor, soft outer and tender inner. For keeping the taste high, it’s essential to prevent drying-out of vegetables. To counter that, use olive oil, butter etc. A wide spaced roasting pan will prevent overcrowding over veggies to minimize steaming.

Roast vs grill

Can your oven cook something that says ‘grill it’?

It’s a very common question and concern for those who don’t own a grill. As the oven is common, there are ways to get results similar to the grill through the oven. So, the answer is yes! Hence, the overall finish and crispy charred outlook are well obtainable. Some features like crosshatch pattern and smokiness are still hard to obtain.

Place the pan only two to three inches away from the heating element, then fire up the oven to its hottest settings; somewhat around 500 °F. Leave the door open to let smoke and steam escape. That way, the temperatures also won’t rise about the auto-turn-off temps of your oven. With it you get a similar intense heat, quickly cooking the outside while the inside remains a bit undercooked. Play with the timings until you get your desired results. Use equipment like a thermometer, to figure out internal temps. Moreover, look for top caramelization and bubbling, boiling juices.


It would be somewhat easier for you to decide which option to opt based on your set-up, convenience, preference, and knowledge. Many dishes also use both techniques for best results. Grilling the outside caramelizes a nice mild outer with crispiness. It is then followed by roasting to get even internal cooking.

Ovens with separate grills are also available nowadays, with electric or gas options. Thus, allowing you the benefits of both worlds from the same appliance. If that’s your thing, go for it! We now hope that our Grill vs. Roast guide portrayed a clearer idea of the slight differences and similarities. Happy cooking!

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