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Smoker vs. BBQ: The Complete Comparison

Smoker vs bbq

For a tailgate enthusiast, smoking has a whole new meaning. What’s your favorite rare steak or sunny side up egg if it’s not fuming with taste? Smoking and grilling are two of the most exquisite cooking methods that turn the tables entirely. Smokers and grills may sound like the same thing, and most people use the two interchangeably.

But learning the difference in this smoker vs. BBQ comparison is very important. For one thing, how do you know which will give you the best taste? It is questions like these which urged us to write this article.

Learning the difference: Smoker vs. BBQ

The first thing you need to know is obviously the difference when we compare smoker vs. BBQ. BBQ is the process of cooking food through a direct dry heat source, usually coal, wood, or propane. It is a great way to quickly roast food and give it the nice tangy flavor that we all love.

It’s recently become popular. And now almost no party is complete without the traditional BBQ experience. BBQ is done via barbeque grills, griddles, and even grill pans. Grill pans tend to give a slightly off taste and aren’t as smoky as the original thing. Still, we feel that grilling is one of the fastest and safest ways to cook food.

Smoker vs bbq

Smoking, on the other hand, is a type of grilling in which the heat is low. The temperature is usually dropped to below 400 degrees F. And the food is allowed to slowly roast. Consider it as a slower, “softer” version of barbecue.

However, smoking also uses a lot of smoke to cook the food and give it a dry roasted flavor. Smoking is one of the best methods to step up your grilling game and make the most out of your BBQ party. Although smoking can be done on a grill, it’s best with a professional smoker.

Smoker vs. BBQ product differences

There are obviously a lot of differences when we have a look at the smoker vs. BBQ comparison. The equipment differs based on set up, consumption, output, availability, price, and portability. BBQ grills require that you connect the gas supply or add the coals/wood to the burner.

This can take some time, especially if you’re low on fuel. They consume lesser heat since they cook very fast. However, they cook at higher temperatures. So it can take more time to reach that temperature. BBQ grills can be pretty small and compact. They can even come without the stand and even with wheels.

As opposed to that, a smoker grill takes up more heat and time to cook. Although it doesn’t cook at a high temperature, you will have to leave it burning for a long time. This can increase the cooking time. Smoker grills almost always require a stand, but many are on wheels. So for portability, it’s a 50/50 situation. Other than that, the setup process is almost the same for both smokers vs. BBQ grills.

Are electric smokers bad for your health?

No, not at all! In fact, an electric smoker may actually be a better alternative to the non-electric ones. You see, the real health concern isn’t in how you cook the food. But rather in how much you cook it. Cooking meats at a higher temperature melts the fat and lets it slip down through the grates.

At a lower temperature, however, the fat stays on. While a conventional smoker won’t allow you to control the temperature much, an electrical one will. So you can either set a high temperature to have fat-free food or you can go for a colder option for a buffer steak. The choice is yours.

Smoker vs bbq

Which is healthier: smoker vs. BBQ?

Health concerns between smokers vs. BBQ grills come from the temperatures at which you cook with them. As explained above, more heat equals lesser fat. While smokers can get to a high temperature, BBQ grills are even better. However, with BBQ grills comes a heavier threat: overcooking.

Overcooking the food may release a lot of carcinogenic compounds. These compounds can cost you a trip to the oncologist. Apart from that, it can also make the food harder to digest. This can pose an issue, especially for people who already have digestive problems.

Smokers, on the other hand, cook the food pretty evenly. However, cold smoking may actually risk the food being underdone. So we recommend having a temperature of at least 400 degrees F when smoking your favorite veggies. If the temperature is too high, you also risk undercooking the inside. So rapidly roasting on a grill isn’t the healthiest option. So overall, we consider smokers to generally be healthier than BBQ grills.

If you’re still concerned, you can read more about the health side effects of over and undercooking the food. If you don’t overcook the food, or use an electric grill, then even BBQ grills can be pretty beneficial. Grills, in general, don’t allow melted fat to accumulate. Unlike grill pans or griddles. They also reach higher temperatures and cook the food evenly.

Differences between flavors in smoker vs. BBQ

Now, for the final point of discussion in the smoker vs. BBQ comparison the flavor. Flavor is the one and only aspect that we just can’t overlook. Yes, we eat for the nutrients. But our experiences would be nothing without the glorious spectrum of flavors. BBQ and smokers give two very distinct tastes, especially when cooked in their proper equipment.

A BBQ will give a spicier, drier, and tastier final product. There will be more flavors, and most of the meat inside will be cooked evenly throughout. This will give the meat that unique barbecued taste that we all love. There is a bit of smokiness in grills, and this smoky texture can uplift the dryness. Don’t like dry food? No worries. Just top your favorite steaks and cutlets with BBQ sauce or mustard marinade and you’ll have the time of your life.

Smoker vs bbq

As for smokers, they give a moister and smokier taste. Flavor is more concentrated in the center, and the meat is moist instead of dry. This makes the meat softer and fluffier. It’s perfect for making soft-boiled eggs. The inside will remain soft and runny. The biggest difference to discuss in the smoker vs. BBQ comparison is the smokiness. The smoky texture is what people love about these smokers. Smokers are the next best thing in line, and they will always be better at smoking than any regular BBQ.

What should I buy, smoker vs. BBQ?

This depends on your needs. We recommend BBQ grills for users who:

  • Like drier food.
  • Like the outside charred and brown.
  • Want to spend lesser time cooking.
  • Want a more portable option.
  • Love their steaks with sauces and condiments.

Smoker grills are recommended for people who:

  • Want moister food.
  • Want more smoke.
  • Love a medium cooked meat which tastes the same throughout.
  • Can afford to spend a lot of time cooking.


In short, we would recommend the smoker more than the BBQ because it has lesser health concerns, cooks food evenly, and gives a softer taste. However, like we always say, the right choice is in your hands. Take a look at our comparisons and choose which one you like the most. Smoker vs. BBQ? The answer is with you.

With that being said, it shouldn’t matter what you use or how you use it. The real spirit of a BBQ party isn’t the mouth-watering food. It’s the beauty of a family gathering. So don’t forget to just enjoy the party while you’re having it.

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