They’re both used to cook food and they’re both used on a regular basis. Which one is better though? The BBQ or the Oven? To properly answer this question we first need to understand how they both work and what are their main differences. If this is a question you ask yourself too, then read on!
What is a BBQ?
A barbecue grill is a device that cooks food by applying heat from below. There are two main categories of barbecue grills: gas-fueled or charcoal.
Using a BBQ will allow you to cook foods in many different ways including smoking, roasting, braising and grilling.
Smoking food involves cooking using smoke at low temperatures for hours at a time.
Roasting meat or veggies in a barbecue grill is similar to baking in an oven. This cooking technique uses medium temperatures for an average cooking time of about an hour.
Braising is a mixed cooking method that uses wet and dry heats. The food is placed on a very hot grate or pan to create a sear marks and crispy exterior. The rest of the cooking is done in a sauce or broth over medium heat.
Grilling is the fastest cooking method of all. It involves placing the food directly over dry high heat and for a very short time.
Gas fueled vs Charcoal
There are two types of gas fueled barbecue: Natural Gas or Propane Check out our article on how to choose!
Gas fueled grills are easy to use and clean. They have knobs to regulate the amount of gas in the valves, giving you control over the heat. Their fuel burns cleaner than charcoal or wood. When connected to a main gas line, they eliminate the need for refueling.
Charcoal grills are also easy to use but the require more practice and effort. To control the temperature you need to adjust the vents on the top of the lids. Igniting the grill is also a longer process than with gas. The coals need to first light up and get to temperature before you can start grilling. Charcoal barbecues do have one big advantage and that is the taste! I don’t think it is necessary to explain that, you guys know what we’re talking about
What is an Oven?
An oven is a thermally insulated chamber commonly used for baking or broiling foods. Modern ovens are typically fueled by either natural gas or electricity. There are two main types of ovens: Conventional and Convection. The fuel used for the oven may not be the same as the fuel used for the burners on top of the stove. In terms of cooking techniques, Baking and Broiling are the most common ones.
Baking is a method of cooking foods that uses prolonged dry heat coming from below.
Broiling involves cooking by exposing foods to direct radiant heat over an electric coil or below a gas burner.
Regular oven vs Convection oven?
Convection ovens are mainly the same as conventional ones. The only difference being that a convection oven has an exhaust system. The fan in that system will move the hot air all around the oven, making your food cook faster and more evenly.
In a regular oven, heat is provided from the bottom and top coils. The heating elements do not move, they are simply heated by electric and in turn they heat up the other metals around them. In a gas fueled conventional oven the burners are at the bottom.
Now that you know the difference between the two, you probably want to know which one is better?
In our opinion, if your budget allows you to get a good convection oven, get one! The reason we think it’s a good idea is that the fan in the convection oven can be turned off and a convection oven without a fan is a regular oven. Why not have the best of both worlds!
Which one is Healthier? BBQ or Oven?
Grilling meats can be healthier since the fat that drips from it is burned, leaving less fat on the meat itself. Vegetables also retain more vitamins and minerals when grilled. Another health advantage barbecuing has over baking is the fact that you do not need to add extra sauces and salts on the food since a grill captures more flavor, resulting in potentially less sodium, fats and less calories.
On the other hand, there are many studies that suggest that cooking foods at higher temperatures creates dangerous chemicals that can increase the risks of cancer.
If you’re using a charcoal grill, you know that when fat or sauce drips on the coals it creates smoke. This smoke also contains chemical that can potentially harm you.
There are some tips and tricks to reduce those risk but when you think about it, it is harder to come close to those risks with a conventional oven…
Taste battle! BBQ or Oven?
Did you notice that when you grill meats or veggies they have a different taste, a better taste even! There is a “Thing” called the Maillard reaction or the “browning effect”. When you expose food to a direct intense source of heat, a chemical reaction between sugar and amino acids occur. The reactive carbonyl group of the sugar interacts with the nucleophilic amino group of the amino acid. In the process, hundreds of different flavor compounds are created.
In simple words: Food on the grill has a different taste because the high heat creates a chemical reaction.
While grilling gives a better taste, you cannot grill everything, right?
But the truth is that foods that can be cooked either in the oven or on the barbecue taste better when grilled!
Barbecues are kept and used outdoors while ovens are kept and used indoors.
As much as some of us would have wanted to grill outside all year long, it’s not always possible. Let’s take New York for exemple. Millions of barbecue lovers grill all summer long but as soon as the winter approaches, barbecues are stored away.
We’re not saying that using your BBQ in the middle of a snow storm is impossible. In fact many grilling addicts will use their barbecues all year long. Although, this is not the case for everyone.
When it comes to everyday usage, ovens are the more practical.
Rain or shine, an oven is an oven!
This is where we’re gonna see some more apparent differences.
When it comes to maintenance, little is to be said when it comes to an oven. They are simple to operate and maintain.
When is the last time you had to perform adjustments or repairs on yours? It’s probably been a while! Ovens are meant to be used everyday and for a long period of time. The only maintenance would be the cleaning and as we all know, auto cleaning ovens are a must!
Barbecues on the other hand, require more attention from you.
Grilling is awesome, but to keep your BBQ in shape you need to properly clean after each use. To keep your grates free of rust you need to season. If you use a charcoal BBQ, you need to empty the leftover coal and replace them with new ones. Propane grills need their tanks refilled every so often and so on…
The winner here is clear, ovens require much less maintenance.
Now this is a tricky one..
You can buy an oven for thousands of dollars and you can buy a barbecue with the same amount. Although it is true that you can buy a charcoal grill for almost nothing…
Barbecues and ovens are used on the daily, they can be used together on the same cooking night too, but their not always the right piece of equipment to cook certain foods.
Their price points are directly related to how much use you have for each of them. Someone like me would spend 2000$ on a new grill and only 1000$ on a new oven. Why? Because i’m a BBQ fanatic! In my case spending more on a grill then on an oven makes perfect sense since i grill at every occasion i have.
These are reasons why a cost comparison between ovens and grills is gonna be hard to do and a bit pointless too…
Cost will be based on individual usage and needs!
Now is the time to announce the winner! Oh, wait! You’re the one to pick the winner this time!
Both BBQ’s and Ovens will allow you to cook delicious meals and they each have their own pro’s and con’s.
In our case, BBQ’s win, since we grill like there is no tomorrow and we bake when we really have to.
But what about you? How much do you grill? What type of barbecue do you own? Can you grill all year long? Are you vegetarian?
There are many more questions you can ask yourself when you try to decide which one is best in your situation and we hope that after reading through this article you are able to pick your own winner!