Grilling is great. Smoking is divine. Do them both. But for the love of all things good and holy stop calling them the same thing.
Grilling (v.): Cooking meat over direct heat on a charcoal or gas grill.
Smoking (v.): Cooking food using non-direct heat at a lower temperature, following the “low and slow” method.
For grilling, I highly recommend charcoal over gas. Your meat will be closer to the heat source, absorb more of a smoky flavor and have a better finish. Gas and electric grills may be easier to “set and forget,” if you’re going for ease. If you have “become a grill master” on your bucket list, I’d take the time to learn how to cook over charcoal.
What should you grill? Anything you want! Toss steaks, hamburgers, chops, chicken, and vegetables right on the rack. Grill corn on the cob in their husks (soak them first), or slice up a watermelon and throw it on. The possibilities are endless.
If you don’t have a smoker, you can accomplish a similar effect by turning your grill into a smoker. The idea here is to keep the temperature low and roast your food for a longer period of time. Smoking will infuse even more of that great smoke flavor into your meat, and keeps everything juicy and tender.
What should you smoke? Pork butt, ribs, loin, brisket, chicken, turkey, sausages, and fish are all outstanding when well-seasoned and cooked low and slow.
Think of your smoker as an oven in the most literal sense. You can follow oven directions for anything from pizza to brownies to pot pie in your smoker, and wind up with a fantastic smoky meal or treat.