If you want to cook grilled or crispy chicken like the pros, the first thing you need to know is the difference between grilling and smoking. These two popular methods are great for the summer and fall when you want to hang out on the patio and smell the goodness! But is one better than the other? It all depends on what you're looking for.
Grilling requires you to cook foods over high radiant heat. This process locks in moisture and cooks the inside of the meat while caramelizing the crust on the outside. And while you're grilling chicken, you can throw on veggies, fruit or pizza for a complete meal!
The benefit to grilling is that it's quick and easy. Because the heat is so high, you can throw on a chicken breast and have it cooked to perfection within minutes. Grilling is also fairly healthy compared to other cooking methods because it eliminates the need for butter and oils.
However, grilled foods can be unhealthy when eaten excessively. The grilling process creates compounds - HCAs - that have been linked to possible cancer risks. For safer grilling, turn the temperature down, avoid charring your foods and clean the grill when you're done.
Smoking is the process of cooking and preserving foods with low, indirect heat. It has been used much longer than grilling as a way to keep foods from spoiling. Research shows that smoking meat breaks down the collagen, which is why it gets so tender and delicious. For added flavor, you can brine the chicken or add seasoning.
The downside to smoking meat is that it takes a long time. You can't just fire up the grill and have dinner ready in 30 minutes. A whole chicken will take an average of three to five hours, while a brisket can take up to 12 hours! Smoking is an all-day process that requires constant temperature monitoring.
The good news is that smoking is healthier than grilling. Because the heat stays low and steady, the cancer-causing compounds created by grilling are non-existent with smoking.
Overall, there is no "best" option because grilling and smoking both yield delicious results! You can cut back on butter and oil and brine and season the chicken with healthy herbs and spices. We recommend smoking chicken when you have the time, as you can get a great and unique flavor this way. When you're in a pinch, grilling is best.
La Rosa Chicken and Grill is known for our tasty, melt-in-your-mouth chicken. Stop in today to try one of our dishes! We marinate our meats and cook them efficiently in kettles, ovens and open-fire grills. All side dishes are made fresh daily from real vegetables, too. You won't be disappointed - try us out for lunch or dinner!