Chef Marcelle Bienvenu comments:
Don’t confuse grilling with barbecuing or smoking. Think of grilling as “fast food” as in grilled steaks, burgers or dogs. Smoking is the process used to slow-cook with the fire being away from the product. Liquid (which can be anything including but not limited to water, beer, wine, or even soda) sits between the heat source and the product being smoked. The meat is cooked in hot, moist air, and therefore tends to retain more of its original water content.
Now, barbecue is a combination of grilling and smoking, but closer to smoking. Barbecue is “slow” food. Barbecuing is a different position from grilling, gentle by comparison, that uses lower temperatures and no direct flames. Hot smoke does the cooking, gradually adding its own flavor to the meat, which remains naturally moist.
If you want to barbecue, you’ll need a real barbecue pit. It must be sturdy (those made from a 55-gallon drum are quite adequate) and big enough to lay a bed of charcoal. Your choice of wood in then placed on top of the charcoal. It’s best to use good charred wood or lump charcoal rather than briquettes. Start your fire in a chimney starter (try to avoid lighter fluid), available at Rousses or your local hardware store.