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Grilled Chicken Vs BBQ Chicken: What’s The Difference?

A common misconception is that many people think grilled chicken and BBQ chicken are one thing.

In fact, they are two different dishes that are cooked in different ways.

With just some time reading our article below, you can know how to differentiate these two dishes and find out what works best for you and your family.

What are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

What is grilled chicken?

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Grilled chicken is a popular dish that is made by cooking chicken on a grill, hence the name.

Typically, when it comes to grilling chicken, people think of an outdoor grill with charcoal so that the chicken will be cooked over an open flame.

However, it can refer to chicken that is grilled on a gas or electric grill that is more compact, convenient, and usually used indoors.

A grilling recipe often calls for individual cuts of chicken like breasts, wings, thighs, or drumsticks, either bone-in or boneless, skin-on or skinless rather than the whole chicken.

Therefore, you only need about 20 to 30 minutes to have a delicious and hearty dish from grilled chicken.

Grilled chicken is typically served as the main course with other popular side dishes like grilled vegetables, a dipping sauce, or sandwiches.

You can also shred it into pieces and toss them into some kind of sauce to make a hearty taco or hamburger filling.

What is BBQ chicken?

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The reason why many people mistake grilled chicken with BBQ chicken is that BBQ chicken is also cooked on the grill.

However, when barbecuing chicken, the lid of the grill will be closed so that the chicken is cooked by the circumvented hot air around it instead of only the radiant heat on the bottom like grilled chicken.

The seasoning for BBQ chicken is also very important.

Normally, chicken parts are marinated in a BBQ sauce, which is typically made of tomato paste, vinegar, mustard, chili pepper, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, and mayonnaise.

There is actually no fixed recipe for a BBQ sauce, but basically, it should have a brown to red color and a sweet, salty, tangy, and spicy taste.

BBQ chicken is best to serve with baked beans, salads, French fries, cornbread, or mac and cheese.

What are the differences between grilled chicken vs BBQ chicken?

Grilled chicken and BBQ chicken are two dishes with different ways of cooking.

This also results in the different taste and fat content in each dish.

Let’s see how these chicken dishes differ from each other in the comparison table below:

 Grilled chickenBBQ chicken
Cooking methodChicken is cooked by the heat from the bottom of the grill with the lid upChicken is cooked by the circumvented hot air, on a grill with the lid closed
TemperatureHigherLower
Cooking timeShorterLonger
MarinadeUsually simply seasoned with dried spices and herbsUsually marinated in a BBQ sauce
TextureDrierJuicier
Where to cookCan be cooked outdoors (charcoal grill) and indoors (gas or electric grill)Always cooked on an outdoor grill
PopularityMore popular in different parts of the world, including Asian and African culturesMainly popular in Western and American cuisines

What are the similarities between grilled chicken vs BBQ chicken?

Despite some key differences between grilled chicken and BBQ chicken, these two dishes also share some similarities:

1. Grilled chicken and BBQ chicken are both cooked on the grill

The first thing in common between grilled chicken and BBQ chicken is that they are cooked on the grill.

This makes many people think grilling and barbecuing are two interchangeable terms of the same technique.

However, keep in mind that grilling is cooked with the lid up while barbecuing is cooked with the lid closed.

2. Grilled chicken and BBQ chicken are both healthy options

Grilled chicken and BBQ chicken are obviously healthier than fried chicken.

The reason is there is no fat included in these recipes.

Cooking on the grill will even render the fat from the chicken, making it less fatty and greasy.

Grilled chicken and BBQ chicken will be perfect for those who want to eat delicious food without gaining weight.

3. Grilled chicken and BBQ chicken are often served the same way

Another similarity between grilled chicken and BBQ chicken is how they are served.

Both dishes are typically served with grilled or steamed vegetables, salads, French fries, toast, and a dipping sauce on the side if desired.

Which one is better?

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Grilled chicken is often cooked with a dry rub or marinade, which creates an intense flavor.

BBQ chicken is more of a wet style that includes sauce and makes it taste sweeter, and closing the lid while grilling will also make the chicken juicier and softer.

However, in general, both dishes are healthy and delicious.

Hopefully, this article has helped you choose your favorite dish between grilled chicken and BBQ chicken.

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