Blackened vs. Grilled – What’s The Difference?

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There are many ways to cook your food, from steaming to boiling and baking; the possibilities are endless. But certain ways of cooking are suitable for certain types of food or a specific flavor. If you are cooking food with a lot of fat, you will usually cook it in a fat source such as oil or lard. 

Some cooking methods such as Blackening or Grilling leave the food with a unique flavor and texture that’s not possible with other ways of cooking. So, what exactly are Blackening and Grilling? Are they similar? What’s the process involved in Blackening and Grilling? We will answer these questions today to understand what sets these two cooking methods apart. 

But before you start thinking that Blackening and Grilling are completely different, let us tell you their similarities. Both methods use dry heat and infuse the flavor with ingredients. Another thing common between these two is the results. If you do it right, your food will be juicy with a smoky yet crispy texture.

So, let’s talk about Blackening and Grilling in detail without saying anything else. 


To put it simply, Grilling is a way of cooking that involves an open-source of heat with a cooking grate on top of it, and in most cases, a backyard. You can grill your food over a direct heat source which can be anything such as gas, hibachi, or firewood. Grilling is a versatile way of cooking, meaning you can grill almost every kind of food. 

The trick while grilling is to cook your food well. Ideally, you want to keep your food between being well-done and burned. That’s the sweet spot, but it can be hard to achieve because the time frame within which the food goes from being well-done and burned is quite narrow. If you are cooking your meat, remember to pound it well to reduce its thickness and tenderize it using vinegar or tenderizers. 

The next step is to marinate the meat with all the spices of your choice. The best way to do this is to place the meat in a bowl, add the spices, cover it up with a plastic wrap, and let it sit for a few hours. But you don’t have to marinate if that’s not your cup of tea.

Next up is oiling the grates with a brush dipped in oil, ensuring the meat won’t stick to the grates. Also, make sure that the grill is at around 400F and ready to roll. All you have to do is get the meat you have prepared and remove the marinade while patting it dry. 

Now, place each piece of meat on the grill, cooking each side for about four minutes. This is important because it can prove dangerous for you if you eat your meat without cooking it well. After the meat is done, serve it hot; if you want to make things more nutritious, throw a couple of vegetables like potatoes and carrots on the grill while cooking the meat.


Blackening is a comparatively new way of cooking and has been around for no more than a few decades. On the other hand, Grilling has been around for quite a while now. The world-famous chef Paul Prudhoe took inspiration from the flavor of charred meat and developed this way of cooking. But Blackening the food is much more than using heat and the charred flavor; it involves a specific blend of spices and herbs unique for Blackening.

Blackening is also a versatile way of cooking but not as much as Grilling because Blackening works better for certain kinds of food than others; These include Fish, pork chops, chicken pork belly, steak, etc. If you feel adventurous and inspired, you can try grilling French fries, tofu, and different types of vegetables. 

Blackening involves a specific blend of herbs, spices, and chilies that give the food a hot, spicy and herbaceous flavor. These include salt, basil, thyme, oregano, paprika, cayenne, onion and garlic powder, and pepper. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you can always buy the blackening season available at your nearest grocery store. 


One of the main differences in Blackening and Grilling is the source of heat and how it cooks the food; this also affects the texture and flavor of the food being cooked. While grilling, the food is being cooked by the heat source’s heat, which is present directly below the food; this direct contact with the heat or fire produces smoke (which comes mainly from the oil applied on the grills).

The flavor of the smoke is trapped in the food and is experienced when eating it. Blackening doesn’t involve direct contact with the heat source or fire. Instead, Blackening is done on a pan with lots of butter and a high flame that chars the butter and seasoning to give the blackened food its unique flavor. Both ways of cooking involve forming a crispy layer on the outer-most part of the meat. 

But this doesn’t mean that Blackening and Grilling are the same things. Because the former involve considerably higher temperatures to achieve that specific texture and flavor profile that is not achievable at lower temperatures. You should keep in mind that you never want to burn the food you are making. 

Because burning makes the food completely inedible, eating burned food can induce the growth of cancer cells. The only way to prevent burning your food is to cook it for a shorter period when using high temperatures

So What’s the Difference Between Blackened and Grilled

  • Blackening requires high temperatures, while Grilling is done at a comparatively lower temperature.
  • Blackening uses a specific blend of herbs and species to add flavor to the meat, while you can use almost any kind of herbs or spices to marinate your meat for Grilling. 
  • Blackening is done in a pan, while Grilling is done on an open heat source.