The Difference Between Grilling and Barbecue & Recommended Wine Pairings

Feeding The Soul podcast hosts John Laloganes and Chef Wook Kang share their favorite ways to Grill and Barbecue (otherwise referred to as Smoke) meats this summer. This process is not an exact science, but there are a few tips to incorporate into your practice to assure success.

Episode Cliff Notes

Three things to consider when Grilling and/or Barbecuing (i.e. Smoking)​

  1. Quality of the product – grading (beef: prime, choice, select)
  2. Target times – different times of cooking for different types of proteins
  3. Temperatures – Doneness 


  1. hot and fast
  2. direct on the heat source
  3. creates a crust
  4. smaller, tender cuts of meats or vegetables (ex: hot dogs, chops)

Barbecuing (Smoking)

  1. low and slow
  2. indirect heat source
  3. longer cook time 
  4. tougher cuts of meat (pork shoulder, brisket, ribs etc) 

Consider ways of imparting flavor: Brines and Rubs

Wet Brine 

  1. Process of using a mixture of salt and sugar in water (boiled and chilled completely. Add aromatics like herbs.)
  2. May be used for Grilled and Barbecued (Smoked) meats.

Dry rubs

  1. Heat source (ex: cayenne pepper) + salt + savory element (ex: dried herbs) + sweet agent (ex: brown sugar)
  2. Do not use dry rubs on Grilled meats, only Barbecue (Smoked)

Items needed for Grilling

  1. A grill.
  2. Make sure you have the proper utensils.
  3. Briquettes (wood or charcoal) if not a gas grill.
  4. Make sure your grill is really hot, above 400F.
  5. Clean the grill and oil the grates when it’s hot to make sure the food doesn’t stick to the grill.
  6. The bigger the grill the better the food.

Items needed for Barbecuing (Smoking)

  1. Wood chips – cedar, mesquite, apple, cherry – choose what flavor you like as an influence in your meat flavoring.
  2. PATIENCE – don’t rush it.
  3. Stop playing with your meat. Let it cook on one side, then turn over to cook the other side.  

What to consider when pairing wine with Grilled and BBQ (Smoked) foods

Drink Pairings 

  1. Wine can be a great pairing, but don’t discount beer and whiskey which pairs great with Grilled and Barbecued (Smoked) foods.
  2. How you cook your meat is a big factor to consider when pairing wine. Is it Grilled or Barbecued (Smoked)? Is there a rub or brine? Are you adding a sauce over the top?
  3. For optimal expression of fat and flavor, which impacts the pairing, cooking meat to medium or medium rare is ideal. 
  4. What is the protein source? Here are some general guidelines:

Beef –Reds or Sparkling

Tender cuts – Pinot Noir, Merlot 

Fattier meats – porterhouse, rib eyes, etc. – pair with heartier reds with weight and tannin – Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, etc.

Poultry: Rosé is one of the most adaptable wines to pair with poultry and proteins like pork, sausages, even lamb preparations.

Fish: light bodied reds or white wines

Pro Tip: Check out John Laloganes’ book recommendation, Fire & Wine, for more tips on pairing wine with Grilled or Barbecued (Smoked) foods.

Chef Wook's recipes

Red Wine Compound Butter Recipe

Prepare in advance and keep in the fridge to cut to serve coins to top your grilled Wagyu Beef and other dishes.

Softened Unsalted Butter                   8 Tbsp.
Garlic, minced                                     1 clove
Shallot, minced                                   ½ each
Lemon juice                                        3 Tbsp.
Lemon zest                                         1 tsp.
Reduced red wine                               4 Tbsp.
Fresh parsley, chopped                      1 Tbsp.
Scallion, sliced thin                             1 Tbsp.
Kosher salt                                          To taste
Black pepper                                       To taste


  1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients, starting from the butter to the scallion. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
  2. Lay a flat piece of plastic wrap, 7” x 7”.
  3. Place the butter mixture on the middle part of the plastic and form a cylinder by hand or rubber spatula. Make sure to have the butter be parallel to you.
  4. Carefully lift one side of the plastic wrap and cover over the cylindrical butter and tighten.
  5. Roll repeatedly until it forms a log.
  6. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  7. Slice into coins and remove the plastic wrap for service.

Demi-Glace Recipe

Softened Unsalted Butter                   2 Tbsp.
Beef, Round, cut into 1/2” cubes       6 oz.
Mirepoix                                              2 cup
Tomato paste                                      1 Tbsp.
Red wine                                             12 oz.
Homemade Veal Stock                      60 oz.
Sachet                                                 1 each
Kosher salt                                          To taste



  1. Preheat a medium size sauce pot over a medium flame.
  2. Once it is hot, add the butter.
  3. Once the butter is foamy, add the beef pieces.
  4. Brown evenly and adjust the heat as necessary.
  5. Once the beef pieces have browned, add the mirepoix.
  6. Caramelize the mirepoix and add the tomato paste to develop a dark brown color.
  7. Deglaze with red wine and reduce to au sec (till dry or nearly dry).
  8. Immediately add the veal stock and bring to a boil. Add the sachet.
  9. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to simmer until it has reached sauce consistency.
  10. Simmer may take a few hours.
  11. Adjust the seasoning and strain through a fine mesh strainer.
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