We talked to Chef Michael Kanter from The Cook & His Books in Doylestown and asked him to share some of his expertise on the subject. Chef Michael has an impressive resume, which includes cooking under Chef Georges Perrier, first as an unpaid apprentice and then later as Sous Chef. He also worked at The Philadelphia Four Seasons, Susanna Food, Restaurant Daniel in NYC, The Blue Angel, Dilworthtown Inn, Alme de Cuba, and Morimoto. And he even used to own a smoking business in Point Pleasant. In recent years, he’s been sharing his culinary and restaurant experience by teaching entertaining and educational cooking classes. And during these unique times of businesses adapting to respond to a pandemic, he created Broth Thyme – where he’s selling homemade broths, soups and sandwiches for pickup or delivery.
I started my conversation with Chef Michael by asking about the difference between each cooking method. Overall, it’s about heat levels and cooking time. Grilling is typically done over higher heat and for a shorter amount of time. Barbecuing means low and slow, and smoking (while also low and slow) introduces smoke to the process. According to Chef Michael, “Grilling is fast and convenient, but it’s really just adding grill marks. Smoking is the way you really get flavor into it.” But if you’re going to grill (like many of us do!), he suggests you buy natural hardwood briquettes. They’re a great option for getting as much of that authentic flavor as possible without smoking. And when it comes to gas grilling, well that’s really all about the convenience. You can fully monitor the temperature, it takes the least culinary expertise, you don’t get the kitchen messy, and you get to be outside while you do it.