Blackened vs Grill: Differences and Similarities

You can cook food using several ways. You can either cook by steaming or boiling, baking etc. Blackening is one way to give your food a distinctive flavor and texture. Blackening generally involves applying a coat of Cajun cuisine and searing the food at high temperatures. The food is usually spicy and well-flavored.

Blackened vs Grill detailed comparison
Blackened vs Grill: Comparison

If you want to understand blackening and how it differs from grilling, you have arrived at the right place. We will discuss the following aspects.

  1. Similarities
  2. Difference
  3. Pros and Cons
  4. How to Blacken
  5. How to Grill

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the topic.

Blackened vs Grill

Let’s have a look at a few similarities and differences.

Blackened vs Grill differences and similarities
Blackened vs Grill: Head To Head Comparison


There are a few similarities. Yet the end result is different.

  1. Both techniques use dry heat.
  2. Juices are retained in both techniques.
  3. Both add a crispy crust to the food/meat.



  1. Cooks at high temperature.
  2. Uses a blend of spices and herbs to give a unique flavor to the meat.
  3. The blackening method uses a pan.
  4. The food is dark brown.
  5. Used to cook meat, fish, and other foods.


  1. Cooks at a comparatively lower temperature than blackened
  2. Use any herbs or spices to marinate food
  3. Grilling uses an open heat source. 
  4. The food is light brown
  5. Used to cook meat, vegetables, potatoes, etc.

Pros and cons of Blackened


✅ Unique taste.
✅ Fast cooking.
✅ Flavored crust.
✅ Uses a variety of spices.
✅ Seasoning may be beneficial to health.
☑️ Garlic powder – Vitamin B6
☑️ Onion powder – Vitamin C and dietary fiber
☑️ Paprika – Vitamin A, iron, fiber, and magnesium


❌ Blackened food can be harmful if unhealthy ingredients or cooking methods are used. For example, people often mix high amounts of salt, sugar, and spices into the seasoning, which may prove detrimental to health.
❌ Chicken cooked at high heat produces toxic substances like Heterocyclic Amines (HCAs) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). These compounds are known to increase cancer risk.

Pros and cons of Grill


✅ Grilled food has fewer fats.
✅ Vegetables when grilled, retain most of the vitamins and minerals.
✅ Grilled meat preserves most of the nutrients.
✅ No need to add butter.


❌ Requires continuous attention while the cooking is on.
❌ Recommended to use in a well-ventilated room or outdoors due to the smoke it produces.
❌ Prone to fire dangers if you are new to operating grills.

Process of Blackening Food

Chef Paul Prudhomme was the first to try this method successfully in 1980. Therefore he is credited with the technique of blackened food. Paul wanted to replicate the charred meat flavor. The process ever since has evolved using different approaches and recipes. Today we see blackened food as one of the tastiest meal options, which includes fish, chicken, steak, or any other type of meat.

Blackening involves dipping the meat in melted butter. Then a coat of spicy seasoning is. You can use homemade seasoning mix or an already mixed one specially made to be used for blackening. Typical spices include cayenne, garlic, onion, oregano, paprika, pepper, and salt as ingredients. You can customize it to your own taste. 

Process of Blackening Food
Process of Blackening Food

Are you curious to understand how to blacken food? Well, let’s move forward to understand the process in a stepwise manner.

Steps to blackening

  1. Heat the pan or skillet at high temperature for around 10 to 12 mins.
  2. While the pan or skillet is gaining hotness, dip the meat into melted butter. Mix it thoroughly to get it blanketed richly with butter.
  3. Season the piece with Cajun Spices or a blackening mixture. Ideally, the proportion should be 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch thick.
  4. Ensure the butter and seasoning are stuck to the meat by patting it dry.
  5. The pan or skillet should be hot by that time. Place the meat in the pan or skillet. Be ready to face a big bulge of smoke that may fill the entire kitchen chimney.
  6. Let the meat cook in the pan or skillet. After around 3 mins, flip the side and let it cook for another 3 mins. Gauge the burning time according to the meat’s thickness.
  7. Serve the meat once ready.

You get the meat with a dark brown or black crispy crust. If you are a first-timer, you may not get the desired results correct. But after a repetition of 2-3 instances, you will soon master the art of blackening.

Process of grilling food

Grilling is done in an open area, such as a backyard. Grilling is done on an open fire and requires cooking grates. Grilling cooks food over a fire directly. The source of the fire can be charcoal, firewood, gas, or hibachi. Unusual to blackening, grilling cooks all kinds of food, including vegetables and fruits too; along with meat, fish, and pork chops.

Grilling needs your complete attention while the food is being cooked to prevent it from burning. The grill requires to be extremely hot at temperatures ranging from 300 to 500 degrees F to ideally cook the food. Seasoning can be tried, but you be selective, as some seasoning types do not suit the grilling process.

Process of grilling food
Process of grilling food

Let’s understand how to ideally grill.

Steps to grill

  1. Reduce the thickness of meat pieces by pounding them.
  2. Wrap the pounded pieces in plastic to retain the juices. You can opt for a meat tenderizer having flat sides or a rolling pin for ideal results.
  3. Marinate the pounded meat in a bowl. Use marinating ingredients with a high amount of oil. Don’t use sweetenings as they stick to the grates while grilling.
  4. Allow the meat to marinate totally by placing it in the refrigerator. (Optional).
  5. Dab the grates with oil by running a paper towel soaked with oil. A pair of tongs will help you to run the paper towel onto the grates.
  6. Heat the grill at a temperature of 400 degrees F to get it ready for smoking.
  7. Wipe off the marinate from the marinated meat. If you want to season the meat, dry it by patting it.
  8. Arrange the meat pieces on the grill. They will start cooking. For uniform cooking, arrange the meat pieces in one layer uniformly.
  9. The approximate time for ideal cooking on a grill for meat is 4 mins. Use a meat thermometer to check the meat temperature. It should be at a minimum of 165 degrees F. As consuming half-cooked meat is dangerous, checking the temperature is crucial. If you don’t have a thermometer, slice one of the meat pieces to ensure the inside color isn’t pink.
  10. After confirming the ideal cooking and smoked meat, you can serve or consume it. 
  11. Leave the smoked meat to rest on the plate for about five mins. It is vital to retain the meat’s juices, which are responsible for its unique flavor.

You May Also Find Interesting: Deep Frying Vs Pan Frying | Grilling Vs Broiling

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is blackened food healthy?

Yes, blackened food is healthy. The seasoning and butter, if used in limited quantity and of good quality, are good.

Is blackened seasoning unhealthy?

Depends on the amount and the quality of ingredients used. If overly burnt, they may release chemicals causing cancer.

Is blackened the same as Cajun?

Yes! Blackening food is the same as Cajun, popularized by Chef Paul Prudhomme of Louisiana.


Both blackened and grilled food give the same results when viewed on the exterior. But the tastes of both differ a lot. Blackened meat gives you a juicy, spicy, and delectable taste as you season it with spicy ingredients.

Grill, on the other hand, gives a unique, moist, and crunchy texture with no seasoning added. It’s upon you what to choose, as per the mood set and your desires

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