Grilled vs Blackened: Which One is More Mouth Watering?

Published Categorized as Journal

When hosting a garden party, we prefer to cook meat over a grill or open flame. Many adore the charred layer of skin that grilled meat produces. But have you ever tried blackened meat and experienced the mouth-watering intensity of spices overpowering your taste buds? Let’s take a look at the differences between the two cooking methods, and find out which of the two is worth devouring!

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grilled vs blackened

Table of Contents

What Does Blackened Mean?

Blackening is a cooking technique used to yield flavor to meat. The process involves burning the surface of the meat with hot oil or fat, then submerged into a spice mixture for a few seconds.

This process helps create a crisp exterior, while the interior remains moist and tender.

What Does Grilling Mean?

Grilling is a quick method of cooking that essentially permits the fire to connect with the food.

This involves searing food over a hot flame source such as gas, wood, or charcoal.

Why Does Meat or Fish Turn Deep Brown to Black?

The appearance of blackened or grilled meat are pretty much the same on the outside. Both meats develop a deep brown or black layer of crust on the outside. Though the cause of the color and crust are different in both methods.

The blackened crust after blacking is caused by charring the butter mixture in a hot pan or cast iron skillet. Whilst the charred meat in grilling is due to the high temperatures of smoking.

Grilling is all about purposefully burning your food at high temperatures until it begins to caramelize and develop a distinct juicy flavor. While it may look burnt on the outside, once you bite into it, you’re tasting a juicy smoked chicken.

Blackened vs Seared

Since blackening and searing are methods of cooking that help form a crust-like layer on your meat; some may confuse the two for each other, assuming they mean the same thing.

In truth, searing typically involves a thin dribble of oil in the pan that is preheated to 375 degrees F before the meat is added and cooked. Whilst blackening requires much higher temperatures to form a blackened layer of meat.

Blackened vs Grilled

Both blackening and grilling are two cooking methods that produce similar results.

Although blackening involves a thick coating of spice before cooking it in an extremely hot oven. On the other hand, grilling is a technique that simply cooks the food directly against the heat source without including additional spices.

Differences in Methods

Method of Blackening Dishes

Blackening meat or fish, should result in a deep brown or black crispy crust.

  1. Heat your cast iron skillet or hot pan over high temperature for about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, dip your chicken or meat into the melted butter, and coat well, before dropping it into a blackening mixture of Cajun seasoning.
  3. Pat the meat dry, ensuring that both the butter and seasoning mix remains stuck to the meat.
  4. Drop the meat into a hot pan or cast iron skillet, and take a step back, as a spiraling tower of smoke may overwhelm your surroundings.
  5. Let the meat cook on both sides, each side should take about 3 minutes to cook depending on the thickness of the meat.
  6. Once the meat has cooked, serve.

Method of Grilling Food

  1. Pound your meat items to eliminate the chunkiness of each piece of meat. Once it’s well pounded, cover it with plastic wrap to prevent the juices of the meat from escaping.
  2. Place the pounded meat in a dish and marinate with oil-based ingredients. Avoid sweeteners as they tend to make the meat cling to the grates whilst grilling.
  3. Place the marinated meat into the fridge, allowing the meat to soak up the juicy flavors.
  4. Use a pair of tongs to dip a paper towel in oil, and grease the grates.
  5. Pre-heat the grill to 400F.
  6. Remove the marinated meat from the fridge and wipe off the marinade, or pat it dry.
  7. Spread the pieces of uncooked meat on the grill.
  8. Grill each side of the meat for about 4 minutes each. Ensure that the meat has cooked thoroughly, with an internal temperature of 165F before removing and eating. Additionally you could slice the meat to check if it is pink in color.
  9. Once your meat has grilled, serve it hot with a side of French fries.

Best Food to Grill

Before attempting to grill, think about the type of dish you wish to prepare, and whether it requires intense heat exposure or not.

Some of the best types of meat to grill include:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Seafood
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
Grilled Vs Blackened: Which One Is More Mouth Watering?

Is Blackened Food Burnt?

Blackening is not the same as burning.

Burnt meat will harbor an unpleasant taste, that is a total contrast to blackened meat. Whilst blackened meat will carry an array of flavors that automatically elevates the taste of any type of meat.

For instance, blackened chicken is completely different from burnt chicken, as a burnt chicken will not impart any flavors whatsoever. Instead, once you’ve bitten into burnt meat you’ll immediately notice the dry brittle flavors that cling to your mouth.

Whereas blackened meat will have a juicy interior, despite its charred exterior, emitting piquant flavors that delight your taste buds.

What is the Blackening Seasoning Made of?

The intention behind the blackening seasoning is to produce meat that releases heat followed by plenty of flavoring, immediately taking your taste buds on a spin.

To do this you’ll need to choose the appropriate type of seasonings such as chili, herbs and spices. For best results, use the freshest and simplest of herbs and spices available.

An incredible blackened seasoning mix should have the following ingredients:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Basil

How to Prepare a Home-Made Blackening Seasoning Mix

A blackened seasoning possesses bold flavors that envelop your meats, releasing herbaceous notes along with a subtle tongue-tingling spicy taste. The best blackened mix should involve lots of ground chili, crushed herbs, and spices to manifest the perfect, mouth watering and sensational spice blend, for your blackened meat.

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper powder, onion powder, garlic powder, ground bell pepper, and sea salt to a mixing bowl.
  2. Add ½ tablespoon of dried basil, oregano, and dried thyme.
  3. Combine these ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Place this blackening seasoning in an airtight container and store in a pantry, or kitchen cupboard. This should last as long as any other spice.

Best Grilled Recipes to Try

Summertime cookout can be fun, but when we’ve run out of interesting ideas to impress our guests, things can become a tad boring. Fortunately, we have a bunch of delicious grilling recipes to save the day!

Take your pick:

  • Grilled basil chicken with tomatoes
  • Lemon shrimp and tomatoes
  • Corn on the cob with lemon
  • Grilled spinach feta burgers

Grilled Basil Chicken With Tomatoes


  • 8 plum tomatoes chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • Boneless chicken breast halves


  1. Drop the marinating ingredients into a blender, then add chopped tomatoes. Blend and set aside.
  2. Place the chicken breast halves into a bowl and add ⅔ cup of the marinade. Place this in the refrigerator for an hour, turning the bowl regularly.
  3. Place the marinated chicken on a preheated oiled grill.
  4. Allow this to cook for 4-6 minutes. To ensure your chicken has cooked thoroughly, insert a meat thermometer into the flesh, check that it reads 165 degrees F, then remove from the grill.
  5. Once cooked, allow the chicken to settle for 5 minutes to preserve its juices.
  6. Serve the grilled chicken with the leftover marinade and tomatoes.
Basil and tomatoes

Lemon Shrimp and Tomatoes


  • 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined.
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lemon (zest and juice)
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, minced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh chives, minced
  • 1-pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Sea salt, and freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat the grill to medium heat, and place an iron griddle on top of it.
  2. In a bowl, combine olive oil, mined garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon, parsley, basil, chives, and seasonings.
  3. Add the shrimp and tomatoes, then toss everything gently. Marinate for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Spoon the shrimp and tomato mixture on the iron griddle and cook for 5-6 minutes.
  5. Top with fresh parsley and serve with pasta.
sliced lemon and tomatoes

Corn on the Cob with Lemon


  • 4 ears fresh corn
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt, pepper
  • Olive oil (for drizzling)
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened


  1. Peel the husks off the corn, and get rid of any silk that clings to the corn kernels.
  2. Place the ears of corn on a plate or baking sheet, then slice the lemon in half, and drizzle its juices over the kernels, rotating as you drizzle. Make sure that you’re adding a little dribble of lemon juice at a time, otherwise, you’ll end up with an intense, lemony taste.
  3. Next, sprinkle freshly ground black pepper over the entire surface of the corn, rotating as you sprinkle.
  4. Preheat the grizzle, and add a light splash of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.
  5. Once the grill is hot, add the corn. Grill the corn for 4 minutes on each side until beautifully charred, and the corn is nice and tender.
  6. Rub the butter over the corn, spreading evenly, then serve and enjoy!
Yellow Corn

Grilled Spinach Feta Burgers


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 chopped shallots
  • 2 ½ cups fresh baby spinach (coarsely chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • ⅔ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¾ tsp. Greek seasoning
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 8 whole wheat ham burger buns (sliced)
  • Toppings: tzatziki sauce, fresh baby spinach and tomato slices


  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat, then add shallots; cook and stir until tender. Add spinach and garlic, and cook until the spinach sags. Then transfer to a large bowl, and cool slightly.
  2. Stir in the feta cheese, and add seasonings into the spinach. Add the beef, mix gently, but thoroughly. Shape into eight ½-inch thick patties.
  3. Grill the burgers for 6 to 8 minutes on each side, covered, over medium heat, until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F.
  4. Meanwhile, grill the buns over medium heat, sliced side down. Toast for 30-60 seconds.
  5. Serve burger buns with your chosen toppings.
feta block

Best Blackening Recipes to Try

Have you been thinking of trying blackened food? Have a dive at some of these scrumptious recipes below, for a delightful smoky flavored treat.

  • Blackened catfish fajita
  • Blackened chicken alfredo
  • Blackened salmon with mango salsa
  • Blackened shrimp tacos

Blackened Catfish Fajita


  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Sunflower oil
  • 1 onion (sliced and peeled)
  • 1 red bell pepper (seeded and sliced)
  • 1 green bell pepper (seeded and sliced)
  • 1 pound catfish filets (cut into 1 ½ inch thick pieces)
  • 3 tbsp. butter (melted)
  • 8 small flour tortillas
  • Sour cream
  • Cotija cheese
  • Lime slices


  1. To make the blackening seasoning, combine paprika, black pepper, oregano, sugar, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper, then set aside.
  2. For the fajitas, heat a wok or cast iron skillet, over the highest heat. Add 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil. Once the oil is very hot, add the onions and chopped bell peppers. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, then sauté until nice and tender (5-7 minutes). Remove the veggies from the heat and set them aside.
  3. Toss the catfish pieces into the melted butter, then use your fingers to coat the pieces in a blackening rub. Place the blackened fish into the hot wok – adding more oil if necessary – and cook the fish until they’re cooked through, and dark in color.
  4. Toss the veggies back into the wok and combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve the fajitas with warmed tortillas, sour cream, cheese, and lime.
Grilled Vs Blackened: Which One Is More Mouth Watering?

Blackened Chicken Alfredo


  • 8 oz fettuccine
  • 2 medium chicken breasts
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Blackening seasoning


  1. Slice the chicken into fillets, and cover with plastic wrap. Pound the chicken to achieve an even thickness of ½ inch.
  2. Season both sides of the chicken fillets with blackening seasoning. Let the chicken rest, while preparing the rest of your ingredients.
  3. Cook the fettuccine in salted water. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water before draining. Drain, rinse and toss the pasta in a drizzle of olive oil, then set aside.
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden and cooked through.
  5. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and create a loose tent with foil, and place this over the cooked chicken. Wait several minutes before slicing the chicken.
  6. Without washing the skillet, add 2 tablespoons of butter and melt over medium-low heat.
  7. Add garlic and 1 tablespoon of blackening seasoning and cook for 3 minutes.
  8. Add half of the chicken broth to the pan, and whisk the remaining chicken broth with cornstarch until smooth. Add this to the pan, followed by heavy cream. Stir and allow the sauce to simmer until thickened. Reduce the heat to low, and stir in parmesan cheese until melted (2 minutes).
  9. Add the cooked pasta and toss until thoroughly coated. Feel free to add a little more pasta to achieve the desired consistency.
  10. Add the chicken to the skillet. Season with salt, pepper or cayenne and garnish with fresh parsley.
Grilled Vs Blackened: Which One Is More Mouth Watering?

Blackened Salmon with Mango Salsa


  • Blackening seasoning
  • 4 6 oz. salmon fillets (skin on)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 ripe mangoes peeled and diced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper
  • ⅓ cup red onion
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 large lime juice
  • ¼ tsp. salt


  1. Add your blackening seasoning to a bowl.
  2. Gently pat the salmon fillets dry with a paper towel, then place them on a large plate, flesh-side up. Use your fingers to rub the seasoning mix on each piece of salmon.
  3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Place the salmon, flesh-side down into the pan then cook for 2-3 minutes, until nice and crisp. Flip the salmon with a spatula and cook for another 5-6 minutes.
  5. Preheat the air fryer to 380 degrees F, and place the seasoned fillets skin side down. Air fry for 8-10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile combine all the salsa ingredients together.
  7. Top the blackened salmon with fresh mango salsa, and serve with roasted vegetables.
Grilled Vs Blackened: Which One Is More Mouth Watering?

Blackened Shrimp Tacos


  • 1 ½ lbs. shrimp (jumbo, deveined, and tails removed)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • Blackening seasoning
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • ⅓ cup cilantro
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup red cabbage
  • 1 avocado


  1. Place the deveined shrimp in a large bowl
  2. Add your blackening seasoning to a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the seasoning over the shrimp, and toss to combine.
  4. Place butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add half the shrimp to the skillet, and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Repeat with the leftover shrimp.
  5. Meanwhile, add yogurt, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, and salt to a food processor. Process until smooth.
  6. Serve blackened shrimp in a toasted corn tortilla with lots of cilantro-lime yogurt sauce, followed by sliced red cabbage and avocado.

Is Eating Grilled or Blackened Food Good for You?

Over the years there have been many debates concerning the potential risks of consuming blackened or grilled food.

Essentially, the charred areas on both grilled and blackened flesh foods (i.e. meat, poultry, fish) are a source of harmful chemicals. When the proteins are heated to the extent that the flesh begins to darken and blacken, you have a chemical reaction. These chemicals can potentially damage DNA, and encourage mutations, that can lead to cancer.

So Grilled vs Blackened Cooking?

Though both blackened and grilled food produces similar results on the outside, the taste is what sets them apart. While blackened meat produces juicy scrummy meat with the help of a spicy seasoning; grilled meat provides a distinct, moist and chewy texture without the inclusion of seasoning.

Choose your favorite meats to blacken or grill, for the perfect summertime garden party!

Grilled vs Blackened – FAQs

Is Blackened Food Healthy?

While blackened food can be tasty, it isn’t the healthiest, because the blackened areas on grilled and charred meats are a source of carcinogenic chemicals. These chemicals can potentially damage our genetic material.

What is the Difference Between Chargrilled and Blackened?

While both chargrilled and blackened require the food to be cooked and burnt to perfection. The difference lies in the seasoning blend of herbs and spices, that accompany blackened meat, meanwhile charred food is strategically cooked to provide a smokier flavor to the meat.

Is Blackening Seasoning Healthy?

Yes! the seasoning blend itself is nothing but dried herbs. Though the cooking method is what determines whether the food is healthy or not.

What Does it Mean When Food is Blackened?

Food that is blackened isn’t burnt, instead it is simply coated in a wonderful spice blend, that adopts a very brown or almost black color, when cooked in a skillet, on a grill or in an oven.

Categorized as Journal

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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