Well as suggested by one of the readers I think it is time to address the issue between these two types of cooking outdoors...
I guess the best way to describe this is to break it down into two categories since there really only are two, well some would consider there are more, but we will keep it to these two for now.
Grilling - Grilling has been done since the time man threw a piece of meat on the grill and cooked it to the desired doneness he wanted. All that this entails is putting meat over hot coals or gas, depending on what your grill is, and cooking it the way you like it. This is best done with meats that are tender already like steaks and chicken. Cook these to long and they will be hard and dry like a hockey puck. Also other grilling fare that everyone knows are Beef Patties, Hot Dogs, Brats, skewers, seafood, etc.
BBQ - This is the low and slow method of cooking meats that can stand more of the low and slow method of cooking. Where Grilling is cooking meat for maybe up to 45 minutes ( say beer can chicken ) BBQ is cooking the meat for at LEAST 2 to 4 hours up to 24 hours! Allowing the more hardier meats time to tenderize and gather the flavors bestowed upon them by their creators (the Pit Master) to ensure a great experience when it comes time to eat.
So lets break it down to what we know-
Grilling - Reserved for Steaks, Beef (or any other meat) Patties, Hot Dogs, Chicken, Brats, Skewers, Fish, Vegetables, etc..
BBQ - This is for the more hardier meats that need a little more time to cook and baste in their own juices to become more tender such as, Beef Brisket, Ribs, Tri-Tip, Pulled Pork, etc. With these meats the longer the time to cook at the right temp's means more tender meat and more intense flavors.
Now you can use wood to smoke in both cases to give flavor to your meats. It is more common to have it in the BBQ arena, but you can have a smoker when grilling like a small smoke box and wood chips of your choice to add some extra outdoorsy type of tastes to your grilling mastery.One of the more common ones is Hickory for smoking or Applewood or Cherry. My favorite is Jack Daniels chips made out of the old whisky barrels. Here is a great site for finding things just like that:
For those of you who would love to see what the whole BBQ scene is about. Here is a site dedicated to competitions, Sauces, Festivals, and yes even hot sauce festivals:BBQ Festivals
Well hope that this helps in knowing the difference between the two.
Yes we all say (even me) 'Hey come on over well have a family barbecue', when all we are cooking is steaks, veggies, chicken, hot dogs, etc....
Now if you can think of a new way to say 'Hey come on over, we are going to have a family Grill!' let me know, barbecue is what the masses are familiar with and it seems ok to me to say that when having a large gathering of people for some great steaks and whatever...