Roasting, Baking, Braising
I’ve put Roasting and Baking together with Braising, while the techniques are similar, the purpose and the result is different.
Roasting is usually done in a covered cooking environment, usually roasting is best with larger cuts at moderate temperatures, dry heat surrounds the food, cooking it evenly on all sides. Roasting uses indirect, diffused heat (as in an oven), and is suitable for slower cooking of meat in a larger, whole piece. The objective in any case is to retain as much moisture as possible, while providing the texture and colour. As meat cooks, the structure and especially the collagen breaks down, allowing juice to come out of the meat. So meat is juiciest at about medium rare while the juice is coming out.
Any hooded BBQ or wood fired oven will be great for Roasting. Roasting is usually reserved for larger prime cuts.
Until the late 19th century, roasting by dry heat in an oven was called baking. Roasting originally meant turning meat or a bird on a spit in front of a fire. It is one of the oldest forms of cooking known.
Roasting and Baking are similar, baking is usually done at lower temperatures although there are exceptions like Pizza. Baking uses prolonged dry heat, normally in an oven or covered BBQ. Baking is easily done on a BBQ, using indirect fire methods. The trick is to be able to maintain the desired beat and moisture levels. Quite often it is good to use heat sinks like bricks, or ceramic, even steel to store heat and provide even temperatures and in cases where moisture in the cooking environment is needed, a water bath will provide moisture as well as behaving as a heat sink.
Braising is a combination of a roasting or Low and Slow technique with the food in a pan with a liquid. More of a recipe technique than a cooking style, it is still an important part of BBQ and outdoor cooking. Braising transforms tougher cuts into tender luscious meals, it’s what a slow cooker or crock-pot does. The use of moisture in braising can be as a “bath” or as steam, either way the presence of moisture greatly assists the cooking process as it reduces the tendency for the surface of the meat to cool from the evaporation of surface moisture, the resulting foods is generally moister.
Most often foods are grilled till the surface caramelises then it is placed in a pan with a variable amount of liquid and finished by roasting or baking.