Regional Variations of Barbecue
At its most generic, any source of protein may be
barbecued, including beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fish, and
seafood. The meat could be ground, as with hamburger, or
processed into sausage or kebabs.
The meat may be marinated or rubbed with spices before
cooking, basted with a sauce or oil before and/or during
cooking, and/or flavored in numerous ways after being removed
from the heat. Occasionally, vegetarian alternatives to meat,
such as soyburgers and mushroom caps, are prepared similarly.
Often meat is covered with barbecue sauce. Vinegar-based
sauce is typical of Southeastern United States barbecue, while
tomato-based sauce is Midwestern and Western United States
Many forms of barbecuing involve tough cuts of meat that
require hours of cooking over low heat barely exceeding the
boiling point of water. Some forms of barbecue use rapid
cooking over high heat, being therefore barely distinguishable
from grilled meats to those who would make such a distinction.
With high heat barbecuing (often called grilling), the food
is placed directly above the flame or other source of heat.
With low heat barbecuing, the food is offset from the heat
source and almost always under a cover, frequently with added
smoke for additional flavor.
Sometimes, an open flame is required, with the fuel source
irrelevant. In other cases, the fuel source is critical to the
end result, as when wood from particular kinds of trees are
used as fuel.
The braai, an abbreviation
of braaivleis, Afrikaans for "meat grill" started out as a
major social tradition amongst the Afrikaner people of
Southern Africa, though the tradition has since been adopted
by South Africans of all ethnic backgrounds.
The word braai is very popular in South Africa; it replaces
the standard English word barbecue, which is almost never used
in South Africa, except on chips packages. One won't find
barbecue wood or wood for the barbecue in the supermarket;
instead one will find braaiwood.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken is an
example of barbecue in Jamaica.
Bahamian barbecue is similar to Pacific Islander, Hawaiian,
mainland American, UK, and Australian styles.
the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico
indigenous Native Taíno people's method involved slowly
cooking meat over a wooden mesh of sticks. In Spanish-speaking
islands of the Caribbean, such as Cuba, the Dominican
Republic, and especially Puerto Rico, lechon is a common
delicacy. Lechon consists of taking a whole pig, slicing it
from the head to tail along the chest and stomach, and
slow-grilling the hog as it is turned on a rod.
Other Caribbean islands
Barbecue is also popular
in all the Caribbean islands, each with their own traditions
In Hong Kong, pork barbecue
is made with a marinade of honey and soy sauce, and cooked in
long, narrow strips. This form of barbecue is known as char
siu. Outdoor barbecues (usually known simply as BBQ) are
popular among local residents on short trips to the regional
parks in the countryside. These are invariably coal-fired,
with meat (usually beef, pork, sausage, or chicken wings)
marinated in honey, then cooked using long, hand-held forks.
This style and atmosphere is closer to fondue and hot pot.
Although called BBQ, Korean BBQ is
actually grilled. Bulgogi is thinly sliced beef (and sometimes
pork or chicken) marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic
and chili pepper, and cooked on a grill at the table. It is a
main course, and is therefore served with rice and side dishes
such as Kimchi. Bulgogi literally means "fire meat." The
more common Korean "BBQ" is called galbi, which is marinated
Barbecuing is very popular
in Japan as part of an outdoor activity. Normally, more
vegetables and seafood are incorporated than in the US, and
soy sauce or soy based sauces are commonly used. Occasionally,
the Japanese-style fried noodle "Yakisoba" would be cooked as
well. In addition, Jingisukan, Yakiniku, Horumonyaki are
Yakitori is the Japanese version of shish kebab.
Spare ribs, chicken, and steak are also grilled and glazed
with teriyaki sauce.
Satay is popular in several Southeast Asian countries:
Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It
consists of pieces of meat skewered on bamboo sticks. The meat
is marinated in a mixture of spices similar to a curry mix and
pulverised peanut. Most common meats are chicken, lamb and
beef, and in non-Muslim enclaves, you will also find satay
made from pork and animal offal. Satay is a mainstay of most
Malaysian, Indonesian and Singaporean barbecues. Traditional
uses only chicken thigh meat cut into strips before they are
skewered. Other types of satay include pork, mutton and beef.
After the meat has been cooked over a charcoal flame, it is
served with a thick gooey dipping sauce made from the same
mixture as the marinade for the meat, a peanut tasting curry
In the mountainous regions of North Borneo, the local
Kadazan people's specialities are chicken satay and snake meat
satay; the latter, as of 2007, is only available under
exceptional circumstances). Before 1990, it was possible to
get satay of animals like tapir, elephants, flying fox,
goannas and wild boar. Unfortunately, these animals are now
rare and/or endangered.
In the Philippines, Lechon
is a centrepiece of the main cultural diet. It is extremely
rare for any celebratory occasion to lack lechon. Philippine
lechon is prepared similarly to that of the Spanish speaking
islands of the Caribbean. The hog is opened from head to tail
along the belly, and is slow-grilled turned on a rod over a
Even though the Spanish speaking islands of the
Caribbean and the Philippines do not share a common everyday
spoken language, it is still referred to with the same
pronunciation. This may be due to the fact that both regions
were ruled by Spain for several centuries; linguists estimate
that some 40% of informal spoken Tagalog contains Spanish
Barbecue is also the term for skewered pork or chicken,
marinated in and basted with a sweetish sauce made from
catsup, pineapple juice and/or 7-Up. Chicken barbecue is often
served with what is popularly known as Java sauce. Bananacue,
a dish consisting of plantains skewered on a stick similar in
style to shish kebab, is also commonly cooked.
In the city state of
Singapore, barbecue or BBQ, as it is commonly known as, is a
common feature in social gatherings, but a less common feature
of a typical Singaporean’s daily lifestyle and diet. Majority
of Singaporeans live in government aided apartments or HDB
flats. A lack of open spaces at home results in BBQ gatherings
in parks or chalets. The Singapore National Parks rents out
barbecue pits that are placed in popular parks like the East
Coast Park. Other parks that offer barbecue pits to the public
include Punggol Park, Pasir Ris Park, West Coast Park, Changi
Beach Park, Sembawang Park and Pulau Ubin.
Singapore styled BBQ is mostly charcoal fired and
Singaporeans roast a variety of Southeast Asian and Western
food. Besides satay, other BBQ food include sambal stingray or
cuttlefish wrapped in aluminium foil, grilled meat (chicken,
pork, beef) and marinated in BBQ sauce commonly made from soya
sauce, pepper, salt, sugar and oyster sauce. Taiwanese
sausages, chicken franks and sausages are also grilled.
Marshmallows skewered using satay sticks is another highlight
of a Singaporean barbecue.
The fire starter used is not the typical lighter fluid or
charcoal chimney starter used in western grills. Instead, the
fire starter comes in a box of small rolled up briquette of
saw wood dust and wax which is lit and placed under a stack of
Central and Southern Asia
Nomadic Mongolians have
several barbecue methods, one of which is "Khorkhog". They
first heat palm-sized stones to a high temperature over the
fire and alternate layers of lamb and stone in a pot. The
cooking time depends on the amount of lamb used. It is
believed that it's good for your health if you hold the stone
used for cooking.
Another way of cooking is a "boodog" ("boo" means wrap in
Mongolian). Usually marmot (black tail prairie dog) or goats
are cooked in this way. There is no pot needed for cooking "boodog",
after slaughter and dressing, the innards are put back inside
the carcass through a small hole and the whole carcass is
cooked over the fire.
The Mongolian barbecue often found in restaurants is a
style of cooking falsely attributed to the mobile lifestyle of
nomadic Mongolians. Originating in Taiwan in the mid to late
20th century, the so-called "Mongolian barbecue", a popular
dish in American and Canadian Chinese restaurants, consists of
thinly sliced lamb, beef, chicken, pork, or other meat,
seasonings, vegetables, and noodles, or a combination thereof,
which is quickly cooked over a flat circular metal surface
that has been heated.
India and Pakistan
The tandoor is a form of barbecue, particularly focusing on
baking, that is common in Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern
India. Grilling is also popular, and uses many spices native
to the local land, especially the many variations of Curry
popular in Mediterranean countries. It is influenced by
traditional Mediterranean cuisine. Olive oil is a key part of
the Mediterranean barbecue style, as it is in the region's
cuisine. The most common items cooked are chicken, beef
steaks, souvlakis/brochettes, halloumi cheese, and pita bread,
and may be grilled, baked, or both. In addition, some dishes
combine grilling with braising for more variety. Often,
barbecue meat items are marinated with olive oil and citrus
juice mixtures, and then garnished with various herbs and
spices; basic persillade and several variations are often put
on top of the meat.
traditional cooking method of the French and Swiss Alps
similar that has recently been commercialized is pierade or
cooking meats on a hot stone, usually communally and directly
on the serving table. This type of cooking is in no way
limited to the Alps, but is associated with it and with other
rustic or communal methods of cooking like fondue and raclette.
Germans are enthusiastic about their version of
barbecue, grilling ("Grillen"), especially in the summertime.
It is the one area of traditional home cooking that is a
predominantly male activity. Germans grill over charcoal or,
increasingly, gas, and grilled meats include all of the local
sausage variations as well as steaks (especially marinated
pork steaks from the shoulder) and poultry.
Regional festivals feature grilled items ranging from eel
to trout, whole sides of pork or beef, chicken, and duck.
Smoking is common practice in German butchering, but pure
smoke-based techniques have not yet entered popular practice.
Barbecue variations are also popular among the immigrant
communities in Germany, with notable traditions of outdoor
grilling in Germany developed by immigrants and visitors from
the United States of America, Turkey, Greece, other Balkan
States, and among the German-speaking emigrants from the
states of the former Soviet Union.
Barbecue in Scandinavia implements traits of traditional
Scandinavian gourmet cuisines. In addition to more traditional
meats such as chicken, beef, lamb, and pork, wild game are
common, especially venison. A sauce made from Juniper berries
is often put on top of the meats when served.
Shashlik is the Russian version of shish
kebab, and like all other international variants, is cooked on
a grill. Sausages are also commonly grilled over an open
flame, and Chicken Kiev and pierogies are baked in ovens,
after which sometimes they can be grilled.
Kingdom and Ireland
Barbecuing is a popular al
fresco cooking and eating style, common in both the United
Kingdom and Ireland. Many homes in both countries have a
barbecue, usually located in the home's back garden. Most
popular are steel-built "kettle" and range-style barbecues,
with wheels to facilitate moving the barbecue. Due to the
typically wet weather of the climate of the British Isles,
during the autumn and winter, many British and Irish people
store their barbecues in a garden shed or garage, although
permanent brick barbecues are also common.
In recent times, barbecue cook-off competitions are
beginning to take place in the United Kingdom and Ireland,
similar to those in the United States. Some of these barbecue
competitions also allow teams from both countries to compete
against each other. Similar competitions are also held in
Canada, continental Europe, and Australia.
The most common foods cooked on a British-style barbecue
are chicken, hamburgers, sausages, beef steaks, shish kebabs,
and vegetarian soya or quorn based products, and can be
grilled, baked, or a combination of both. Such vegetarian
products require extra attention due to their lower fat
content and thus tendency to stick, as well as their weaker
structure due to the manufacturing process of such foods.
Less common food items include fish, prawns, lobster,
halloumi (cheese), corn-on-the-cob, squashes, potatoes,
plantains, asparagus, beetroots, pork fillets, pork patties,
and pork or beef ribs. Similar to the United States, barbecue
sauce is sometimes spread onto the meat while it is cooking.
All the major supermarket chains now offer a range of barbecue
products, although availability is usually limited to the
duration of the "barbecue season" (late spring to early
Barbecue in the UK is mostly influenced by traditional
English, Scottish, and Welsh cuisines. However, as modern
British cuisine as a whole is also heavily influenced by its
multi-ethnic minority communities, British barbecue draws on
traditions from Continental Western European, Scandinavian,
and Mediterranean cuisines, and to a lesser extent, Middle
Eastern, Asian, Oceanian, and Oriental cuisines. For example,
the barbecue sauce may contain Juniper berries, and persillade
may also be put on top of the meat as a garnish. Overall,
British barbecue is similar to a mix of American, Australian,
German, Scandinavian, and Mediterranean styles.
The Irish have their own tradition of barbecue which is
influenced by traditional Irish cuisine. In addition to meat
and vegetables, potatoes, a staple in Irish cuisine, are also
cooked. Barbecue sauce is spread onto the meat while cooking,
which can either be grilled, baked, or both. The Irish
barbecue style is similar to a mix of American, UK, and
Arabia and Eastern Mediterranean
Taoouq, the Middle Eastern Kebabs made from beef and lamb,
beef steaks, chicken, or non-pork sausages are popular
barbecue dishes in the region. Mangal, Arabic for a grill, is
the act of grilling meat on coals outdoors and also known as
"On the fire" (Hebrew: Al Ha'esh על האש). Barbecue is very
popular in Israel, especially in Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel
Independence day), celebrated with picnics and mangal. The
meat is eaten with pita bread, Tehini paste, Hummus, Arabi
salad, Tabouli, and other salads. Al tazaj is a Shish Taoouq
chain throughout the region.
Persian-style kabob has various types. The main one is
koobideh kabob, which is seasoned ground beef that is skewered
and barbecued outside on a charcoal flame. There is also a
marinated chicken kabob called joojeh kabob and a filet mignon
steak kabob, called kabob barg. Both are skewered as well. All
three main types of Persian kabob are usually served with
Iranian style saffron rice and salad Shirazi, but can also be
eaten with middle eastern lavash bread.
Meats have been cooked over open flames by the Aboriginal
peoples of Canada since the beginning of the human habitation
of North America. This kind of cooking was also used
extensively by lower-class rural whites as hunters and
campers. However US-style barbecue culture is a recent import
to Canada, having been introduced only following the Second
Its arrival coincided with the commercially-driven
popularization of a type of "domestic masculinity" for
middle-class suburban fathers in the 1950s. This was a sharp
break with the Canadian tradition, however, and as late as
1955 an article in Maclean's called the practice "weird".
Therefore "barbecue" (in one sense) cannot said to be a
deeply-held Canadian tradition. Yet by the late 1950s the
barbecue, once a fad, had become a permanent part of Canadian
Canadian barbecue takes many influences from its American
neighbor, but also takes influences from British, Central
European, and Euro-Mediterranean barbecue styles. The most
common items cooked on a Canadian barbecue are chicken,
burgers, ribs, steaks, sausages, and shish kebabs.
Barbecue sauce is either brushed on when the meats are
cooking, or before the meats are served. As in the United
States, barbecue cook-off competitions are quite common.
Barbecue cookouts, either pit-smoking, baking, grilling
(charbroiling, gridironing, or griddling), or braising (by
putting a broth-filled pot on top of a charbroil-grill or
gridiron-grill), can also be combined with picnics, again the
same as in the United States.
Regional varieties are present between provinces, as well
as regionally within provinces. Since mass consumer society
allows once traditional local products to be sold in all
regions, these are to be considered stereotypical examples
only. British Columbian barbecues would most likely feature
salmon and chicken cooked indirectly on a cedar plank, a
method indigenous to the Pacific coast.
Those of the Prairie Provinces would like feature beef
steaks and sausage. Ontario barbecues are more likely to
contain bbq ribs and burgers. Quebec-style barbecue draws
closer and greater influences in style from European and
Mediterranean grilling, baking, and braising traditions and
Louisiana barbecue, which likewise is also distinct from the
barbecue styles of the rest of the American Deep South due to
the influences of the unique regional cuisines of the state:
Cajun cuisine and Louisiana Creole cuisine, which both
descend from French and other Central European and
Euro-Mediterranean cuisines. In addition to rubs and sauces,
the meats are marinated in various mixtures containing olive
oil and citrus juices, persillade is often added as a garnish,
and meat skewers, called brochettes (French) or souvlakis
(Greek), are also very common.
In Mexico the Horno is a traditional earthen barbecue
tradition. Carne asada (literally meaning "roasted meat")
consists of marinated cuts of beef rubbed with salt and
pepper, and then grilled. Normally, it is accompanied with
tortillas and grilled onions and bell peppers sometimes as
This dish is now extremely popular in the entire country;
although it is widely believed to have originated in the
northern part of Mexico, it is now found almost everywhere in
Mexico and the southwestern U.S. Additionally, there are
several other types of meats that are barbecued in Mexico,
depending on the geographic region. In the northern part of
the country, Cabrito is a popular barbecue dish, which
consists of an entire kid goat, minus head, hooves and
entrails (except the kidneys), slowly grilled/smoked on an
open charcoal grill.
The kidneys release a strong desired flavor as the carcass
is slowly cooking over the fire. A somewhat similar dish
popular all over the country is barbacoa, which is sheep meat
slowly cooked over an open flame, or more traditionally, in a
fire pit. Also, like in many other places in Latin America,
there is a strong tradition in Mexico of preparing pollo asado
(roasted halved chicken) on mesquite charcoal-fired grills
after the chicken meat has been marinated overnight in an
often secretly-guarded-recipe adobo sauce.
In addition to carne asada, there are several types of
beef, chicken and pork, as well as sausages (such as (chorizo,
moronga, etc) that are grilled during back yard or
picnic-style events, commonly referred to as "parrilladas".
Some types of vegetables may be grilled alongside the meat,
most commonly green onions, bell peppers and chile peppers,
commonly referred to in Mexico as chiles toreados, or
"bull-fought chiles". Quesadillas often and tortillas always
accompany the consumption of grilled meat at these events, as
well as soft drinks for children and alcoholic beverages for
Asado is a technique for cooking cuts of meat, usually
consisting of beef alongside various other meats, which are
cooked on a grill (parrilla) or open fire. It is considered
the traditional dish of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile
and southern Brazil.
Argetina, Uruguay and Paraguay
In Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay some alternatives are the
asado al disco and asado al horno de barro, specially in the
countryside. The recipe doesn't change, only the way of
cooking the meat and ofalls.
In the asado al disco the worn out disc of a plough is
used. Being metallic and concave, three or four metallic legs
are welded and with hot coal or lumber below it's easily
transformed into a very effective grill. Meat and ofalls are
put in spiral, in such a way that the fat naturally slips to
the center, preserving the meat for being fried. Chili peppers
and onions are usually put next to the edge, so that they
gradually release their juices on the meat.
The asado al horno de barro differs from traditional asado,
as an horno (adobe oven) is used. These primitive ovens are a
common view in Argentine estancias, and their primary function
is to bake bread, but they are well suited for roasting meat.
Pork suckling and, less commonly, lamb are served, as they are
more unlikely to get dry.
Though not technically a grill, it is a very traditional
way of cooking that still requires the great skills of an
asador and the gathering of family and friends, which are the
essence of asado. Moreover, the smoky flavour and tenderness
of this dish are very appreciated.
The barbecue-style meat known as Churrasco, is also the
cooking style which translates roughly from the Portuguese for
barbecue. Many Brazilian restaurants called Churrascarias in
Brazil and abroad serve churrasco.
In Chile, the local version of the asado is usually
accompanied with pebre, a local condiment made from pureed
herbs, garlic and hot peppers; in many ways similar to
South Pacific islands
popular in the Australasian, Melanesian, Micronesian, and
Polynesian islands, and every country and culture has its own
version of earth oven barbecue cuisine. Some of the most
legendary and continuously-practiced examples can be found in
South Pacific Oceania.
their earth oven barbecue a Hima’a. A thousand miles away in
the Marquesas Islands, there’s the Umu. With many tropical
islands' styles of barbecue, the meat is marinated, glazed
with a savory sauce, and adorned with local tropical fruits.
The cooking customs of the
indigenous peoples of Polynesia became the traditional
Hawaiian barbecue of Kalua in an underground oven called an
Imu, and the Luau, of the Native Hawaiians. It was brought to
international attention by 20th century tourism to the
Australia barbecues are a popular summer pastime.
Coin-operated or free public gas or electric barbecues are
common in city parks. While Australian barbecue uses similar
seasonings to its American counterpart, smoking or sugary
sauces are used less often.
More commonly meat is marinated for flavor and then is
cooked on a hot plate or grill. Australian barbecues tend to
be either all hot-plate or half and half hot-plate/grill. The
barbecuing of prawns ("shrimp" in the USA) has become
increasingly popular in Australia but was not popular at the
time of the American TV commercial featuring Australian actor
Barbecues are also common in fund raising for schools and
local communities, where sausages and onions are served on
white bread with barbecue sauce or ketchup. These are most
often referred to as "Sausage Sizzles".
Barbecues are a very popular activity and cuisine in New
Zealand. As well as being a common feature in gardens of New
Zealanders, barbecues are also found at most campsites and
many beaches throughout the country.
Foods cooked include beef, lamb, pork, fresh fish,
crayfish, shellfish, and vegetables. Sausages are a well liked
and demanded element of barbecues, and as in Australia
"sausage sizzles" are one of the most common form of
fundraiser. New Zealand barbecue is similar to a mix of
American, British, Australian, South African and Pacific
New Zealand’s Maori have the hangi, a type of earth oven
cooked on special occasions. Multi-Cultural society in New
Zealand has also led to Indian/Pakistani, East Asian, South
American and Middle Eastern cuisines all influencing the
flavours and types of food found at a barbecue.