Grilling extends far beyond hot dogs and hamburgers to achieve some stunning variety across the globe. Let’s take a trip and explore the ways to grill on (mostly) every continent. WARNING: May cause drooling.
First stop, Japan. In Japan, food is cooked over a cast-iron grill using a 200-year-old method called Hibachi, which means "fire bowl" in Japanese. What’s special about hibachi is its limited use of seasoning and spices, as the purpose of hibachi is to draw out and enhance the natural flavors of meats, vegetables, and rice. Commonly used seasonings include salt, pepper, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic.
Next up: South Africa, where Braai is popular. Braai stems from the word “braaivleis,” which means “grilled meat.” Like many forms of grilling, braai focuses on controlling fire and has an extensive history. In fact, it is hypothesized that the first form of braai occurred when human’s early ancestors accidentally dropped meat into fire and ate it after the fire burned out. Dishes common at braais include long grilled sausages called boerewors, meat skewers called sosaties, kebabs, marinated chicken, pork chops, lamb chops, and racks of spareribs.
Carne Asada refers to thin slices of beef (usually flank or skirt steak) grilled and used as a filling for fajitas or tacos. You can eat it wrapped in tortillas with fresh avocado, but if you really want to make that wow factor for dinner, present the carved meat smothered in salsa and garnished with cilantro. But beware...it’s almost too pretty to eat.
Heading back east to China, we have Char Siu and Chuanr, two forms of barbeque that developed thanks to China’s massive size. While chuanr focuses primarily on grilling spicy, cumin-flavored meats over an open grill at high heat, char siu takes a slower approach and slow cooks the meat after basting it in a sweet sauce.
Next up, Southwest Asia, where satay first rose to prominence in Java, Indonesia, but is now common throughout the region with variations based on geographic location. In Sate-Padang, satays are made with cow or goat meat and served with yellow sauce. Although Sate-Kerbau has a large Muslim population, the community still respects the no-cow policy observed by Hindus and instead grills water buffalo meat that is served with coconut-milk sauce, highlighting how flexible satay is when it comes to culinary restrictions. Satay is commonly cooked over an open grill, as seen in March Fosh’s Chicken Satay Sesame Cucumber Salad.
Chicken Satay with Sesame Salad and Rice is perfect for jazzing up chicken mince with a light satay sauce.
In Korea, bulgogi and galbi are both grilling methods, but with fundamental differences in how and what type of food is cooked. While bulgogi is primarily thin, marinated slices of beef, galbi is more common and results in whole marinated beef cuts and pork rib. Most restaurants use a gas-burner grill but the best grilling tool is an iron griddle over a real charcoal flame. Sadly, this method is banned in all but one Californian restaurant, protected by a grandfather clause. No Korean restaurants nearby? No problem. Try Alexandra Stafford’s Bulgogi with Cucumber-Apple Pickles.
Creating Korean BBQ at home is very easy: a simple cucumber-apple pickle comes together in no time and a bulgogi marinade can be made with pantry items.
On the beautiful island of Jamaica, Jerk is a common grilling technique resulting in--surprise, surprise--jerk chicken. Jerk cooking began nearly 2500 years ago when the Arawak Indians used similar drying, seasoning, and smoking techniques to preserve their meats. Jerk cooking typically includes slow cooking meats over pimento wood, which infuses the dish with a smoky kick. The smoking process doesn’t have to occur in a fancy smokehouse; even an empty oil drum with holes cut into it will work!
Test out at least one of these grilling techniques to make your next outdoor party the best in the neighborhood! We guarantee you will hear no complaints.