Barbeque doesn’t necessarily have an origin. There are so many types around the world and each style varies greatly from one another. If you were to ask for barbeque food in America, you would be given something much different than if you asked for barbeque food in Argentina. Even though many countries follow their traditional guidelines, barbeque is constantly evolving and creating new methods and recipes every day.
Smoking techniques were brought to Texas in the 1860’s by European immigrants. Butchers used the technique to make sausage and in time turned into smokehouse restaurants. Some of these original Farm/Butcher/Restaurants are still open in Texas today serving mainly beef, pork and chicken. Texas is known for using significantly pungent woods such as Hickory and Mesquite. Both dry rub and marinated techniques are used, and the sauces vary in flavors and consistency.
Kansas City Barbeque-
What makes Kansas City barbeque different from the rest is versatility. Just about anything is barbequed and the sauces are both Texas and Carolina influenced. One item that is high in demand is burnt ends, which are pieces cut from the fattier part of the brisket and cooked longer. Kansas City has claimed to be the inventor of burnt ends, since many have adapted the technique. However, Kansas City style barbeque did not appear until the early 1900’s.
Carolina barbeque is split into two categories: North Carolina and South Carolina. North Carolina is known for smoking whole hogs and using a loose vinegar-based sauce to baste the pig in while cooking. South Carolina is known for using a sweet thick mustard-based sauce which is referred to as “Carolina gold” to cook pork in and used as a condiment.
The national dish of the Philippines is called “Lechon” which means roasted suckling pig. Two-month-old suckling pigs are roasted for several hours to create a crispy outer skin and tender meat. A large bamboo rod is skewered through the pig. The pig is filled with vegetables and spices such as garlic, lemongrass, spring onions, shallot, salt and sugar. The pig is then cooked rotisserie style, by hand by rolling the bamboo rod about six inches over the coals constantly until fully cooked.
One of the more popular barbeque dishes in Japan is the Yakitori. Small pieces of chicken and vegetables are placed on a skewer and grilled over very high heat. Binchotan is the type of coal used which is actually a treated wood that will reach higher temperatures than any other coal. The key to cooking Yakitori is to have an incredibly high heat to create a nice crispy, charred skin with a tender, juicy center.
The favored dish of Korean barbeque is called Bulgogi which means grilled meat. Bulgogi is thin cut skirt steak which is marinated and grilled on a flat top grill. The meat is then sliced medium rare and served with a wide selection of side dishes to choose from.
The main barbeque dish among the natives is known as “Carne Asada” which means roasted meat. Carne Asada is generally beef tenderloin that has either been marinated or rubbed with seasonings, heavily seared and cooked fully in an oven. The meat is then sliced thin and used in many different dishes such as tacos, tortas and burritos.
Barbacoa is also a common barbeque dish found in Mexican cuisine. A whole sheep is butchered, seasoned, and sealed in an underground fire pit. While mutton (sheep) is the meat of choice, goats and lamb are also used.
Asado is considered the national dish of many South American countries such as Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. Asado can be described as the style of the food, an event or cooking method. The word directly translated means barbeque. A traditional Asado consists of various cuts of beef and sausage. The meat is cooked slow over a low smoking wood creating a very tender end product.
Another popular cooking method used mainly in barbeque competitions is called “Barbeque on the Leather”. This is when an entire cow is cooked with the leather or hide still on. The cow is spatchcocked, deboned and placed between two large grates that are tied together tightly. The meat side of the cow is rubbed down with a solution of oil, vinegar, salt and nutmeg to add flavor and keep the meat from drying out, then slow cooked for hours over a wood fire.
Like the Argentine asados, Brazilian churrascos started with gauchos (cowboys) in Brazil, who created the serving method that’s still used today where the meat (usually beef picanha, ribeye, sirloin, filet) is cooked on skewers and cut off tableside. Molho campanha is a typical condiment made with red and green peppers, onion, and tomato, and yuca flour. All meats are cooked on long skewers placed on racks over the fire with fattier items placed on top so that the juices will drip down and flavor the other cuts. When the meats are cooked, waiters carry the skewers around, table to table, carving off pieces onto your plate. The waiters will not stop serving until you plead enough por favor!
Here, they call it Braai and like in most places around the world, it’s much more than the act of barbequing, it’s a social gathering where everyone contributes and participates while drinking beers and renowned local wines. Grilling options can include boerewors (“farmer’s sausage”), steak, chicken, lamb, and often game meat as well as sides include anything from potato bakes to corn on the cob, which must be cooked over a wood grill (braaistand). However beware, never interfere with the “braaier” (typically the host) and backseat “braaing” or advising is seriously frowned upon.