8 countries, 8 different styles of BBQ



While we can’t pinpoint the exact origin of the barbecue practice we do know that the Indian subcontinent has been using tandoors for as long as we know. No wonder our senses perk up at the slightest aroma of meat on hot coals.

Today barbecues are more of an artful practice, and that too a global one; involving various meats and vegetables and a diverse range of marinades and spice rubs originating from different parts of the world.

While we all barbecue it’s interesting to discover the way our barbecues differ. From the wood to the oils we use methods for this type of food differ from country to country.

Let’s have a look at eight barbecue traditions around the world.

1. Iran


The Persian kebobs are famous world over. In Iran you find them everywhere from restaurants to roadside stalls. These are usually accompanied with an eggplant dip or a herby yogurt and salad not to forget the tandoori flat bread also called Lavash. Find a recipe for the famous Kebob here.

2. South Africa


South Africans love barbecue, so much so that they have a National Braai Day, devoted to friend family and the barbecue (known as ‘Braai’ in South Africa). Socializing around an outdoor fire is a common tradition in South Africa amid chops and sausages grilled to perfection as well as sandwiches on the grill. Yes, sandwiches! And they are just delightful, nice and crunchy on the outside and soft in the center with the smoke from the barbecue adding to it all. Here’s  a sandwich barbecue you can try.

3. Indonesia


While the satay is found world over, especially in Far East countries like Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand but it originates from Indonesia. It is the Indonesian national dish and is found throughout the country on street stalls as well as upscale restaurants. It consists of meat; usually beef, mutton or poultry and fish marinated and put on skewers and then of course, barbecued or cooked on fire, often accompanied by a sweet soy sauce dip or a peanut sauce. Here’s a traditional satay recipe.

4. United States


Barbecue in America has become so prevalent that it now represents pop culture. This country loves barbecue almost as much as apple pie. American barbecue takes influence from Spanish, European and Caribbean traditions, thus boasts a diverse range of cooking methods and ingredients. From corn and sausages to ribs and burgers or chicken wings, you can be as imaginative as you like. Find an American inspired barbecue chicken recipe here.

5. Jamaica


The Caribbean has a long history of barbecuing and it is believed that the word ‘barbecue’ originated from there. While many countries in the Caribbean barbecue, the Jamaican Jerk Chicken resonates most prominently in the minds of foodies. A delicious and fiery spice rub goes on chicken which is then grilled on wood to get a distinct barbecue flavor which we love so much. Find a Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe here.

6. Japan


History tells us that Japanese have barbecued for a long long time, using ceramic urns almost like the tandoor. The most common current Japanese barbecuing tradition involves a flat electric grill (teppanyaki grill) with a smooth surface on which meat and vegetable are grilled in front of guests, commonly found in restaurants, as well as the Hibachi grill which employs a box filled with charcoals covered by a metal grate, very similar to how we do it. The meat or vegetables are cooked in minimal spice and are accompanied by dipping sauces. The grill and the dish are both called Yakitori. A delicious Yakitori recipe can be found here.

7 & 8. Pakistan and India


And finally we have the two countries who in my opinion would have found their way to barbecue no matter what. From the chicken tikka to fish tikka to the behari kebab, mutton chops and katakat we have it all, even Afghani specialties since we would go to any lengths to try barbecue regardless of its origin. The variety of chutneys and naans that complement these dishes make our barbecue experience all the more distinct and enjoyable. So go on and find your favourite desi barbecue recipe here and light up that grill!


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