Americans are known for their unconditional love for “barbecue.”
Come summers, US backyards and parks are full of visitors gathering around sauce-slathered chicken as well as slicy meats.
But famed as America’s grill skills may be, many would claim it can’t hold a glowing charcoal flame to the meat-charring culture.
History isn’t clear on where the term “barbecue” comes from –one explanation is that it comes from “barbacoa” a term used by Spanish wanders to describe the Caribbean’s traditional Taino people’s cooking technique.
In today’s times, barbecue is prepared in different formats– on grills, above fire pits, under the ground, and in clay ovens.
There are regional classifications and customs everywhere from South America to Africa, to Asia, for lip-smacking barbecue experience.
The South African braai (“barbecue” in Afrikans) is the nation’s top spiritual custom.
Here, the vigorous gathering of kith and kins over grilled, juicy dips of steak, saucy and chicken sosaties (skewers) cuts through all racial and socioeconomic lines.
And no place does “Sunday Funday” quite like the townships, where shisa nyama (“burn meat” in Zulu) venues elevate the braai experience with on-site butchers, cooks, drinks and party-starting DJs.
Chicago native and model Unique Love spent three years living in Cape Town and fondly recalls her first shisa nyama.
“Having a braai in Cape Town’s Mzoli’s Meat felt like home,” she says. “After eating, I never wanted to [leave] because the community’s ambiance felt comforting.”
This is the unbelievable beauty which popularly known as the world’s peak consumer of beef fluctuates each year, many would claim Argentina will forever be the huge dame of barbecued meats.
Like South Africa’s braai culture, Argentina’s affinity for the grill is more entrenched than in the States.
Attending a sociable, gut-busting asado (“barbecue”) on an almost weekly basis is the norm.
Though a variety of meats and cuts can be experienced at any gathering, Argentinian chef Guillermo Pernot insists: “For the absolute best asado, one should cook a sweet pork and beef sausage, sweetbreads, thigh intestines and blood sausages.”
Other asado tips from the two-time winner of the James Beard Award include using coarse salt to coat meats and to have the “indispensable” chimichurri — a sauce and marinade which usually consists of parsley, garlic, oregano, vinegar and chili flakes — at the ready.
Barbecue enthusiasts with sizable appetites will love Brazil’s churrasco (Portuguese and Spanish for “barbecue”).
Most visitors to Brazil will get their barbecue fix at a churrascaria, where restaurant servers provide an endless supply of grilled meat cuts directly to patrons’ tables.
While Brazilian churrasco might be the most famous, it’s found in several other countries, including Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Portugal.
Dan Clark, a tour specialist who frequents South America, believes Brazilian barbecues offer more options for vegetarians than neighboring, meat-loving Argentina.
“At an Argentinian asado, you’re really stuck with the salad and fries,” he says. “But it’s much better in Brazil because most churrascarias feature salad bars with dozens of kinds of fresh salads, pasta salads, pickles, breads, olives and all the other sides you could wish for.”
It’s true: that iconic Indian tandoori chicken you’ve known (and perhaps loved) for ages is considered a barbecue dish.
Tandoori food derives its name from the tandoor, the cauldron-like clay oven in which dishes such as naan bread, chicken, seafood and other meats are cooked under high-heat charcoal.
“The art of the tandoor originated centuries ago as a nomadic style of cooking in Central Asia [where] food was cooked on charcoal pits and meat was spit-roasted,” says Manjit Gill, an Indian celebrity chef behind several acclaimed restaurants including Bukhara in New Delhi.
“The Tandoori cuisine as we know it today was introduced in the late 1940s in post-partition India, when people discovered that it was a better medium to cook meat in a tandoor rather than on the spit.”
“Surprisingly, despite the name, Taiwan is the origin of Mongolian barbecue,” reveals travel enthusiast and native Taiwanese Erin Yang, “[and] consists of the combination of sliced meat, noodles and vegetables quickly cooked over a flat circular metal surface.”
Mongolian barbecue is a relatively new food trend, emerging in Taiwan in the 1950s and influenced by Japanese teppanyaki and Chinese stir-fry.
It’s also popular in certain regions of China.
Beijing-based food and travel blogger Monica Weintraub says beef and lamb feature heavily in the north of the country.
These are the key destinations throughout the globe where you can enjoy the mouth watery delicious barbecue in various segments.