Grill-iant barbecue feasts from around the world
You know summer’s arrived when the air is filled with the delicious aroma of barbecued food. From classic burgers and hotdogs to kebabs, vegan and veggie choices, steaks and more, nothing signals summer quite like a chargrilled dinner.
At Central, we’re in no doubt when barbie season’s in full swing. Besides our fresh meat fridges needing restocking faster than you can say “briquettes”, even the less-traditional BBQ fayre leaps off the shelves bound for a blazing bout of al-fresco dining.
From baked potatoes to corn on the cobs, bacon sandwiches to bananas, there’s no limits to the list of foods that taste even greater when grilled in the great outdoors.
But while we Brits are getting great at rustling up rustic dinners on the patio, we’ve still got some way to go to beat the ingenuity of other places around the world. From chargrilling the most exotic local delicacies to getting creative with traditional dishes, wherever you travel you’ll likely find something flame-grilled to fire up your appetite.
For most countries, the barbecue is pretty standard fayre. You can find racks of burgers and snags in America and Canada, Australia and Germany. “Chuck another shrimp on the barbie” is a cliché Australians surely love to live up to with its favourable climates and plentiful seafood (as well as the now-inevitable kangaroo, wallaby and croc burgers).
Over in South Africa, the “Braai” is so burnt-in to the culture it’s got its own national day, with lamb skewers and “Biltong” jerky meats a-plenty.
Take a trip to the streets of East Africa to tuck in to sizzling platters of barbecued goat or head to Europe to explore Peri-Peri chicken the authentic Portuguese way, fresh on an outdoor grill.
South Korea has a very strong barbecue culture, enjoyed outdoors or in bespoke restaurants, with flavoursome pork ribs and chicken served with grilled dips and rice seared inside Perilla leaves.
If you’ve got a healthy appetite, head to Chile for a traditional “asado”, where whole lambs are grilled over an open fire.
The Brazilian churrasco takes the grilling indoors, where skewered meat is carved at the table with a fine yuca flour thrown on right before eating.
If you’ve time to build up an appetite, try a Philippines’ lechon, a slow-roasted suckling pig, coal pit-fired for up to five hours and stuffed with fresh spices. It’s not unheard of for whole chickens or cattle to also be grilled in this way.
Mongolia has a strong barbecue culture, owing to the country’s abundance of meat over crops and the population’s traditionally nomadic lifestyle, with whole marmots a popular dish.
For something more delicate, try Japanese Yakitori, a barbecued dish of meticulously prepared chicken grilled on skewers. In Thailand, the street food moo-ping is an even daintier choice, comprising bite-sized pieces of pork on miniature skewers.
For a splash of colour, sample a Greek souvlaki – pork, beef or lamb served as kebabs or in colourful wraps. Or head to a Hawaiian luau, home of whole barbecued pigs baked in underground ovens, stuffed with hot rocks and wrapped with banana leaves!
If you’re less Bear Grylls, you might enjoy India’s sophisticated take on barbecue culture, baking food in a tandoor, or outdoor clay oven.
But if you still can’t be swayed from the traditional hot dog, you can always go slightly more continental with a German bratwurst.
Next time you’re lighting the barbie, why not do it with a pinch of global inspiration? Chop-chop, while the sun’s still shining!