Global grill-out!
July 10th, 2011
03:00 AM ET
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Food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more and this week, we invite you to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America in 2011. The week will culminate with a Secret Supper in New York City, and Eatocracy invites you to participate online starting Monday July 11th at 6:30 p.m. E.T.

A few dogs, some burgers, a steak, maybe a batch of your famous ribs - is there anything more American than cooking out? Well - the U.S. may have perfected the art of the backyard barbecue, but the rest of the world isn't exactly immune to the thrill of the grill. Nearly every nation on Earth puts heat to meat on a grate and makes a meal of it, and so far as we're concerned, the more the merrier.

Here's a ten stop tasting tour of some of the world's greatest grilling hot spots.

Pacific Northwest
"Planking" isn't just an internet craze; it's a method that's a plus when it comes to adding fantastic fire flavor. Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest soak wood planks - often cedar, but sometimes alder, cherry or other smoke-friendly trees - in water, nail a whole salmon to it, and lean it upright near coals or an open fire. While the fish cooks, it absorbs the wood's natural smoky flavor, and the person tending the flame needs not fear flipping the fish and losing half of it through the grill grate.

Where's the beef? Argentina, if you really mean business. A parrilla, or traditional Argentine grill (the word means both the style of restaurant and the cooking surface itself), will boast a variety of world-class steaks as well as sausages like morcilla (a blood-based sausage) and chorizo, and offal such as rinones (kidneys), mollejas (sweetbreads), and chinchulines (intestines). Order just your favorites, or brave the whole shebang for a parrilla completa.

Pimento - also known as allspice - and scotch bonnet peppers are at the burning heart of Jamaica's famous jerk dishes. Pork, chicken, fish, beef, and sausage are dry rubbed with these spices, along with a pungent mixture which often includes cloves, thyme, nutmeg, dried onion and pepper, then grilled over aromatic charcoal and pimento wood for a soulful, searing island feast.

Teppanyaki cooking, which is that showy, flippy, Benihana-style grilling in which slices of meat, seafood and vegetables are quickly seared in soybean oil on a flattop, is somewhat more likely to be found in a North American "Japanese steakhouse" than it is in its supposed homeland.

Much more traditional is yakitori, or skewered, boneless chicken parts often including hearts, liver, gizzards, meatballs or chunks or white meat. This is grilled with salt or tare, which is a sweet, savory sauce made from mirin, soy sauce, sake and sugar. While chicken is the most commonly served yakitori, the term can also encompass skewers of grilled tofu, scallions, pork belly, asparagus, meatballs or other ingredients.

Hold onto those skewers; satay chicken or beef strips on bamboo are a Southeast Asian staple. The popular Malaysian preparation features spiced, savory peanut gravy with slivers of onion and the turmeric that provides its distinctive golden hue. An Indonesian version often includes a soy-based sauce.

Finish your banchan and get to the bulgogi. While the Korean diet is mainly vegetable and fish based, meat is a special occasion treat. Thinly sliced steak is steeped in a marinade of soy sauce, wine, garlic and sesame oil for several hours for maximum flavor and tenderness. The strips are then grilled, individually wrapped in lettuce leaves and eaten by hand - often accompanied by a dab of ssamjang (soybean paste) and the ubiquitous fermented cabbage dish known as kimchi.

Marrakech's famed Djemaa el-Fna stall-packed, smoke-filled, heavenly-scented night bazaar is the beating heart of Morocco's street food culture. Locals and tourists alike feast on skewers of charcoal-grilled lamb, beef, chicken and sausages of all sorts, usually seasoned with cumin, coriander, lemon, garlic and black pepper. Khobz (Moroccan bread) can be used to pick up meat or sop the luscious fat, and while the popular sweet mint tea is a great all-day thirst quencher, many people finish their night's eating with a hot ginger and cinnamon version.

Middle East
Shish kebab, many people will tell you, originated when medieval Turkish soldiers stacked cubed meat and vegetables on their swords to cook over open flames. However, mentions of such a dish date as far back as Homer's Odyssey. The modern day version subs in metal skewers for swords, but the formula remains the same. Lamb is the traditional meat, but beef, chicken, seafood, goat and pork may appear - alternating often with peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, onions or tomatoes, depending on local tastes and religious dietary restrictions.

In the Land Down Under, tossing prawns on the barbie is a way of life. Grilling is so popular, in fact, most parks, beaches and campgrounds have free or coin-operated gas or electric grills available for public use. The abundance of coastline makes fresh, local seafood a must, and emu, ostrich, crocodile and even kangaroo can be found gracing grates across the country. Especially intrepid eaters may sample grilled witchetty grub, which are thumb-thick moth larvae that crisp up under high heat and taste slightly nutty when cooked.

An African birdseye pepper called piri-piri, peri-peri or peli-peli, brings fire to African and Portugese cuisine. Marinated skewered shrimp, fish or rotisserie chicken cooked over coals and basted with a sauce made from the peppers, then served with starches like rice, bread, or roasted potatoes to offset the intense heat.

Got a favorite global grilling style, or is the good ol' US of A where it's at? Share your red-hot and juicy musings in the comments below and catch up on all our grilling tips.

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Filed under: Cultural Identity • Culture • Grilling • Techniques & Tips

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. NickBA

    Argentina wins hands-down. i've been here in BA for a while now and i've had my fair share of steak.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  2. s kel

    put a frozen microwave meal from argntina on a grill , grill that and tell me how the hell that tastes spiritrider. oh yeah and grill it realll slow.

    July 12, 2011 at 2:35 am |
  3. Noxious Sunshine

    I love yakitori... And Bulgogi.. I found a recipe for Bulgogi & marinated the steak strips for over 24 hours begore we grilled them... Delish! I also love to use mesquite chips when grilling out.. Makes the food taste so much better imo...

    July 11, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  4. MRET

    So those peppers I bought in the Brazilian market are piri-piris? HOT little sumbees! I've got to find a recipe for the sauce so I can make chicken, and maybe a salad to go with.

    July 11, 2011 at 7:46 am |
  5. yea

    @spiritrider i will spit in your face

    July 11, 2011 at 2:43 am |
  6. RichardHead

    You forgot my favorite country..VEGANIA ! It is located off the California and Mexican coast line. There ain't nothing better than a slow roasted Vegan cooked over an open pit. You don't have to use any fancy woods for smoking purposes as Vegans are extremely "Fruity" anyway. They always smell like fish or soy tofu for some reason so we use prime hardwoods like railroad ties or particle board for a good roaring fire. BTW-if you are asked if you want some Vegan cheek meat,it's always best to ask which end it was cut from. Enjoy everyone.

    July 10, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  7. spiritrider

    The author of this article is clueless. Itis like they did google search on how people cook using heat. The U.S. is the primary party guilty of the crime against humanity known as grilling. Ask an Argentinian how his grilling is coming and and you will likely get stabbed by a BARGEQUE fork.

    The rest of the world and the the south and southwest of the U.S. know that bargeque cooked slowly has ten times the flavor. This is from a "damn yankee" who still knows that a barbeque from Argentina, Austraila, and the South/Southwest beats any mindless grilling. The U.S. is the only place where everybody is in a hurry to apply high heat to grill food quickly.

    July 10, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Carnie Vore

      You need to climb down off of your high horse, remove the stick from your a$$, and get overyourself.

      July 11, 2011 at 6:54 am |
  8. exported American

    So you mention Africa, but you really should point out South Africa, where a braai (Afrikaans for what we call a bbq in the US) is literally the national pastime. They take it to a whole level that would put even the most ardent American grillmaster to shame.

    July 10, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  9. TG Heaven

    To start, "BBQ" is a noun. Yes there are similar rituals within this genre around the globe.
    Secondly, "Grilling" is more about 'how', not 'what'. How much cumin and allspice you put on your gizzards is irrelevant.
    Lastly, to make this read like you're giving us a snapshot of it around the globe, why not talk a little more about the "how"…..wood types, propane and other gases used in other countries?; or rotisserie being popular around the globe and just hitting America now.

    July 10, 2011 at 9:54 am |
  10. Mark

    You don't know what your writing about. Koreans eat loads of meat everyday. Thus the rate of all types of cancer are rising. More meat=early death. Everyone pelase GO VEGAN for your health, for the Earth, and for the animals!

    July 10, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • Roman

      Please eat meat for the sake of plants, don't kill them, they have life too

      July 10, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Carnie Vore

      For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three.

      July 11, 2011 at 6:52 am |
  11. Dave

    Turns out people have used fire to cook stuff for a long time, pretty much everywhere.

    July 10, 2011 at 8:21 am |
  12. SPW

    You forgot to list Fukushima as an outdoor grilling spot in Japan.

    July 10, 2011 at 8:05 am |
    • beaver

      yum...yum !!!

      July 10, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  13. Billy

    Every country grills and each country has a favorite based on what's available. To try and list the best is plain stupid, they are all good.

    July 10, 2011 at 8:02 am |
  14. john

    How about Ottawa, Canada? The US Ambassador's July 4'th B-B-Q Cook-off between the best in the US vs the best in Canada (double blind taste testers) choose Canada, in all categories. Much to the dismay of the Ambassador. It was almost as shocking as when Toronto acquires the Bills and goes on to win the Superbowl, in a few years from now!!!

    July 10, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  15. Troy Boleyn

    Believe it or not: Poland. Going out to 'grill' is a coomon social activity here for anyone and everyone. In the 12 years I've been bouncing between the US and Poland, I've noticed more popularity in grilling in Poland than in several of the US states where I've lived.

    Most commonly using kielbasa (Polish Sausage), other grilled treats include mountain cheeses – which can come in styles from heavily smoked to spicy, and szaszlyk (sha-shwik, a shish kebab that is heavier on meat than veggies). You and any group of friends finding yourselves bored any given day throughout the year will ultimately find yourselves visiting the forest or seaside for a grill and some beers.

    July 10, 2011 at 5:10 am |
  16. Grill Master

    How about Yemen,

    Their "president" looked pretty well done on his last TV appearance!?

    July 10, 2011 at 4:34 am |
  17. bigboxes

    I knew this wasn't a serious article when you left off Texas. ;)

    July 10, 2011 at 3:57 am |
    • JLC

      I knew this article wasn't serious when they left out my back yard ;-)

      July 10, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • davec

      How true!
      I grill steak, burgers, brats, hot dogs, pork loin, turkey, whole chicken, chicken wings, pork chops, turkey, corn,, baked potato,onion, baby back ribs, pineapple.
      I smoke brisket, pulled pork, turkey, chicken, prime rib, baby backs, country ribs

      July 10, 2011 at 10:03 am |
      • JLC

        I'll be right over.

        July 10, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • Andruha

      Grills can be good eats when the meat comes from conscientious farmers who take good care of their animals.

      BTW - I'm looking for some cool amateur food photographers to share some delicious food photos on a new site - YummyWar (dot com, of course)

      It's kind of a silly food-gawker contest site but could be fun if some folks get good photos in! Check it out!

      July 10, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
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