Experience the best of barbecue from around the globe
Your ribs were impressive when you first perfected that slow-cooked, falling-off-the-bone texture 10 years ago. Hundreds of wet naps later, your friends may be hungry for a little variety. American barbecue—with its sweet, tangy sauce and mouth-watering, smoky expressions of swine and cow—is what most people associate with firing up the coals. But look across the ocean and you’ll find inventive ethnic variations of your favorite barbecued foods. There’s no better time to mix things up than in the dog days of summer, so try one of these international barbecue styles this weekend:
Korean barbecue makes the most of your meat, one pound of beef satisfies four to six people. Thinly sliced, rich, marbleized cuts are standard for the region. Despite a little extra fat, bite-size, mouth-watering servings mean less overall consumption.
For unique Korean flavor, mix a grated apple or Asian pear into your marinade, says Debra Samuels, author of The Korean Table: From Barbecue to Bibimbap. The fruit’s acidity works like a magic tenderizer and compliments traditional sweet soy-based sauces. Seal marinated meat in a plastic bag for at least five hours—overnight is best—and serve cooked slices individually wrapped in Boston or butter leaf lettuce on a platter.
Use these Korean barbecue recipes to pull-off the worldly chef role and leave your guests perfectly balanced amid satisfied and salivating.
KOREAN STRATEGY: Butterfly Beef Short Ribs
Butterflying is a technique for cutting thick meaty short rib into a single flat piece of meat still attached to the bone. Follow this rule of thumb: The more surface area to marinate the tastier the result.
1. Stand the bone perpendicular to the cutting board. With a sharp knife make a cut in the middle of the meat.
2. Slice down to about 1/4 inch (1.25 cm) from the bottom of the beef and lay this flap open. The meat stays attached to the bone.
3.Make another cut between the beef attached to the bone and the first cut. This will allow the meat to open further.
4. Turn the rib over, and starting about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the end, as you did on the other side, cut the meat to within ¼ inch (6 mm) of the bottom.
5. Moving away from the bone and in the center of the cut you just made, cut to within 1/4 inch (6 mm) of the bottom. You are unfolding the meat from the bone into one long strip. The ribs are now ready to marinate and grill.
*From The Korean Table: From Barbecue to Bibimbap
By Taekyung Chung and Debra Samuels
YAKINIKU: JAPANESE BBQ
All meat is created equal in Japanese barbecue, as long as it’s very thinly sliced and doused in traditional pare (marinade). Pare’s specific ingredients vary by region and cook’s preference, but one thing is essential: miso.
You’ve probably had miso soup to start off a sushi feast, but the soybean paste is ideal for dipping meats and easy to doctor to your preferred taste. You can buy miso at any Asian market and most natural grocery stores. Mix it with soy sauce, add chili flakes and garlic, or toss in any finely chopped vegetable. Experimentation is key to Yakiniku, according to Leo Velez, Japanese barbecue expert.
Japanese barbecue is as much about a meal among friends and family as firing tasty cuts of meat on the grill. Just don’t get too caught up in the moment. If you turn away from the grill for 10 to 15 seconds, it may be too late, Velez says. Tiny, thin slices burn quickly, so use the cook-as-you-eat strategy. Can’t bear the thought of being tied to the grilling post? Yakiniku easily transfers to small, portable electric cookers.
JAPANESE STRATEGY: Swap Beer for Authentic Shochu
Shochu, a rice alcohol, is the perfect compliment to Yakiniku. It’s usually mixed with grapefruit juice and varies in strength, potency, and taste. Recipes alter the flavor so one may taste like scotch whiskey while another is more like vodka. We played it safe with this schochu cocktail recipe, but feel free to stay true to Yakiniku tradition and experiment.
2 ounces any bran Shochu
1 ounce like juice
Soda water to taste
1. Pour limejuice and schochu over ice. Stir in soda water until the drink meets your liking.
Aussie barbecue is defined by one phrase—“slip a shrimp on the barbie.” But there’s a reason this saying was made famous by a 1980s Australian TV commercial: Seafood such as prawns, fish, and shellfish are the region’s most popular grilling ingredients.
The truly unique thing about barbecue from the land down under is that it’s actually not one-of-a-kind at all. Typical barbies mix Asian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern flavors. Sauces adopted from Thai tradition—chili, limejuice, and cilantro—are popular with shrimp. Morrocan rubs of ground cumin, paprika, and cayenne season steak. And Japanese soy, ginger, and honey sauce often cover fish.
Outback natives came up with a few things on their own like mango and lime mayonnaise on barbecued shrimp. And no other region wraps fish in bark from the Paperbark Eucalyptus tree before grilling.
There’s an authentic social aspect involved in Australian barbecues. They’re the primary occasion for male bonding, says Syrie Wongkaew, author of Taste Buds blog and Australian Cuisine Expert on About.com.
AUSTRALIAN STRATEGY: Medium-Rare to a T
Guarantee a mouth-watering steak every time with this fool-proof Aussie cooking technique.
1. Choose a thick cut of meat so it easily caramelizes on each side
2. Cook steak at room temperature so that it cooks evenly
3. Brush steaks with oil just before cooking
4. Start with a really hot grill to sear the meat. You can turn the grill down slightly once the steak is cooking.
5. Turn steaks only ONCE otherwise it won’t seal properly.
6. Rest meat under foil for 10 minutes before serving – this allows the juices to settle
You won’t find a gas grill within a mile of Greek barbecue. The region’s grilling (like the people) is based on purist principles; so wood chips and charcoal are the only acceptable fuels.
Purity is the theme for ingredients as well. Local seafood, farm-raised poultry and pork, and fresh, organic vegetables are staples at the table.
Season authentic Keftedes (burgers) with lemon juice, salt, pepper, and dry Greek oregano. It’s more pungent than regular oregano. Or mix up another simple sauce like latholemono, an oil lemon sauce with salt, pepper, and herbs. Greeks prefer their barbecue simple and dry. The perfect finishing touch is just a squeeze of lemon juice,â€ says Peter Minaki, author of the blog Kalofagas: Greek Food and Beyond.
GREEK STRATEGY: Cure Anything with Avgolemono Soup
Change up the traditional chicken noodle remedy with this Greek version.
4 cups basic chicken stock
6 tablespoons (90 g) long-grain white rice
8 egg yolks
1/4 cup (65 ml) fresh lemon juice
coarse salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil.
2. Stir in the rice and cook until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
3. While you wait, beat the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a large bowl.
4. When the rice is tender, slowly ladle half of the hot broth into the yolks, whisking constantly.
5. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the broth and place over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, just long enough to thicken the soup. Do not boil.
6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.