As anyone who’s stood out in the back garden happily burning delicious meaty treats to an inedible crisp appreciates, there’s something wonderfully primal about a barbecue. Practised for centuries before us by or predecessors, roasting racks of ribs and buckets of beef on an open fire is a prospect that can turn the most ardent anti-cook into a culinary convert.
In short, barbecuing is in our soul.
Given our natural love of the grill, it’s unsurprising that some nations have dedicated themselves to taking barbecue based cookery to whole new heights. For these countries, cooking over an open flame is less a technique and more a religious rite. In no particular order, here are seven nations that boast some extraordinary barbecue credentials.
The southern United States lay a serious claim to being the spiritual home of world barbecue. From the Carolinas to Texas, what separates the US from the rest is their slow and low approach. By gently cooking meats over a long period of time, American barbecuers create perfectly seasoned cuts that flake away from bone and melt in the mouth. Whether working with brisket, ribs or shoulder, American barbecue packs a patiently prepared punch.
As one of the world’s prime producers of high quality beef, it’s unsurprising that Argentina are masters of meat cookery. Typically advocates of offal as well as more stellar cuts, Argentinian asados are a cause for communal celebration. Friends and family gather round huge smoking grills to enjoy slow roasted sausages and steaks that have been brushed in a salty salmuera brine to brings out the ingredients’ natural juiciness. Meat is typically served with a selection of spicier sauces, such as chimichurri, giving this barbecue some extra bite.
Brazil shares its South American neighbours’ love of beef. However, their style has probably pipped their rivals to securing a greater global fan base. Churrascos are all about quantity. All over the world, churrascarias are famed for skewering mountains of meat, roasting over a high heat and carving great quantities onto diners plates until it’s impossible to eat any more. For anyone feeling extra peckish, this is the only barbecue that will do.
There’s a reason that Australians are best known for whacking shrimp on barbies. An Aussie barbecue may be more of a mish-mash affair than many others, but this doesn’t make it any less delicious. Contents can vary according to location, but regulars usually include chicken wings, rissoles and lamb chops, as well as the aforementioned shrimp. For a barbecue built to cater for every taste, it’s difficult to beat Australia.
5. South Africa
South Africa may be the most meat-mad nation on earth. Their tribute to protein is the world famous braai, a barbecue that is as much about tradition as it is about food. Braai’s are truly monumental, featuring wild game as well as domestic cuts. Ostrich and springbok are stacked alongside beef and pork in a barbecue that delivers tastes from across the animal kingdom.
6. South Korea
Korean barbecue is perhaps one of Asia’s best known culinary exports. Classic traditional dishes have captured the world’s imagination and can now be found in restaurants all over the world. From famous beef bulgogi to more niche pork samgyeopsal, Korean barbecue delivers a smokey taste of the east in an incomparable way.
At the heart of any Turkish community anywhere in the world is an irrepressible love of the grill. A trip to the streets of Northeast London to see roads lined with mangal restaurants is all you need to tell you how beloved this barbecue has become. Lamb, chicken and seafood kebabs of every sort are served with handfuls of fresh flatbread and side plates of delicious mezze in a cuisine that is as comforting as it is tasty.
Wherever you are, it’s likely that your nation will have at least one utterly delicious barbecuing tradition. However, if you want to sample the best of the best, we recommend that you buy a ticket to one of these seven nations as quickly as possible. For anyone who love their meat, these countries and their barbecues need to be high on the bucket list.