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Barbecue by country – a guide to culinary grilling appetites

Did you know that the world’s best-selling and largest chain of restaurants started out as a simple and rather humble downtown barbecue joint?

McDonald’s, which has 33,000 locations and a staggering 68 million customers worldwide, was once a humble hickory hamburger stand in California which managed to knock its competitors out the ballpark because it believed in the notion of production line principles.

But that wasn’t always the case. When it first opened in the mid 1940s the restaurant’s menu consisted of a variation of barbecued beef, ham and pork. Hamburgers came second place at that time, according to a report by US news station CNN.

It was only when brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald, the owners of the very first McDonald’s, closed their store for three months and returned with a new formula – fast, standardised food sold at high volume, that the chain started to become known as the successful outfit it is today. The idea of franchising didn’t do it any harm either.

The ingenious re-marketing ploy was in 1948 and didn’t include barbecuing because it took so long to prepare. Instead, barbecue cooking became known as a regional speciality instead.

So just what variations are there when it comes to barbecuing trends? We take a look here at how different countries consider barbecue and how they cook it:

 

Country-wide variations in barbecue cooking:

  • Looking at the United States, marinades differ considerably between different sections of the country. For instance vinegar-based sauces are more popular in the South East while tomato-based is a favourite in the Mid-West
  • In South Africa they’ve even changed the name barbecue to that of braai!
  • Many individuals are probably familiar with the form of barbecue in Hong Kong. It’s known as char siu and involves long narrow strips of pork dipped in a honey and soy sauce marinade then cooked in the open air.
  • In the French and Swiss Alps the tradition is to cook meat outdoors on a hot stone. This is known as pierade
  • As you would expect, the German’s love barbecue. In fact, this nation of sausage lovers can’t get enough of the activity and enjoy grilling with charcoal or gas
  • In Mexico they regularly partake of a Horno where carne asada (roasted meat) is usually on the menu. This involves lots of marinated beef rubbed in salt and pepper then grilled. Toritillas and bell peppers are usually served as a side dish
  • The traditional dish of Argentina as well as countries such as Brazil, Chile and Uraguay is cuts of meat cooked asado-style. This is on an open fire and with other meats alongside
  • In the Middle East the Shish Taoouq, made from beef and lamb, beef steaks, chicken, or non-pork sausages is a very popular dish. Barbecuing in this part of the willing is done on coal and in India the meat is often eaten with side dishes of pitta bread, tahini and hummus.

So how many of the above methods of barbecue have you tried and when it knuckles down it, which is your favourite? For a delicious flavour you can’t beat a gas barbecue.