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A Primer on BBQ from Around the World

by Sara Lepley
Man fires up the grill

The Fourth of July is the number one grilling holiday of the year, a tradition 87 percent of Americans plan on honoring according to CNN

Given this is a country of immigrants and a multitude of diverse foods, we were curious what all those picnic tables looked like. 

What followed: A barbecue guide that would make any mouth water. Enjoy… and dig in! 

Up First: Yakitori, Japanese soul food. 

Yakitori, a skewered meat

Dish: Yakitori 

Origin: Japan 

The deets: Skewered pieces of chicken cooked over charcoal with tare, a sweet glaze made of soy sauce and mirin. 

Finger food? Go for it! You can eat these right off the stick or, if you’d prefer, with chopsticks. 

Pairs well with: Sake or wine.

Say: “いただきます” or “let’s eat” in Japanese.

In the mood for something seriously hearty? Try barbacoa. 

A dish of Barbacoa with lime

Dish: Barbacoa 

Origin: Mexico by way of the Caribbean 

The deets: As the origin word of barbeque, barbacoa is a contemporary Mexican dish that traces its roots to the Caribbean. It involves slow cooking meats such as goat or sheep over an open fire, possibly in a hole covered with maguey leaves. High fat content and strong flavor make this a decadent Fourth of July option. 

Finger food? Yes, but wrap it in a warm tortilla first. 

Pairs well with: Try this with Paloma, a tequila-based drink with grapefruit soda or juice. S

Say: “Más, por favor” or “More, please!” in Spanish.

For a burst of flavor, indulge in some tandoori with naan. 

A dish of Tandoori

Dish: Tandoori 

Origin: India

The deets: Unlike the “slow and low” technique of barbacoa, this dish is cooked skewered at extremely high temperatures. Cooks will marinate the meat in yogurt, herbs and spices such as ginger, garlic and garam masala. 

Finger good? You may want to opt for a fork and knife, unless you’re using bread to scoop it up. 

Pairs well with: A Saison, which cuts through the fattiness of the meat while offering a fruit flavor.

Need barbecue now, not later? Bulgogi is ready in minutes. 

Bulgogi served over rice

Dish: Bulgogi 

Origin: Korea 

The deets: For this style of barbeque, the beef is sliced into extremely thin strips so the sweet and savory marinade of pear juice, soy sauce and sugar can go into action within minutes, rather than hours. Bulgogi can take many forms (we recommend trying them all.)

Finger food? This is more of a chopsticks situation. 

Pairs well with: A simple wine that won’t overshadow the flavorful meat.

Say: “잘 먹겠습니다”  or “I will enjoy this food” in Korean

If you’ve really (really) worked up an appetite, might we recommend Churrasco. 

Churrasco ready to eat

Dish: Churrasco 

Origin: Brazil 

The deets: We have Gauchos, the Brazilian equivalent of cowboys, to thank for this meal. Churrasco is often cooked in long skewers with the fattiest part of the meat on top so its juices will drop down and flavor the other parts of the meat. It’s then sliced and served right off the knife. Expect meat to keep coming round until you share in your best Portuguese, no really, you are very full. 

Finger food? Opt for a fork and knife.  

Pairs well with: Caipirinha, the Brazilian national cocktail.

Firing up the grill this 4th of July? If you end up sampling anything from this post, let us know @RosettaStone on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Say: “Saúde!” or “Cheers” in Portuguese.

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