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Grilling Around the World International Cookout Techniques

Aug 08, 2013 02:05AM ● Published by Erin Frisch

We all love a good American barbecue; perhaps it’s a classic hamburger topped with melted cheese or a Southern barbecue pit dishing out smoky pulled pork and baby back ribs. But have you ever considered that other nations grill just as well as we do? Just as in the US, grilling techniques vary by region in each of these countries. Here are some of the best.

Spain: Since Spanish food is fresh on my mind (and, yes, my taste buds), let’s begin with gambas a la plancha, or grilled shrimp. This dish is fun to eat and popular along the Mediterranean Coast, where fresh seafood is plentiful. While Spain is a country known for its passion and its spice, this recipe is surprisingly simple. There are four ingredients, three of which you may already have in your kitchen: sea salt, olive oil, and lemon juice. All you need are the freshest shrimp you can find, heads still on. After you have rinsed the shrimp, brush them generously with olive oil and squirt them with lemon juice. Grill the shrimp just until the tips of the shells start to char, and then flip them. Don’t overcook them, as they’ll dry out. Remove them from the grill, squirt them again with lemon juice, and sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy peeling and eating these Spanish tapas with your friends. They’re a true Mediterranean feast.

Bahamas: You can have a tropical vacation right in your backyard—it’s easier (and healthier) than you think! Much of authentic Bahamian food is characterized by one signature method of cooking—steaming. All you need is some tinfoil, and you can create your own adaptation of this recipe using whatever seafood and vegetables you have in your kitchen. Fold over a generous piece of foil and round it so that it forms a boat shape. Into the boat go sliced peppers and onions, peeled and quartered plantains (a tropical relative of the banana), and a medley of seafood. You can use shrimp, scallops, fish, conch, or all of the above. Top it all off with a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of Tabasco, and a generous squirt of freshly squeezed lime juice, and then throw the squeezed lime wedges in, too. Grind some pepper and sea salt over the top, and then seal up your foil boat and fold over the top and edges. Place the boats on your hot grill or over a charcoal pit fire. The vegetables, plantains, and seafood will steam in each other’s juices and will all soak up the lime. After 10 to 15 minutes, remove the boats carefully and present a plated boat to each guest. Serve with island beans and rice, and plenty of Tabasco. And don’t forget the mojitos!

Korea: Perhaps the most in-trend barbecue style this summer is Korean barbecue, with its trademark toppings. Bulgogi is the most popular Korean barbecue dish. It consists of thin slices of beef marinated in a simple mixture of soy sauce, garlic, and sugar (fans of teriyaki sauce will love this). The meat is then typically grilled on a tableside gridiron placed over a brazier. The resulting dish is sweet and juicy, and even better when accompanied by acidic kimchi (fermented cabbage). In fact, no bulgogi meal would be complete without at least 10 small bowls of add-ons. Offer bean sprouts, steamed broccoli, sriracha sauce, pickled radishes, chives, and more! If you are craving some greens, you can try another Korean barbecue serving style, which is to serve the seared bulgogi in lettuce wraps. You can add rice and chili sauce to your wraps for an authentic meal. Korean barbecue is all about the presentation.

Jamaica: Here’s where the spices come into play—Jamaican Jerk Chicken. This dish is easy enough; all the work is in the prep. Unlike many barbecued chicken recipes, jerk chicken is rubbed or coated with spices instead of being marinated with sauce. To make your jerk seasoning, combine the following in a small bowl: 1 tsp each garlic powder, paprika, and nutmeg; 2 tsp each pepper, sea salt, cinnamon, and onion powder; 1 Tbsp each allspice, ginger, and ground rosemary; 2 Tbsp each thyme and ground habanero pepper; about 10 powdered bay leaves 2 tbs; and ¼ cup brown sugar. Set the seasoning aside. Now rub about three pounds of chicken, including legs, thighs, wings, and breasts, with a mixture of lime juice, olive oil, and a splash of dark rum. Once the meat is well coated, cover each piece generously with the jerk-seasoning blend. Use as much of the seasoning as will stick to the meat. Refrigerate until ready to cook, and then grill until the chicken is cooked through and the skins have started to blacken and crisp. In the meantime, brush some fresh pineapple with olive oil and add to the grill. Serve the chicken and pineapple together for a taste of the tropics.

What grilling techniques have you discovered on your travels abroad?

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