Barbeque may be the most popular food in the world. A list of countries in which it is eaten looks a bit like the list of countries that are members of the United Nations. There are several regional varieties of barbeque in the United States, and each has devotees who will insist that their preferred type is the only true barbeque. However, a generally accepted definition for barbeque is “a whole animal carcass, or section thereof, roasted or broiled over an open fire or on a spit.”
Some Americans may believe that this kind of cooking originated in the old west as cowboys cooked over their campfires. However, this way of cooking can be traced back to the cavemen and the discovery of fire.
Some countries where barbeque is popular and some meats that are cooked in this way are surprising. France has the reputation of being the premiere country, or one of the premiere countries, for cooking and fine dining. Barbeque in France often involves cooking lamb. A roast leg of lamb cooked on a rotisserie-type grill over a fire pit is a favorite there. As might be expected, barbeque sauces in France often use wine as an ingredient. Dijon mustard is also a favorite seasoning.
Far from Europe, another land where barbeque is popular is Mongolia. The location, the climate, and the meats available make this kind of cooking very different from what is eaten in the west. Cattle, horses, camels, yaks, sheep and goats are all popular for barbequing. Sometimes wild animals, such as the black-tailed prairie dog, are eaten in this way.
Barbeque has been popular for centuries in Japan. It is called “yakiniku,” which means “grilled meat.” There, seafood is often the most popular choice for cooking in this fashion. Soy sauce and sake are popular basic ingredients for barbeque sauce. Korea and other far-east countries have their own slightly different versions of this popular dish.
Still another part of the world with its own versions of barbeque is what is called Oceania. This includes New Zealand, Australia and the many islands in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. There are subtle differences, but this article will focus on Australia and New Zealand. There, as much as anywhere in the world, barbeque is an integral part of culture. It is a lifestyle as much as it is a food. For example, Christmas comes in the middle of their summer. A very popular way to celebrate the holiday is with a trip to the beach for surfing, for swimming and, especially, for barbeque. Lamb is a popular choice for the meat, but prawns are especially popular. The barbeque sauces tend to include the same basic ingredients as those found in the United States.
Barbeque-style cooking has been a tradition for centuries in Sub-Saharan Africa. “Braai” is the word most often used to refer to this kind of food. In many locations, it is seen as the national pastime. In South Africa, curry is a popular addition to sauces. It gives what is described as a fiery flavor if more than a little is included. In Namibia, the average person cannot afford to purchase it, but wild game is a popular kind of barbeque. In Angola, barbeque is far and away the favorite meat of the majority of the population.
Seemingly, one thing that almost every country has in common is a love for barbequed meats. Perhaps a good hobby for a person would be to see how many varieties of all the types of barbeque in the world he can consume during his lifetime.