Where To Find The Best Barbecue Around The World

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Searching out the best barbecue styles around the world can be an exciting quest. Barbecue varies greatly from country to country. Dry rubs, sauces, and meats used are influenced by culture and what spices and flavorings are available. You may be surprised to find out where around the world you can get a great barbecue meal.

British Isles Barbecue

The style of barbecue in the England and the UK is influenced by the traditional heritage of English, Scottish, and Welsh cuisines. British barbecue is also influenced by its multiethnic minority communities, and drawing on the traditions of European, Scandinavian, and Mediterranean cuisines. Barbecue sauces may contain Juniper berries as a base ingredient. Overall, British barbecue is similar to a mix of American, Australian, German, Scandinavian, and Mediterranean styles.

The common meats for barbecue in the British Isles are: chicken, beef steaks and ribs, hamburgers, pork ribs, pork fillets and patties, shish kebabs, and sometimes seafood such as fish, prawns, and lobster.

Where to go to sample various British barbecue styles: Barbecoa in London belongs to chef Jamie Oliver. It showcases the cuisine of American chef Adam Perry Lang. Other choices include Bodean’s (also in London), and World’s End Pub in Brighton, England with a long barbecue menu and a legendary smoke pit.


Caribbean Barbecue

Jerk Chicken is the most popular style of barbecue on the island of Jamaica. For those unfamiliar with jerk spice, it’s a dry rub of allspice, Scotch bonnet peppers (very hot!), cloves, cinnamon, scallions, nutmeg, thyme, garlic, and salt. Jamaican barbecue can either be dry-rubbed or wet marinated. Most restaurant menus will include chicken, pork, fish, shrimp, shellfish, beef, sausage, lamb, and tofu.

Where to find Jamaican barbecue styles: Scotchies Restaurant where the décor is casual (or primitive) depending on your definition. This is a great restaurant to sample jerk chicken, beef and pork. Go light on the jerk sauce until you find your heat tolerance level.

The Bahamas style of barbecue is completely different from Jamaica. Bahamian barbecue gets its influences from the British Isles, Pacific Islanders, America and Australian barbecue. Think of it as the British Empire repurposed.

Where to find Bahamian barbecue: Bahama John’s Seafood-N-Rib Shack on Grand Bahama Island ranked #1 in reviews, Chat ‘N’ Chill, in Great Exuma has a good beach atmosphere, and the Green Parrot Bar & Grill, (Nassau) has great barbecue and seafood.

China Dongbei Barbecue

The Dongbei province is located in the extreme northeast corner of China and bordered by Russia, Mongolia, and Korea. To heat things up, the people in this area have created their own culinary style of barbecue. In the Dongbei style, a variety of meats are standard fare: chicken, pork, duck, and lamb served with fresh vegetables like cabbage and mushrooms. The meats are usually served in a spicy-vinegar (hot as hell) sauce or a milder creamy peanut sauce. Dongbei barbecue can be cooked on a grill or on small gas cookers in the center of a table. Dongbei barbecue itself is a cuisine of contrasts; sweet, spicy, hot, and cold. Much like the annual climate in Dongbei itself. Once tasted you’ll keep coming back for more.

Where to go to sample Dongbei barbecue: in Shanghai is Dongbei BBQ near the Qinghai Lu Metro Line 2 Xi Lu Station. With an authentic “old China” interior, it serves skewer meat ready for grilling paired with Korean side dishes. The menus have plenty of pictures and English notations.

Korean Barbecue

Korean barbecue has emerged as one of the most popular styles of barbecue around the world. Most major cities will typically have several excellent Korean barbecue restaurants. The most common Korean barbecue is called galbi or marinated ribs. Another option is Bulgogi, or fire meat, which is traditionally prepared as thinly sliced beef marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and chili pepper cooked on a grill at the table. Pork or chicken can be offered as well. The barbecue main course is most often served with rice and Kinchi as side dishes.

Where to find Korean barbecue: Chosun Galbee in Los Angeles is a tasty barbecue stop and a favorite of the Korean community, featuring indoor and outdoor seating with tabletop grills. In New York, stop by Hahm Ji Bach for the best Korean BBQ outside Seoul. Aurora, Colorado has Seoul Korean BBQ, winner of the 2011 Best Korean Restaurant Award, with both Korean and Japanese BBQ dishes.

Hawaiian Barbecue

The style of Hawaiian barbecue is called Kaiua, which uses an underground oven. This is a necessity for traditional Kalua pig or kalua turkey served at Luau feasts. Pigs are cooked six or seven hours absorbing the smoke and steam from banana leaves. Restaurants will sometimes use a gas or electric stove with artificial mesquite or kiawa wood liquid smoke to serve the unwary tourist. Insist on the authentic Kalua Pork.

Where to go for Hawaiian style barbecue: on the Big Island of Hawaii there’s Big Jake’s Big Island BBQ in Honaunau with Keawe smoked BBQ, or Uncle Bob’s Smoked BBQ for pork spareribs and beef or chicken satay. Mainlanders can try the Bamboo Grove Hawaiian Grille in Portland, OR, or world famous Roy’s Restaurant with locations in California, Florida, Arizona, Illinois, Nevada, Maryland and Texas for BBQ and Asian fusion delights.

Mediterranean Barbecue

Olive oil is the main ingredient in Mediterranean barbecue since it is a key ingredient of most Mediterranean cooking. The most common barbecue offerings are chicken, beef, and lamb. Some barbecue items combine grilling with braising for additional variety. Many items will be topped with persillade, a sauce of parsley, garlic, herbs, oil, and vinegar. Also look for items marinated in citrus juices for additional variety.

Where to find Mediterranean barbecue: Tuscany Mediterranee Grill in Irvine, CA offers great selection of kebobs, lamb chops and New York rosemary steaks. Or, try Gypsy’s Mediterranean Grill in Long Beach, CA for an Eastern Mediterranean twist with grilled lamb and chicken kebobs and kubideh skewers.

Last Updated: August 1, 2012
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About Bill Washburn William "Bill" Washburn has a BA in advertising from the Art Center College of Design and has taught at the University of Southern California and Northrup University. Writing from a well-connected studio in the rural foothills of the west coast, he is a frequent speaker at local art associations and has published numerous articles discussing periods of art history and the fundamentals of drawing and painting. William is a master gardener who grows his own culinary herbs, organic heirloom vegetables and a variety of fruits. He writes frequently about his gardening experiences on his website Pioneer Dad. He is an accomplished advertising writer, fine art painter, and art director with more than 20 years' experience. 

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