Grilling: It’s Not Just For American Backyards

Chance are at least some of you bachelors out there will be grilling this summer. Whether you have your own grill station at home or at a family cook-out, the lure of the open flame will suck you into doing some “Man’s” cooking.

Isn’t it funny how so many men are masters of the grill but get lost in their own kitchen?

If you think of grilling as a male rite of passage in America, you are leaving out a whole world of grills, all loaded with local meats and vegetables.

Grilling is probably one of the oldest forms of cooking. It involves applying dry heat to the surface of food. That heat can come from underneath, above or even both at the same time.

The method we’re most familiar with in the U. S. is Gridironing. This uses a metal grate laid out in a grid, such as the typical barbecue grate. Another common grill is the flattop. We most associate this type with fast food and diners. Japanese chefs use something similar, a teppanyaki. The Japanese also use the ancient hibachi grill, a metal box containing hot charcoal under a metal grate. Most often you will find these grills on carts selling hot meat on a stick, called yakitori, similar to the Persian kebob.

Speaking of kebabs, in Thailand and Indonesia, meat is also grilled on a stick. For this, the Thai and Indonesians regularly use a satay grill, which, with its metal rods or checkered-metal top, resembles the yakitori style. In Thailand, you can also find a small tabletop charcoal cooker used to make thinly sliced meat and vegetables, a tool that also gets used to make the famous Korean barbecue.

Argentina and Uruguay are also known for barbecue. Called asado, both for the event and the technique, this style uses an iron cross to cook whole animals. In India they do a lot of grilling, and commonly use a brick oven shaped like a cube called a chula. This device has a hole cut in the front so you can feed the fire. They also use the tandoor, a typically large ceramic pot that gets buried in the ground up to its neck. Unlike many types of grills, the food in this one is cooked inside the device using hot coals, though some people do place a grate over the top for surface grilling.

One of the best things about barbecue and grilling is that you can do it anywhere and with various tools no matter where you live. The basic principles are the same: fire, heat, meat and time.

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