International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Barbecuing: Method and Recipes

Barbecue parilla in Montevideo, Uruguay

Image by John Walker

Nothing beats the deep, rich flavor of good barbecue. In barbecuing, cuts of meat are slow-cooked over indirect heat, distinguishing it from grilling, which is quick cooking over a hot fire. By cooking the meat slowly, sometimes for hours, over wood, charcoal or gas flame, even tougher cuts are rendered meltingly tender and become infused with the deep, rich, smoky flavor of the fire.

Barbecue meat is often seasoned further with one or more of a variety of rubs, spice blends, sauces or mops before it is served up to happy mouths.

The word "barbecue" is believed to have come from the language of the Arawak tribe of the Caribbean. Their word barabicu described a wooden framework for roasting meats. Invading Spaniards took up this method of cooking and called it barbacoa.

Barbecuing is a popular way to cook meats and poultry in several parts of the world. It has a deep history in the Southern and Midwestern regions of the United States. Regional variations can be quite substantial, especially in the types of seasonings, sauces and mops applied to the meat.

Australians love a good barbecue too, but they call it barby down under. South Africans fire up the braai. Brazilians call their barbecue churrasco. Argentinians have elevated the asado into an art form.

Asian-style barbecue can indicate slow-roasting, as with Chinese char siu, or it can mean thinly sliced meat and seafood, often highly seasoned, that is quick-cooked on a hot grill or on a searing hotplate. Examples are Japan's yakitori and Korean bulgogi.

Pork is particularly popular for barbecue in the United States, but beef holds equal billing in Kansas and Texas. Goat, lamb and organ meats often find their way onto barbacoa, churrasco and asado grills. And no South African braai would be complete without a slightly charred, meaty spiral of boerewors.

International Barbecue Recipes


South African boerewors on the grill

(South African homemade farmer's sausage)


Sosaties lamb and apricot skewers

(South African curry-marinated lamb and apricot kebabs)


Yakitori (Japanese grilled chicken skewers)

(Japanese grilled chicken skewers)

Cochinita Pibil

A plate of cochinita pibil

(Mexican citrus-marinated pork slow-roasted in banana leaves)


Mechoui slow-roasted lamb on a spit

(North African spit-roasted lamb)