A photographic ode to grilled meat around the world

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GRILLED MEAT. “What is there to it? It’s as simple as it gets, right?” Wrong.

While seemingly basic due to the small number of ingredients involved, grilling throws one pesky, hard-to-control, constantly changing variable in the way of the poor soul in front of the grill: temperature. Enthusiasts will harp on about how grilling is an art form — if you’ve ever been at the helm of a charcoal grill with smoke billowing into your eyes as you burned your guests’ hot dogs, or found yourself meekly walking back to the grill after serving undercooked chicken thighs, you’re likely to agree.

Each region of the world has its own version of grilling. Proteins can be the same from region to region or vary in the extreme. Ever tried grilled snake? Squirrel? Preparation is also different — much of the flavor comes from the seasonings added (or lack thereof). Lastly, the style of grilling and heating source can vary greatly from country to country. Some dishes are meant to be cooked for hours, while others hit the grill fast and hot, coming off with equal speed. The typical end result? Meat that tastes pretty damn good.

Check out these 15 mouthwatering grilled meats around the world that contain just two main ingredients — a heating source and a protein. Vegetarians, look away.


Bodog (Mongolia)

Not your typical grilling method, bodog involves breaking down a goat, stuffing the goat's carcass with meat and sizzling stones, and proceeding to blowtorch the outside of the carcass in order to remove the goat's hair and cook the meat simultaneously. Once the movie-like process is complete, dinner is served.


Boerewors (South Africa)

Popular in South Africa, boerewors is a sausage consisting of mostly beef, with lamb and / or pork often mixed in. In true South African style, the sausages are grilled on the braai accompanied by sosaties, chops, and kebabs. The dishes are most often seen at social gatherings, also referred to as braais.


Bulgogi (Korea)

Often considered the most popular part of gogigui (Korean barbecue), bulgogi is thinly sliced marinated beef cooked over a grill. The dish is often cooked in a pan as well. It's served surrounded by numerous banchan, or side dishes.


Carne asada (Mexico)

Meaning simply “grilled meat” in Spanish, carne asada is typically marinated beef (skirt, flank, or flap) cooked at a high temperature over a charcoal grill in order to sear the meat (imparting much of its flavor). The meat is typically served with grilled onions, guacamole, pico de gallo, tortillas, and beans.


Char siu (Hong Kong)

Often seen in Hong Kong's siu mei shops, complete with assorted meats hanging from hooks in the window, char siu is a Cantonese roast pork—the dish is usually purchased and brought home to be served as part of a family meal. When dining in, it's most often served with a bowl of rice.


Churrasco (Brazil)

While not referring to any meat in particular, the Brazilian churrasco (barbecue) contains a smorgasbord of grilled foods, ranging from picanha (rump cap) to chicken hearts. The meat is heavily salted and grilled over glowing embers.


Cordero patagónico asado (Argentina)

Cordero patagónico, or Patagonian lamb, is a staple in southern Argentina. Butterflied and roasted upright against an open flame, the protein is said to have a unique flavor in comparison to most lamb due to the unique herb diet of the animal.


Jerk chicken (Jamaica)

Known for being mouth-numbingly spicy, jerk chicken is a native Jamaican grilling staple. The heat in the chicken comes thanks to Scotch bonnet peppers, similar in heat to the habanero. Pit fires were originally used, but the typical method nowadays includes cooking the meat over hardwood in a steel drum.


Lechón (Phillipines)

Served in countries from Cuba to the Phillipines, lechón is prepared by skewering an entire pig on a large spit and cooking the meat over a pit of hot charcoal. The spit is rotated rotisserie-style for hours until the pig is ready to eat, skin crispy.


Ping pa (Laos)

Ping means “grilled” in Lao. Ping gai is grilled chicken. Ping sin is grilled meat. This example is ping pa—grilled fish. The protein is typically laden with garlic, salt (and/or soy sauce), fish sauce, and minced galangal and coriander root. Typically considered “overcooked” to a Western palate, the people of Laos prefer it in this manner due to its ease of eating (allowing for the handling of sticky rice). It's often served with a hot sauce to reduce the dryness.


Satay (Thailand)

Found in nearly every country in Southeast Asia, satay (often spelled "sate") is a skewered and seasoned meat. Considering the protein can be chicken, pork, fish, mutton, goat, and more, it's safe to say this is a blanket term. Satay is often served with a sauce, typically peanut.


Shashlik (Russia)

Rather popular in Eastern Europe, shashlik is yet another form of skewered meat. Originally made of lamb, it can also be done with pork or beef, depending on the region and religious observances. The skewers are either composed of all meat or meat, fat, and vegetables as seen in typical shish kebabs.


Shish taouk (Lebanon)

Served as part of the Lebanese mezze alongside tabbouleh, kofta, and about 30 other dishes, shish taouk is seasoned, skewered chicken cooked over a grill. The dish is typically washed down with an anise-flavored alcoholic drink called arak.


Porterhouse steak (USA)

While smoked pork shoulder and brisket remain ever popular in the barbecue sector, the porterhouse is a mainstay in American grilling. The steak provides the best of both worlds—on one side of the bone sits the New York strip, while the other side contains part of the tenderloin (more popularly known as filet mignon).


Yakitori (Japan)

Served all over Japan, yakitori is grilled chicken. Cooked on skewers over a flaming-hot grill, the chicken is either salted or coated with tare sauce. It's not as simple as it sounds—diners usually have choices including thigh, meatballs, crispy skin, tail, intestine, cartilage, heart, liver, gizzards, and much more.

This post was originally published on June 20, 2014.

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