How to Make Your Next Barbecue a Success

How to Make Your Next Barbecue a Success

Sunny days and warm evenings mean only one thing for many an apron-clad barbecue lover — it’s time to belly up to the grill. Perhaps one of our most-cherished seasonal traditions, barbecues give people the opportunity to get together while simultaneously enjoying the outdoors and some good eats. Many of the standard features of a typical barbecue can’t be replaced. Sure, you’ll always want to have things like burgers and mustard and maybe even a few beers. But this could be the year your traditional barbecue goes to the next level. “There are many different foods people grill around the world, from meat and fish to vegetables and fruits and even things like bread and coffee beans. It’s easy to get creative with different foods and grilling techniques,” says best-selling, award-winning barbecue author and television host Steven Raichlen, whose new book, “Planet Barbecue!” offers 309 recipes from 60 different countries on six different continents. Try International Flavors While barbecuing is considered one of America’s favorite pastimes, grilling meats is an activity enjoyed the world over. Taking a look at some exotic, foreign barbecue dishes can add an international flavor to your get-together. By offering Serbian bacon-grilled prunes or Brazilian gaucho-style ribs or Thai grilled bananas, your next barbecue could broaden people’s culinary horizons. “When it comes to barbecue, the Japanese are at least as grill crazy as we North Americans are,” says Raichlen, “Travel the world’s barbecue trail and you’ll find every imaginable cut of grilled beef, from sesame-grilled short ribs in Seoul to ham- and mushroom-stuffed cheese steaks in Split, Croatia.” Rethink the Grill If you want to be really creative with your next backyard get-together, there are innovative ways to cook food with or without the grill. Some require more safety precautions than others, but they’re interesting ways to make your next barbecue truly memorable. The traditional barbecue is great, but building your own barbecue pit for grilling can provide an innovative change of pace while creating a unique central meeting-point for guests. Other cultures offer even more exotic alternatives to the grill. The Charantes region of France uses pine needles in their grilling, while Bogota’s Lomo al Trapo literally means “beef tenderloin in cloth.” “A technique used by generations of Australians in the bush involves grilling meats on a shovel over an open camp fire,” notes Raichlen, who outlines some more of these innovative techniques in his new book. To learn about different grilling techniques and recipes, read “Planet Barbecue” or visit www.barbecuebible.com. Generally speaking, you can’t go wrong with burgers and dogs. But if you want to make your barbecue truly sizzle, there are many options worth exploring.