Originally posted by Russ Ito on Salon Piquant Re-blogged with permission of Ross Ito >
The best thing about The Food Network in the summer is that you only have to watch 10 minutes of any show, and you’ll know what 95% of the programming that night will be: BBQ. The mind-numbing monotony of these shows is astonishing: Hour after hour devoted to this pit versus that smoker. After a few minutes, it’s all a blur of: rubs, rings, and burnt ends; of mops, barks, and slaws. And geographically, it’s as if The Food Network doesn’t know that the Louisiana Purchase happened: The coverage is stuck in the South-east and Deep South, as if no one west of the Mississippi ever cooks meat over fire.
As someone who grew up in a Japanese household, I’ve never been a big fan of “traditional,” American BBQ, finding it far too dense and cloying. I much prefer the lighter styles of BBQ from Asian cuisines, including: Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian. All of these cultures are part of American society – and make great BBQ, but they never appear in TFN’s summer programming. Perhaps TFN thinks they’re too exotic to appeal to their audience, or maybe it’s more ideological. .
The imu — the original “pit BBQ.” How about it TFN?
The Taliban wing of the BBQ cult would, no doubt, sniff that the Asian approach is: “not true BBQ.” To them, BBQ means: “low and slow,” long cooking over low heat. By their reckoning, most Asian “BBQs” are just “grilling,” i.e., fast cooking over high heat. OK, fair enough, but even if you accept that, the Polynesians were slow-roasting whole pigs in hand-dug pits for centuries (maybe millennia) before anyone started warming up a pit in Kansas City or Charlotte. So why don’t you ever see that on TFN?
And does it really matter? Isn’t it just rhetorical? Every culture has its own way to cook meats over fire, whether that’s in an imu, on a grill in a hibachi, or on a skewer in a tandoor – and all of these are part of American cooking! Jacques Pépin often talks about the diversity of American food choices as something that still excites him about food here versus in his native France: “One day you can have Turkish, the next Vietnamese, the next Italian, the next… Ethiopian! It’s great!” BBQ/grilling isn’t the mono-culture TFN would have you believe; it’s as diverse as American culture itself. It’s time TFN woke up!
So come on, TFN, break out of your comfort zone, and mix it up! There’s a lot of great BBQ happening west of the Mississippi, and guess what? Those states are all part of the union, too! Asian flavors are part of the American palate, so include them!
Of course, TFN isn’t going to listen to my ravings. They’ll pack this summer’s schedule with hour after hour of rubs and mops, and familiar arguments over briskets versus pork shoulders. I’ll watch ten minutes, and know I’m not missing anything. And besides, I’ll be spending most of July watching the Tour de France, anyway!
. . ” What Is A Real BBQ ? ” Part 2 .. But is it BBQ ? Call it spit roasting, call it grilling, call it BBQ
At this point I just want to share with you these mouth watering traditions from Germany and other places where food, beverage and good times are taken more serious then the label given to the cooking method. So just lighten up for a moment and enjoy.
WHOLE spit roast Oxen and Hog !
Germany, where else :-)
these days’ the word BBQ means different things to different people.
I have lately come to the conclusion that to the majority of folk’s BBQ describes a social gathering of one or more people, the main purpose is to cook out in the open, enjoy the weather, food and company. (Even BBQ restaurant’s used to cook their food outside).
Since each region, restaurant, family and grill cook swears that their version (smoking, grilling, open fire, covered grill, etc) is the gospel, describing BBQ as a cooking method seems rather futile to me .
However, I had many a chef getting his / her knickers in a twist discussing what BBQ actually and REALLY means, so I just accept whatever is the explanation of the day.
( Even the origin of the word Barbecue seems to have different proponents ).
If I take my classical french training into consideration, you have the cooking methods :
Grilling (never covered), Smoking (always covered) Jerking ( a combination cooking metod, since we grill, smoke and steam at the same time) and “the way of Life BBQ”, where we use any cooking method traditionally employed in our area and / or backyard, invite a bunch of friend’s and family over and have smoked, grilled, jerked food, maybe a barrel of beer and lot’s of fun.
BBQ – happy cooking outside, whichever way, as long as you are having fun ! :-)
Please give us your opinion in the poll below.
Beef and Corn on a Charcoal BBQ grill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Some chicken, pork and corn in the barbeque (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: a typical offset bbq smoker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Image of a propane smoker in use. Diagrams the elements. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Preparing grill for grilling, grill with flames and cones. Česky: Příprava grilu pro grilování, gril s plameny a šiškami. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Chicken wings being cooked slowly over charcoal ashes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: “Little Chief” food smoker, popular in the Pacific Northwest for home smoking of fish and meat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pork steaks cooking over a charcoal fire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: A barbecue on a trailer at a block party in Kansas City. Pans on the top shelf hold hamburgers and hot dogs that were grilled earlier when the coals were hot. The lower grill is now being used to slowly cook pork ribs and “drunken chicken”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Can’t claim credit for this cooking, my friend Paul was responsible. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is a traditional asado. The picture shows ribs grilled in the traditional Argentinean way. The meat is on top of the grill and the charcoal or wood at low fire under the grill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Deutsch: Bratwürste auf einem Grill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Español: Cocinando carne para hamburguesa al grill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Barbecue (Photo credit: Johann Richard)
The smoking setup – left (Photo credit: ntang)
Pork ribs being smoked (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cooks remove racks of herring from a traditional smokehouse (Heringsräucherei) (Photo credit: drakegoodman)