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Barbecue inspiration from restaurants around the world

Whether you’re going the whole hog or sampling a few skewers, a local barbecued delicacy is a must when travelling. Here’s our pick of the world’s best flame-grilled dishes.

Published 25 Jun 2021, 15:27 BST, Updated 28 Jun 2021, 15:55 BST
The menu at Firedoor in Sydney, changes daily, but steak is the thing to order.

The menu at Firedoor in Sydney, changes daily, but steak is the thing to order.

Photograph by Nikki To

1. Firedoor, Sydney

What to order: speciality steak

There’s no gas or electricity in Lennox Hastie’s kitchen — just fire. Dishes are cooked over the embers of an assortment of different woods, each selected for the way it enhances flavour. Firedoor's menu changes daily, but steak is the thing to order, with options including a 150-day dry-aged fullblood Wagyu rump or 200-day dry-aged, highly marbled Black Market beef. Expect to pay around A$180 (£100).

2. Khwan, Berlin

What to order: freshly shucked wild wad oysters

At Khwan (Thai for ‘smoke’) in Berlin’s Friedrichshain neighbourhood, the bold flavours of Northern Thai and Isan cuisines are celebrated using age-old preservation and fermentation techniques and a wood fire pit. The freshly shucked wild giant oysters, hand-picked in the Dutch Wadden Sea, are cooked briefly and directly on hot coals and served with nam jim, a punchy Thai dipping sauce. Two oysters for €6 (£5.20).

Read more: Seven chefs harnessing the power of open flames

3. Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ, Charleston

What to order: Rod’s original whole hog pork plate

James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Rodney Scott specialises in a style known as whole-hog barbecue. The hogs are slow-cooked over hardwood charcoal for 12 hours before the meat is dressed with a spicy vinegar sauce and served pulled. An 8oz serving of pit-cooked whole hog, plus two sides, for $14.99 (£10.80).

Pork belly skewers at Paradise in Soho, London, put a contemporary spin on this traditional Sri Lankan dish. 

Photograph by Paradise

4. Paradise, London

What to order: Jaffna spiced native breed pork belly skewers

These skewers at Paradise are a contemporary take on a traditional Sri Lankan pork curry dish. The Lancashire-sourced pork is flavoured with a roasted blend of spices, including chilli and fenugreek, that, when grilled, creates a smoky, spicy aroma; it’s balanced by sweet treacle made from the sap of the kithul palm. £7.

5. Don Julio, Buenos Aires

What to order: mollejas (sweetbreads)

This traditional Argentine steakhouse (known as a ‘parrilla’) is famous for its grass-fed, house-aged steaks from cattle raised in the countryside just outside the city. Every part of the animal is celebrated here, however, and the menu lists several great offal dishes, too. If you pick just one starter, make it the crispy sweetbreads, served with a delicate sprinkling of salt. p

6. Steel Bender Brewyard, Albuquerque

What to order: los ranchos four-chilli burger

The ingredients packed into this award-winning green chilli cheeseburger at Steel bender Brewyard are all organic and/or locally sourced. Sandwiched into a bun from much-loved local bakery Pastian’s, the beef patty — with meat sourced from Navajo tribal lands — is accompanied by cheddar, tomatoes and rocket dressed in balsamic truffle and onion vinaigrette. There’s also a heap of chopped hatch green chile and a slick of mustard spiked with three more kinds of local chillies. Served with hand-cut fries for $16 (£11.50).

Read more: Four dishes to bring your barbecue to life this summer

7. Cote, New York

What to order: butcher’s feast

At Michelin-starred Cote, traditional Korean barbecue is blended with classic American steakhouse cuisine. The Butcher’s Feast menu comprises four cuts of USDA prime and American Wagyu beef, that are all cooked together at the table on a smokeless grill. The meat is accompanied by seasonal vegetables, salads, two stews and a luxurious savoury organic egg souffle. $54 (£38.80) per person.

8. The Little Chartroom on the Prom, Edinburgh

What to order: barbecued beef brisket bun 

This seaside shack, an outpost of Edinburgh bistro The Little Chartroom, lies three miles from the city centre, on the promenade of Portobello Beach. The menu comprises simple French-British-style dishes, the most popular being the Scottish beef brisket. Brined for five days, the meat is smoked on a ceramic charcoal barbecue and finished with a treacle glaze. It’s served in a brioche bun with pickled celery, green peppercorns and a kohlrabi and yoghurt slaw. £11. 

Published in Issue 12 (summer 2021) of National Geographic Traveller Food

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