BBQ Cooking Styles

There are many barbecue cooking styles around the world.

From a braai in South Africa to a barbie in Australia.

Overall a barbecue is many things, a grilling apparatus, a name for a meal, a style of cooking as well as the way it’s served.

A majority of barbecuing is done outside over wood, charcoal, or an electric grill. Some of the methods include smoking, grilling, and roasting.

These methods can be done over a long period of time at low temperatures or quickly over direct high heat.

Below are all the numerous regional variations for this cooking style, let’s explore all the different BBQ cooking styles.


Asado has two meanings, the event, which is the barbecue, and the cut of meat.

This term is typically used in South American countries You can also have an Asador which is the grill master.

The Asado could consist of pork, chicken, beef, chorizo or morcilla and it is cooked on a grill or an open fire. The meats are usually accompanied by salad and red wine. 


Barbacoa is a traditional way of preparing meat. The meat is most commonly sheep, beef, or goat and is cooked in an underground oven until succulent and tender. 

Barbacoa is typical of Mexico and can be found everywhere from market stalls, mom & pop restaurants, party halls, community celebrations as well as grand celebrations like weddings.

Despite it looking unassuming, barbacoa is considered a delicacy among Mexicans

Char siu

Char siu is a popular way to flavor and makes barbecued pork in Cantonese cooking.

Char siu translates as fork roasted as that was the traditional way of cooking it.

To make char siu, pork is marinated in a combination of the following; honey, five-spice, soy sauce red fermented bean curd, hoisin sauce, and sometimes red food coloring, after the meat is marinated is it then roasted.

The seasoning is used to give the meat a dark red color. 


Churrasco is a Portuguese or Spanish term for grilled meat however it can be used for any grilled meat. It is the commonly used term in Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil. 

A churrascaria is a restaurant or steakhouse that serves all-you-can-eat grilled meat.

The staff moves around the restaurant slicing meat onto customers’ plates. This style of service is called espeto corrido or rodizio.

The discovery of the churrasco is attributed to the native groups that settled on the coast of Central and South America.

Indirect Grilling

Indirect grilling is a cooking technique that is used when barbecuing. It is more similar to baking than direct grilling.

The heat source is built off to the side and the food is placed on the unheated side, a lid is usually used so that convection and radiant heat will cook the food. As the food isn’t exposed to direct heat, the cook is more even and slow.

It is a good technique for cooking larger cuts such as whole chicken, pork shoulders, or brisket.

A temperature of around 270 – 350 °F is used for indirect grilling. This method also makes it easier to introduce smoke for flavoring.

Korean Barbecue

Korean barbecue is a popular method of grilling food amongst a group.

Friends and family can come together and grill meats and veggies on gas or charcoal grills that are built into the dining table itself. Guests cook their food and then they usually and roll it up with lettuce or radishes and dip them in an array of sauces, and also eat them with savory sides like kimchi or pickled vegetables.

There are four popular types of meat used in Korean BBQ. Bulgogi is a very thin slice of marinated beef.

Galbi is beef short ribs, marinated in garlic, water, water, sugar, and sliced onions. 

Jumulleok is another cut of steak that is marinated in salt, pepper, and sesame oil. Finally, deaji bulgogi which is a spicy pork cut, this pork is usually marinated in gochujang which is a Korean chili powder.


Mangal is a Middle Eastern barbecue that means both the occasion and the grilling device.

The Mangal is used to grill all sorts of meat, such as kebab, chicken wings, chicken, hamburgers and steak. A Mangal is usually served with a huge array of salads, roasted vegetables, and bread.

A Mangal also refers to the gathering of family or friends to eat, drink and be joyful 

Mixed Grill 

Cuisines around the world all feature a mixed grill of their own traditional grilled meat and vegetables. Some examples of a mixed grill from around the world are below

  • Schlachteplatte: A German mixed grill dish
  • Fatányéros: An old-style Hungarian mixed-grill barbecue plate
  • The United States: A typical mixed grill breakfast is a slice of ham, sausage links, bacon strips, eggs, home fries, and buttered toast.
  • Australia: It can comprise of lamb chops, rump steak, beef or pork sausages, eggs, and pineapple.
  • Arabian: An assortment of kebabs such as beef cubes, chicken breast cubes, meat kofta, chicken kofta and lamb chops.
  • Churrasco: Normally featuring various cuts of chicken and beef,
  • Italian: Chicken (often marinated in garlic, rosemary, olive oil lemon), beef, and pork.
  • Argentina: An Asado which features cuts of beef, pork and chicken.

Mongolian Barbecue 

Mongolian barbecue was created by Taiwanese comedian and restaurateur Wu Zhaonan.

He originally was from Beijing but fled to Taiwan due to the Chinese Civil War, once in Taiwan he opened a street food stall.

His dish, Mongolian barbecue is a stir-fried dish that is cooked on large, round, solid iron griddles at temperatures of around 300 °C (572 °F). Despite its name, the dish is not Mongolian and is only loosely related to barbecue.

Wu’s street food stall became was very popular and attracted foreign celebrities, diplomats and wealthy businesspeople. This isn’t Mongolian but was named that due to his heritage

The Schwenker

In the southern states of Germany, cooks use a grill called a Schwenker. The Schwenker is a heavy-gauge grill with three lug grips soldered to the rim that allow it to hang from a tripod.

Traditionally this grill is used to cook schwenkbraten, marinated pork sirloin steaks.

The steak is usually marinated in a green herb or red paprika. The schwenkermeister height from the coals can be adjusted, this helps with controlling the cook.

Other foods that is prepared on the Schwenker are; bratwurst, merguez, bell peppers, bread, and potatoes 

Salt Block

You may have seen people using pink Himalayan salt blocks to cook steak and seafood.

It not only imparts a salty, savory flavor you also get the minerals for the block infused into your meat.

Other benefits of salt block cooking include; added nutrients,helpful with its germ-fighting properties, and can give you food a unique flavor


Shaokao is the Chinese translation of “barbecue”. The Shaokao is mainly found at street food stalls and night markets in China. 

Shaokao typically involves using strong species such as cumin and Chinese five-spice powder to marinate barbecued items on skewers. You can find it in most cities in China however it is most popular in Beijing. Some popular items include fish balls, smoked mushrooms and chicken.

Shisa Nyama 

Shisa nyama is a South African term that describes an event such as a barbecue where friends and families gather to grill vegetables and meat over an open fire. It usually takes place near a butcher.

The spot is often provided by the butcher and just the people who buy meat from the butcher are allowed to use the facility. The word Shisa nyama translates from Zulu to mean to “burn meat”.

Siu Mei

Siu Mei is a name for serval types of Cantonese cooking. The meat is generally cooked over an open fire or a very large wood-fired oven. Different sauces are used for each variety. Some varieties include the most popular char siu, followed by siu yuk (which is roast pork or pork belly) and roast goose.

It is a staple for residents of Hong Kong. You will immediately recognize Sui Mei restaurants by their window displays.

There are usually whole chickens and ducks hanging from wires as well as a chef in an open kitchen cutting meat to order.


Yakiniku is a Japanese term that means grilled meat.

It is also a style of cooking in which small bite-sized pieces of meat such as offal, beef, and vegetable are cooked on a griddle which is run fuelled by charcoal, gas, or electricity.

Some typical items that are grilled include karubi (beef short ribs), rosu (chuck slices), tan (beef tongue), burtabara (pork belly), tontoro (fatty meat from the neck), teru (beef tail), chicken, squid and vegetable such as cabbage, onion, mushrooms, and eggplant.

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