Grilling Techniques from Around the World

This is the first in a multi-part guide to grilling techniques starting with ideas from around the World.

The next section focuses on grills and fuel and how to use them, then on to reviews of the best grills I've tried, and lastly on to grilling recipes.

Every barbeque or grill technique here is popular somewhere in the world - and maybe used by millions of people. There are no (or not many) impossible to get ingredients, and rarely any obscure pieces of equipment that cannot be done without .

Everything here can be done easily, most likely with equipment you already have.

Interested in seeing something new?


grilling techniques - Salt Lickgrill pit

Salt Lick BBQ image by Wallyg via Flickr, under creative commons licence.

Top of the list is the USA. Real barbecuing is king - be it indirect grilling, pit roasting or smoking.

Not that you don't find charcoal grills or gas grills, you definitely do - but the pro's and the purists swear long and slow is the best way.

Almost every grilling technique or style of barbecue cooking seems to converge on the US; even if they weren't invented there. It's still the spiritual home of BBQ.

But there is also a strong tradition of grilling - and they know how to grill.

South America

grilling technique - parilla

Parilla image courtesy of Murilo Cardoso via flickr, under creative commons licence. Check out the compartment on the left of the parilla, where wood is burned down to charcoal - that's real BBQ.

As well as asado, in Argentina there is also a related method called parilla. Chunky cuts of meat along with sausage or offal are grilled steadily on a charcoal grill.

Traditionally these various meats are served in a specific order of courses, with ingredients and customs a kin to Portuguese and Spanish cuisine. A nice glass of Malbec is often had.

Variations on this old-fashioned tradition are seen all over the South American continent.

See our Asado and parilla page for more info.

The Caribbean

grilling techniques - Caribbean BBQ

Jerk BBQ stands, Jamaica. Creative Commons image courtesy of James Willamor.

The Caribbean has two main traditions roughly divided by language. The Spanish speaking islands roast suckling pig in a manner called Taino similar to other Latin American styles.

The English speaking Bahamas and Jamaica have more in common with US style grilling techniques, with Jamaica using a BBQ rub called Jerk seasoning to flavor grilled meat or seafood.

Here is the basic technique for grilling chicken with direct heat.

The method used cab be either direct or indirect grilling, usually over pimento wood charcoal.

Along side these are a many fruit based side dishes such as grilled pineapple or a salsa like mixture of fruit and salad vegetable.

See our Caribbean BBQ page for more ideas, recipes and info.


In the Mediterranean region the main influence is their existing cuisines, just cooked and eaten outdoors.

The flavors are more subtle, with meat or fish often marinated with olive oil, citrus or served with a herb sauce such as persillade. Nothing is hot, sweet or in yer face - just simple and perfectly cooked. And served with a nice glass of vino.

grilling technique - BBQ grilled meat

Grilled meat image by Richard Stebbing under CC licence, via Flickr

Britain is a mixed bag. Charcoal or gas grills are seen in nearly every backyard. When the weather is passable, they are lit and

and more are grilled - or "barbecued" as they say.

The technique used is simple direct grilling, usually over charcoal, but gas grills are gaining ground.

Also British beer is excellent, and local or organic produce like sausages or lamb are very good grilled over charcoal.

There is great enthusiasm for foriegn foods. Anything spicy - in particular Indian - goes down well. Check out tandoori cuisine, which can also be cooked on a gas or charcoal grills.

African Braai

grilling techniques - braai

Braai image thanks to Potjie under CC licence, via Flickr

In South Africa, braai vleis has become a major tradition that has spread outwards to various African countries. They take their charcoal grilling technique quite seriously here too.

Groups of friends and family converge, each contributing something to the table - "dop and chop" is the key phrase.

A wood fire is lit and burned down to ashy charcoal, and hefty slabs of various types of meat and chunky boerewors sausage are grilled.

India & Asia

grilling techniques - grilled chicken tikka

The tandoor oven is used in India, central and East Asia to bake highly flavored and brightly colored, marinated kebabs served with bread.

Tandoor ovens are hard to come by in the West, but with the right recipes and a charcoal grill, a delicious tandoori chicken kebab can be made in your backyard.

The Weber One Touch, Kamado grills or Big Green Egg grills make a good alternative, but a grilling directly over charcoal (or gas), work pretty well.

In Southeast Asia there are also various traditions mostly based on grilling e.g. satay kebabs with  a rich nutty sauce in Indonesia and Singapore.

The Japanese are generally lovers of seafood and vegetables, but yakitori made with chicken or pork is their most famous BBQ recipe.

While traditional home cooked char siu involves pork marinated with honey being cooked on long handled forks held over a fire, whilst chatting.

All of these can be emulated on a Charcoal grill or Gas Grill at home.


These simple cooking and grilling techniques endure because people love cooking, eating and socialising together.

Being able to do one thing really well is great, but personally I love learning to do something new, and none of these ideas are hard to carry out at home...

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Related Resources and Grilling Techniques

The basic grilling proceedure can be seen in these recipes:

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