The Barbecue! Bible

More than 500 Great Grilling Recipes from Around the World


By Steven Raichlen

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The biggest, baddest, best salute to our passion for barbecue, in glorious full-color, from “America’s master griller” (Esquire).

A 500-recipe celebration of sizzle and smoke, Steven Raichlen’s award-winning The Barbecue! Bible unlocks the secrets of live-fire cooking with top dishes, the tastiest sauces, and insider techniques and tips.

It’s got everything: how to grill the perfect T-bone. Succulent chicken from around the world: Jamaica, Senegal, Brazil, India, Thailand, Uruguay. A perfect meeting of fire and ice: Fire-Roasted Banana Splits. Includes FAQs, problem-solving tips, and comprehensive notes on equipment, ingredients, marinades, rubs—even a chapter on thirst-quenchers to serve while you’re busy fanning the coals.


Copyright © 1998, 2008 by Steven Raichlen
Interior © photographs copyright © 2008 by Ben Fink

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced—mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying—without written permission of the publisher. Published simultaneously in Canada by Thomas Allen & Son Limited.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available.
eISBN: 9780761159575

Cover design by David Matt
Photography by Ben Fink
Food stylist: Jamie Kimm
Prop stylist: Roy Finamore

Front Cover: author photo © Fernando Diez; center image © Willie Nash/Getty Images; fish © Lew Robertson/Jupiterimages; quesadillas, sauces, corn © Ben Fink; wood © Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images; ginger and spices © Feiler Fotodesign/Alamy Images; all other photographs © Greg Schneider. Back Cover: top © James Baigrie/Getty Images; middle © Ben Fink; lower © Greg Schneider

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Preface to the New Edition: More Great Grilling

Introduction: Three Years on the Barbecue Trail



Everything you need to know in order to grill and barbecue like a pro—in no time flat. How to master direct and indirect grilling; pit barbecuing; grilling on a rotisserie; and grilling without a grate. What to look for in equipment; how to buy the right fuel, how to light it, and how to keep it lit. Plus the scoop on accessories.

The Grilling Process

The Grills

The Fuels

Setting Up the Grill

Grilling with Charcoal

Cooking with Gas

Cooking Satés


Grilling Indoors

Grilling Over a Campfire

Grill Maintenance and Cleaning

Gearing Up

The Food

Testing for Doneness



Game and “Exotic” Meats

Burgers and Sausages



Vegetarian Food on the Grill



Seasoning and Sauces

Now You’re Smoking



Cooking over a hot grill can work up a powerful thirst, and pit masters world-wide know that there are more ways to quench it than with beer. Here, then, is a mix of coolers—with and without alcohol—to accompany any barbecue.



The Afghan Grill



Set your barbecue off to the happiest start with a selection of appetizing openers: Silver Paper Chicken, Honey-Glazed Hong Kong Wings, Shrimp Mousse on Sugarcane. Or how about a smoky Grilled Corn Chowder? They’re all so good they taste like the main event themselves.

The Vietnamese Grill

Stalking the Elusive Grilled Snail




Salads play two roles in the world of barbecue. Some, like Grilled Vegetable Caponata and Grilled Pork with a Sweet-Tart Dressing, are themselves grilled dishes. Others set off a grilled dish perfectly. You need go no farther than this chapter to enjoy both kinds.

On the Grill

A Tale of Three Barbecues: The Thai Grill

On the Side


PAGE 125

From irresistible Grilled Garlic Bread Fingers to Catalan Tomato Bread to from-scratch Tandoori-Baked Flat Breads—whether ready-made or homemade, the grill gives bread unmatched flavor and crispness.


PAGE 135

Texas-Style Barbecued Brisket and Brazilian Stuffed Rib Roast; Florentine-Style Steak and Bengali Shish Kebabs; Saigon Market Beef Sticks and Korean Grilled Short Ribs. Beef on the grill—savory, succulent, sensational—a perfect match of food and fire.

In Pursuit of the Best Tuscan Steak

Matambre: A Hunger-Killer from South America

Argentinean Roots

The Argentinean Grill

Hawkers’ Centers


PAGE 173

Time to go whole hog! Cook up the tenderest North Carolina Pulled Pork or fieriest Jamaican Jerk Pork Tenderloin.

PAGE 194


PAGE 199

So many of the world’s barbecuers love to grill lamb that it’s no wonder the selection of dishes is outstanding. Try Cape Town Lamb from South Africa, “Onion Water” Lamb Chops from Afghanistan, and The Real Turkish Shish Kebab from Turkey (of course!).

A Traditional Barbacoa

The Moroccan Grill


PAGE 223

The U.S. might have the best burgers, but wait till you taste the ground meat concoctions the rest of the world has to offer—Indonesian Flying Fox Satés, Oasis Kebabs from the Middle East, The Original Karim’s Seekh Kebab from India—proving that the appeal of flavorful ground meat is universal.

From Hamburg to Hoboken: A Brief History of the Hamburger

Of Koftas, Lyulyas, and Seekh Kebabs

The Turkish Grill


PAGE 255

The world loves a great grilled chicken, and here are the recipes to help you achieve greatness: Chicken Satés Served in Lettuce Leaves, Sea Captain’s Chicken Tikka, and Bahamian Grilled Chicken, to name a few. But don’t overlook other birds that cook up deliciously on the grill, as well—check out the recipes for quail, duck, and turkey.

The Splendid Restaurant Karim

Uruguay’s Mercado del Puerto

The Macanese Grill


PAGE 303

Fresh fish, perfectly grilled, is spectacularly succulent. Don’t miss Whole Grilled Snapper with South African Spices, Grilled Sea Bass with Fresh Artichoke Salad, Grilled Salmon Kiev, and Grilled Sole with Catalan Fruits & Nuts.

A New French Paradox

The Most Famous Fish House in Indonesia

On Trinidad’s Shark and Bake


PAGE 353

Grilled Spiny Lobster with Basil Butter, Scallop Kebabs with Pancetta, Lemon, and Basil, Oysters with Horseradish Cream, and enough shrimp recipes to keep the barbie fired up for weeks. Here is shellfish at its best!

The Brazilian Grill

PAGE 367


PAGE 381

No longer only just for meat-eaters, now you can serve up a complete range of vegetarian dishes at a barbecue, including The Original Grilled Pizza, exotic Tabdoori Peppers, a lush Provençal Dagwood, and steak-like Grilled Portobello Mushroom Sandwiches with Basil Aioli.

The Indian Grill


PAGE 395

There is probably no better way to heighten the natural flavor of a vegetable than by grilling. Proof is no farther away than Georgian Vegetable Kebabs, Catalan Grilled Artichokes, Argentinean Grilled Eggplant, Chorizo Grilled Mushrooms, and wonderfully warming Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Sesame Dipping Sauce.

The Japanese Grill


PAGE 423

Most of the world’s great grilled dishes are accompanied by flavorfully prepared grains and beans. Dig into Persian-Style Steamed Rice and Quick and Smoky Baked Beans. And for something less expected, how about a Yorkshire Pudding on the Grill?

The Persian Grill: A Day with Najmieh Batmanglij


PAGE 441

Bring on the condiments—those savory, fiery, sweet, and utterly satisfying go-withs that dress up any barbecue. Central Asian Pickles, Onion Relish with Pomegranate Molasses, Pineapple Chutney, “Dog’s Snout” Salsa, and Tomato Peanut Sambal will add pizzazz to even the simplest grilled chicken, steak, or fish.

Stuck on Saté: The Indonesian Grill


PAGE 463

All great pit masters are judged on their barbecue sauces and you’ll match the best of them with this far-reaching collection. From a sweet-sour Basic Barbecue Sauce to a contemporary Ginger-Plum Barbecue Sauce to a mouth-scorching Portuguese Piri-Piri, there are plenty to match any grilled dish.

The Four Styles of an American Barbecue


PAGE 489

Memphis Rub and Indian Roasted Spice Powder; Mexican Smoked Chile Marinade and Teriyaki Marinade; Roquefort Butter, Ketjap Butter, and Bourbon Butter Basting Sauce. A full selection of rubs, marinades, butters, and bastes add zip to even the simplest fare.

Barbecue Alley: The Mexican Grill


PAGE 511

No great barbecue is complete without a great dessert. Whether you end with a final flourish on the grill or with a luscious frozen dessert, you won’t go wrong. Don’t forget to leave room for Fire-Roasted Apples, Balinese Grilled Bananas in Coconut Milk Caramel, Persian Lemon and Rose Water “Sundae” with Sour Cherry Syrup, and Coconut Ice Cream.

Barbecue from the Land of Morning Calm: The Korean Grill

PAGE 511





Half a million years ago, the world witnessed a revolution. An ape-like creature destined to become man became the first animal to cook its dinner. The mastery of fire by Homo erectus around 500,000 B.C. resulted in nothing less than the rise of civilization. Anthropologists have argued that the primitive act of roasting meat over fire ultimately led to language, art, religion, and complex social organization. In other words, you could say that grilling begat civilization.

How our forebears learned to grill remains a matter of speculation. Perhaps the first barbecue was the result of a forest fire, which roasted venison, bison, and other game on the hoof in a natural conflagration. Perhaps a haunch of meat fell into a campfire. Perhaps lightning struck a tree and transformed it into charcoal. In any case, archeological evidence suggests that by 125,000 B.C. man was using live fire to cook his meat and to help him extract from the bones a morsel particularly prized in prehistoric times: marrow.

The following millennia brought countless refinements to the art of cooking, from the invention of pottery and pots and pans to the bread machine and microwave oven. But when it comes to bringing out the primal flavor of food, nothing can rival grilling over a live fire.

This truth has not been lost to cultures as diverse as the Greek, Japanese, Australian, South African, and Argentinian. Grilling remains our most universal and universally beloved method of cooking. And in the past ten years, our own country has experienced a veritable grill mania.

It is this shared experience—and a desire to learn more about the cultures that produced its infinite regional variations—that led me to write this book.


The idea for the book came to me shortly after moving from Boston to Miami. South Florida is enough to sharpen anyone’s appetite for grilling. First, there’s the climate, which makes year-round grilling not only a possibility but almost a duty. (How different Miami is from Boston, where grilling in the winter requires donning arctic apparel!)

Then there’s Miami’s dizzying cultural diversity. Dade County, which includes Miami, is 50 percent Hispanic, and Miami itself is home to the nation’s largest Cuban, Nicaraguan, Colombian, and Haitian communities. But “Hispanic” only begins to describe what’s going on in Miami’s markets and restaurants: Not only are the countries of the Caribbean and South America represented, but virtually every country in Europe, Africa, and Asia as well. Global cuisine isn’t simply a curiosity or luxury here in South Florida. It’s a way of life.

So an idea began to take hold of my imagination: to explore how the world’s oldest and most universal cooking method varies from country to country, region to region, and culture to culture. To travel the world’s barbecue trail—if such a trail existed—and learn how pit masters and grill jockeys solve that age-old problem: how to cook food over live fire without burning it.

I resolved to explore the asados of Argentina and the churrascos of Brazil; to taste Jamaica’s jerk and Mexico’s barbacoa. I’d visit Greece to discover the secret of souvlaki and Italy to learn how to make an authentic bistecca alla fiorentina. My research introduced me to eat mechoui in Morocco and koftas in the Middle East, donner kebab in Turkey, and tandoori in India. I would visit the birthplace of Japanese yakitori, Indonesian saté, and Korean kui and bool kogi.

Of course, there’d be lots of live-fire cooking to investigate in my own country: from the ribs of Kansas City and Memphis to the pulled pork of the Carolinas and the slow-smoked briskets of Texas. I’d check out the wood-burning grills of California and the hearthside cookery of New England. The more I delved into the world of barbecuing and grilling, the more I became convinced that it is more than just another technique in a cook’s repertoire. It’s even more than a cultural phenomenon. The world over, it’s a way of life.

It wouldn’t hurt, I reasoned, that grilling and barbecuing fit so nicely into the contemporary North American lifestyle. These ancient methods support the four dominant trends in modern American cooking: our passion for explosive flavors; our fast-paced lifestyle, with its need for quick, easy cooking methods; our mushrooming health consciousness and desire to eat foods that are low in fat but high in flavor; our desire to turn our homes into our entertainment centers, to transform the daily necessity of food preparation into recreation—even fun.

If ever there was a cooking method to take us into the next millennium, it is grilling. We see its growing popularity in the skyrocketing sales of barbecue grills (currently, more than 70 percent of Americans own grills). We see it in the proliferation of barbecue festivals and restaurants with wood-burning grills.

The truth is that—in terms of ease, speed, and intensity of flavor—nothing can rival grilling. And as more Americans travel the barbecue trail and discover the regional subtleties of grilling, the movement will only grow.

I shared my idea with Peter Workman and Suzanne Rafer of Workman Publishing, who responded with an enthusiasm that matched my own. In fact, they encouraged me to broaden the scope of the original book from the twelve countries on which I had initially planned to focus to the entire world of grilling. (Easy for them to do! They wouldn’t have to worry about jet lag, visas, complex travel arrangements, vaccinations that turned my arms into pincushions, and gastrointestinal perils that would challenge the limits of my culinary curiosity.)

A proposal was written. A contract was executed.

And only then did I panic.

How would I visit more than twenty-five countries in the space of three years? How would I overcome local language barriers and sometimes less than favorable attitudes to American journalists? And even if I could communicate with street cooks and chefs, how would I persuade them to share their grilling secrets? How would I ferret out the best barbecue in countries I knew only from guidebooks?

I realized I had taken on the biggest challenge of my life.


I began, as any journalist does, with research. I read exhaustively both cookbooks and travel books. I queried colleagues with expertise in the various countries I planned to visit. I consulted with tourism bureaus and cultural attachés. I spoke with food and cookware importers, travel agents, anthropologists, foreigners I met here and abroad—anyone who could shed insight into the grilling of a particular country.

My informants included fellow journalists, university professors, business travelers, diplomats, and flight attendants. Some of my best information came from taxi drivers. (Of all professions, cabbies seem to possess the most unerring knowledge of who serves the best barbecue.) I planned as much as I could, then I made sure I was in the right place to capitalize on chance.

I speak French and Spanish and a smattering of Italian, Portuguese, and German (the latter is useful in Turkey), so in countries where these languages are spoken, I was able to work on my own. In countries where I didn’t speak the language, I found guides or interpreters. And of course I developed my own sign language:

“I” (point to me)

“write” (move my fingers to mime writing)

“about food” (raise an imaginary fork or chopsticks to my lips or rub my belly)

“I would like to” (again point to me)

“watch” (point to my eye)

“you cook.” (mime the act of grilling, mixing, chopping, or stir-frying)

I took with me one of my previous cookbooks. I would show the recipes and point to the photograph of me on the back cover.

I feared my efforts would be met with suspicion, secrecy, and rejection, but almost everywhere I went I encountered openness, warmth, and welcome. Virtually all of the grill jockeys I interviewed were not only willing but happy to share their knowledge. On many occasions, I was invited into the kitchen. I tried my hand at molding kofta meat onto skewers, fanning the coals, or slapping naan on the inside walls of a blazing tandoor. My efforts generally evoked peals of good-natured laughter.

I found myself in many places not frequented by most travelers, having experiences that ranged from fascinating to hair-raising. In Mexico I nibbled cactus worms and crickets as a prelude to barbecue. (The latter tasted like potato chips with legs.) In Uruguay I sampled testicles, tripe, intestines, kidneys, and blood sausage. In Bali I paid a 6 A.M. visit to the local babi guli (roast pork) man, who rewarded my punctuality by letting me help him slaughter a suckling pig. In Bangkok I was the guest of honor at an Isarn (northeastern Thai) restaurant whose fly-filled kitchen overlooked a stagnant canal. (I forced myself to eat with the enthusiasm appropriate to a guest of honor, and no one was more surprised than I when I didn’t get sick.

Some of the world’s best barbecue was off limits because of political turmoil. I would have liked to have visited Afganistan, Iraq, Iran, and some of the more turbulent former Soviet republics. Instead, I found experts and restaurants specializing in those cuisines in this country.

Barbecue buffs have a reputation for being a secretive bunch (at least in the United States), but virtually everywhere I traveled on the barbecue trail, cooks were happy to share their recipes and expertise. Some scrawled recipes for me, to be translated back at my hotel. Others drew pictures in my notebook to explain where a particular piece of meat came from or how to execute a particular cut. When possible, I credit the extraordinary grill hockeys I met by name (or at least by the name of their establishment).

Recipes are the heart of any cookbook, of course. In this one you’ll find more than five hundred, covering everything from Brazilian churrasco to Balinese shrimp satés to Memphis-style ribs. The essays describing some of my experiences are intended for the traveler (both active and armchair), as well as the cook.

My three years on the barbecue trail passed in what seems like the blink of any eye.

As I sit here writing these words, I picture all the remarkable places I’ve been, the kind, generous people I’ve met, and the extraordinary food I’ve been lucky enough to sample. And yet I can’t help but feel there’s so much more I would have liked to have accomplished. The world of barbecue is so vast and complex, any survey is bound to have blind spots. I honestly believe I could spend the rest of my life writing about barbecuing and grilling and still find new things to discover.


When writing the recipes, I’ve tried to be as authentic as possible. But I’ve also taken into account the fact that certain foods, seasonings, and cooking equipment simply aren’t available in the United States (not to mention the fact that our tastes and aesthetics are different). Whenever I depart from a traditional recipe, I’ve tried to suggest the way it would be made in its country of origin.

In my three years on the barbecue trail, I sampled many dishes I know most Americans would never dream of preparing at home. (A couple that come to mind are Uruguay’s choto (grilled coiled lamb’s intestines) and Indonesia’s saté padang (kebabs of beef entrails served in a fiery gravy). I’ve tried to describe these dishes in the essays and boxes in this book. I hope you’ll give them a try when you travel.

As I quickly discovered on the barbecue trail, grilling is an art, not a science. Many cooks work in unbelievably primitive conditions. Indeed, one of the reasons I’m drawn to grilling is that it’s so forgiving in terms of measurements and proportions. I hope you’ll use the recipes in this book as I do, that is, as a broad guideline. If you don’t feel like eating beef, make the recipe with chicken or seafood. Most of the marinades and rubs in this book—listed either as freestanding recipes or subrecipes in more elaborate preparations—can be used with any type of grilled fare. You’ll also notice that there is often more than one way to cook a particular dish. As I always say in my cooking classes: There’s no such thing as a mistake in the kitchen, just a new recipe waiting to be discovered.

Seasoning, marinating, and grilling are the cornerstones of live-fire cooking, which brings me to what I call the Barbecue Bible Method, and as you will see, it’s very simple. First marinate the meat, or rub it with spices. Then let the meat absorb the seasonings for as long as recommended or as long as you have time for. Finally, grill it over whatever sort of fuel on whatever sort of equipment you feel most comfortable using. That’s it.

Of course, I hope to expand your horizons—to inspire you to try new techniques and new flavors. But the bottom line is that I want you to make these recipes. Remember, cooking isn’t brain surgery. This is especially true for what is surely the world’s easiest cooking method, grilling.



  • “The results will whisk you around the world, without ever having to leave your grill.”

     —The New York Times
  • “The most extensive collection of recipes and techniques…ever published.”—Esquire
  • “For aspiring gourmets of the grill…there is only one book: The Barbecue! Bible”—The New Yorker

On Sale
May 28, 2008
Page Count
556 pages


Steven Raichlen

About the Author

Steven Raichlen is the author of the New York Times bestselling Barbecue! Bible® cookbook series, which includes the new Brisket Chronicles; Project Fire; Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades; Project Smoke; The Barbecue Bible; and How to Grill. Winners of 5 James Beard awards and 3 IACP awards, his books have been translated into 17 languages. His TV shows include the public television series Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire, Project Smoke; Primal Grill; and Barbecue University; the French language series Le Maitre du Grill, and the Italian series Steven Raichlen Grills Italy. Raichlen has written for the New York Times, Esquire, and all the food magazines; and is the founder and dean of Barbecue University. In 2015, he was inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame. His website is

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