Understanding Barbecue Etiquette From Around the World



Thinking of breaking out the barbecue grill in your new country of residence? It’s certainly a good way to get to know your neighbours, and show off your culinary skills. However, have you considered the cultural differences in barbecuing? If you haven’t, then here are some things you should keep in mind when you decide to host a get together in different countries while respecting barbecue etiquette.

  1. It’s called a Braai in Africa, Boet

Although you may call it a BBQ, other countries know it by different names. If you intend on using the term when inviting guests to a get together in South Africa, don’t be shocked to see that no one comes for your barbie. Your best chance of getting a high turnout is to get with the lingo. What’s more, know the difference between a potjie and a grill, as you don’t want the fellas looking at you weird.

Also, September 24 for South Africans is National Braai Day and a good opportunity to break the ice with your neighbours.

  1. Too many chefs spoil the pot


In the United States, and pretty much most countries that grill, there’s a designated chef – i.e., the owner of the grill, the host of the party, or whoever host chooses to grill the meat. Unless there’s a fire you need to put out, barbecue etiquette dictates that your involvement should be kept at a minimal. Let the chef do what he/she does best, and you can show off your own expertise when you host your own outdoor party.

  1. A gift is always welcome

It may not be a bring-and-share, but it’s common BBQ etiquette to bring a gift for the host of the party. This is regardless of the country in which you’re grilling, and most important if you’re attending a party for the first time. It easies any anxiety that the host/hostess might have about you, as you’re demonstrating you’re a humble guest who has no intensions of making the party miserable, unless you bring your own barbecued meat or reveal that you’re an avid vegetarian.

  1. The type of meat is a contentious issue


Imagine being at a new neighbours barbecue and all you can think about is the delicious aroma of meat sizzling on the grill. When it’s finally served to you, the host says that you’re eating premium dog meat. Would you be pleased if you weren’t informed? We highly doubt it. We suggest that you do the right thing and don’t offer meat that your guests might not be inclined to eat. For example:

  • Most people from India who are Hindu don’t eat beef
  • Middle Eastern countries don’t like pork
  • Western countries aren’t fans of cat or dog meat

What’s more, be mindful of different cuisines and respect culinary choices. For instance:

  • Certain African cultures eat insects
  • Some European cultures like to eat frogs’ legs and snails

As you can see there are traditions that many practice when they grill their favourite dishes. If you’re planning on travelling to another country, try to familiarise yourself with the different cultures involved so that you have a better understanding of how to host and behave at barbecues

Big Roast
Unit C, 2 Endeavour Way LondonLOSW19 8UH UK 
 • 0845 500 5450

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