Grilling Around the Globe: Asian BBQ

Global Grilling

In the States, we often think of barbecue as a Dixieland delicacy, but communal round-the-fire cooking is far older than the American South. Around the world, fire pits, smokers, and grills are fired up for an endless number of meat-centric dishes. Korean barbecue is an elaborate feast of thinly sliced, marinated meats and side dishes. The Southeast Asian fascination with skewers—most famously Indonesian satay—has spawned regional styles hundreds of recipes strong. And Filipino Inasal is as much a celebrated street food consisting mostly of meat skewers. Whether you call it BBQ, Inasal or goi-gui, it is a cooking method that involves grilling meat over an open flame, creating delicious flavors and mouth-watering aromas.

International BBQ Flavors

Chinese barbecue, also known as “char siu,” is a popular dish in Cantonese cuisine that consists of roasted pork that is sweet and savory. The pork is marinated in a mixture of honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and five-spice powder, giving it a distinct flavor. Chinese barbecue is often served with steamed rice, noodles, or in a variety of dishes such as fried rice or noodle soups.

In Japan, barbecue is called yakiniku, which means “grilled meat” in Japanese. It is a popular dining experience where customers grill their meat at their table using a charcoal or gas grill. The meat is usually marinated in a sweet and savory sauce and served with sides such as kimchi, rice, and miso soup.

Korean barbecue, also known as “gogi-gui,” is a popular style of dining in Korea that involves grilling meat at the table. The meat is often marinated in a savory and sweet sauce made from soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and sugar. Korean barbecue is typically served with a variety of side dishes, such as kimchi, pickled vegetables, and rice.

Filipino barbecue, also known as “inasal,” is a popular street food in the Philippines that is made from marinated chicken or pork skewered and grilled over hot coals. The marinade is typically made from a combination of soy sauce, calamansi juice, brown sugar, garlic, and vinegar, giving the meat a sweet and tangy flavor. Filipino barbecue is often served with rice and a side of atchara, which is a pickled papaya salad.

International barbecue is a celebration of culture and community that has taken on different forms around the world. From the slow-smoked brisket in Texas to the sizzling yakiniku in Japan, each country has its own unique take on the art of BBQ. So the next time you fire up the grill, try something new and embrace the diversity of international barbecue.

Filipino Chicken Skewers


  • 2 ½ pounds Five Star Home Foods boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup banana ketchup (recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup Sprite
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

Note: Allow at least one day for marinating.


  1. Combine soy sauce, banana ketchup, pepper, Sprite, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, sugar, and salt in a bowl; add chicken and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Light a grill. Thread chicken onto skewers, reserving marinade, and brush with oil; grill, turning as needed and brushing with reserved marinade until charred and cooked, about 12 minutes. 
  3. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with scallions and crispy garlic chips.

Serve with Crispy Garlic Chips:

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil and the sliced garlic in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium; cook until garlic is golden, 4–6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer garlic chips to paper towels to drain; set oil aside.

Banana Ketchup


  • 2 bananas
  • ⅓ cup white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ⅓  cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • ⅓ cup tomato paste
  • water for blending


1.To prepare, slice the bananas and chop the garlic and onions. This makes it easier to blend.

2.In a blender or food processor, add the bananas, onion, garlic, brown sugar, salt, cloves, paprika, and cayenne. Add a dash of water if needed. Blend till smooth.

3.Pour the blended sauce in a pot. Mix in the tomato sauce and vinegar.

4.Place the pot over a stove at medium heat. Bring this to a boil and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Add ¼ cup water at a time if the sauce thickens too quickly.

5.Prepare a strainer over a bowl. Pour in the ketchup, this ensures that you have a smooth texture.

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Chinese Barbecue Spare Ribs


  • 2 pounds Five Star Home Foods pork spare ribs, cut into individual ribs
  • 1/2 cup of hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 3 tablespoons of Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of Chinese five-spice powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, rice wine, garlic, five-spice powder, salt, and pepper. Stir until well blended.
  3. Coat the spare ribs with the marinade mixture, making sure they are fully covered. Let the ribs marinate in the mixture for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
  4. Place the marinated ribs in a roasting pan, bone side down, and pour any remaining marinade on top of the ribs.
  5. Roast the ribs in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the meat is tender and the edges are slightly charred. Turn the ribs over halfway through cooking.
  6. Remove the ribs from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes. Cut the ribs into individual pieces and serve hot.

Korean BBQ short ribs, called "Galbi” in Korea

Serves 4


  • 3 pounds Certified Angus Beef Bone-In Beef Short Ribs, cut across the bone into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/4 cup of sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup of rice wine
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, sesame oil, rice wine, garlic, onion, green onions, black pepper, and sesame seeds. Stir until the mixture is well blended.
  2. Add the beef short ribs to the marinade mixture, making sure they are fully coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  4. Remove the short ribs from the marinade and let any excess drip off. Reserve the marinade for later.
  5. Grill the short ribs for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until they are cooked to your desired doneness. Baste the ribs with the reserved marinade as they cook.
  6. Serve the Korean BBQ short ribs hot with a side of rice and your favorite Korean side dishes, such as kimchi, pickled vegetables, or steamed vegetables.

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