27 June 2020

Weekend Cooking: Barbecue (Documentary)

Review of Barbecue directed by Matthew SallehWith Canada Day and Fourth of July right around the corner, we here in North America would normally be planning a cookout of some kind with friends and family. Sadly, few of us will be celebrating with non-household members this year.

If you need your grilling or barbecue fix, then I recommend the 2017 documentary Barbecue directed by Matthew Salleh. I loved this film, which is not about famous pit masters and restaurant owners and does not offer any recipes. Instead, it’s about what barbecue means in a dozen places throughout the world.

We are introduced to everyday people who embrace food cooked over fire, coals, or gas; on horizontal or vertical spits; in pits, over wood, under rocks, and more. I enjoyed meeting each cook (mostly men), who waxed poetic about the meaning of shared meals around a fire or in the outdoors.

From South Africa to the Philippines, and from Mongolia to Texas, people have strong traditions of grilling out. I loved evident passion the cooks and their families had for gathering with others to share food preparation and to savor the delicious results.

The filming is beautifully done, with gorgeous scenery and mouth-watering food shots. The conversations with the featured cooks are interesting and engaging and respectfully done. Barbecue is a joy to watch.

For me, there were two major takeaways of the Barbecue documentary. First, people everywhere have the same feelings that cooking out means more than just sharing a meal with others. There is something about barbecue that says community, family, and festivities.

Barbecue directed by Matthew SallehThe second was how many amazing and wild techniques exist for cooking food (mostly meat). Cooks used hot rocks, pits, indirect heat, and flattops over gas. They cooked over synthetic materials and of course over wood and charcoal. Animals were cooked whole and cut up and few people grilled vegetables. I don’t want to spoil the surprises, but some of the cooking methods were definitely unique.

Now for a couple of warnings. Most of the people featured in Barbecue did not speak English, so if English is you’re primary language, be prepared to read subtitles. Second, if seeing raw meat or butchering is upsetting to you, then you won’t want to watch this documentary.

I highly recommend Matthew Salleh’s Barbecue; it may inspire you to try some new techniques at your next cookout. Here’s the trailer.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


(Diane) bookchickdi 6/27/20, 7:33 AM  

We have been spending part of the summer away from NYC and one of the best parts is being able to grill for dinner. We really missed that living in the city.

Tina 6/27/20, 8:14 AM  

I remember a Jamie Oliver show where the viewing public are warned he would slaughter a lamb. He was showing how your "meal" went from farmyard to table and advocating humane processes, local meats, etc. Some of the viewers were outraged even though warned. Thanks for the warning about that bit!

Sounds like a good documentary with how different cultures Bbq.

Mae Travels 6/27/20, 9:27 AM  

Good to hear about this -- reminds me of the "Fire" part of Michael Pollen's netflix series. Barbecue gets a lot of attention.

be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Jackie McGuinness 6/27/20, 1:25 PM  

Since downsizing our BBQ is limited to our electric grill which serves us well.
There are BBQs available on the grounds, ub it just doesn't feel worth the effort of taking stuff down there.
I guess if we were having a group over it would be fun. But at the moment we are not allowed any visitors on the grounds.

gluten Free A_Z Blog 6/27/20, 2:48 PM  

Beth, It sounds like quite an interesting watch. I wouldn't mind the subtitles, but I might mind the raw meat! thanks for the warning.

Vicki 6/27/20, 3:10 PM  

I'll watch this soon. it reminds me of a documentary I watched years ago.

Marg 6/28/20, 6:36 AM  

Many, many years ago a British celebrity chef called Ainsley Harriott did a series on BBQ around the world. It was very interesting to see what was similar and what was different!

Laurie C 6/28/20, 4:59 PM  

Coincidentally, we had Southern-style pork ribs today! My husband grilled them with a spice rub, but we ate them plain, no barbecue sauce!

Shaban 6/30/20, 6:15 AM  

All it does is inspire my appetite :<. We are still quarantined lol.


Greg 7/7/20, 5:19 PM  

This sounds awesome. And I know it's going to make me sooo hungry!

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