Netflix to show ‘Barbecue’ about grilling culture around the world

“Barbecue” a film about grilling culture around the world, which premiered at the South by Southwest film festival, is slated to start airing on Netflix on August 15, 2017. The documentary, created by Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker, goes to a dozen parts of the world to see how people marry meat to fire to create something delicious. The places that “Barbecue” goes to include Mongolia, Syria, Japan and, of course, Texas.

Barbecue fans like to say that ten minutes after early humans discovered how to make fire they found out how to put cuts of meat over it to use flame and smoke to make a meal. Barbecuing was likely a communal effort in Neolithic times, just like backyard barbecuing is now. It is entirely possible that the seeds of civilization were planted by the first grillers, with the cooking and eating of a meal a chance for people to gather and exchange ideas and relax from a hard day of survival when people lived in caves and hunted with weapons of flint.

Cooking with fire is an art that various cultures have approached differently. Some people cook their meat directly over the fire, turning it so that it cooks evenly on all sides. Others, especially with massive cuts of meat like a beef brisket or a pork shoulder, cook the meat low and slow, using indirect heat.

Preparing the meat is just as varied, even within a particular culture. Does one use a wet rub or a dry rub? What sort of herbs and spices go best with which cut of meat? In a sense, there is no one correct answer. Many ways exist to prepare meat for its date with fire.

The tools that pitmasters use to barbecue are as many and varied as the human imagination. In America, people use a Webber-style grill for direct heat cooking or a smoker for low and slow barbecue. In Japan, bits of meat and veggies go on a hibachi grill. In India, meat, dripping with sauces and spices, goes on long skewers that are inserted into a giant clay pot with heated charcoal at the bottom called a tandoor oven. Other cultures have their own tools to cook with fire, some by just digging a pit in the ground and filling it with wood or charcoal.

“Barbecue” is likely a documentary that will be best viewed while having a real barbecue. For most people, the sight of meat cooking on fire is likely to induce great hunger. And that is a good thing.