Celebrating July 4th

By Epoch Times Staff
Epoch Times Staff
Epoch Times Staff
July 1, 2009 Updated: July 25, 2009

All over America, July 4th, Independence Day, is celebrated by people from all walks of life and from all parts of the world. It is usually an all-day celebration with the rousing tunes of marching bands’ drums and brass instruments by day and the resounding thunder of fireworks by night. Meanwhile, hot grills and barbecues pits cook meat for families and friends to enjoy together. However, July 4th is not the only time for delicious barbeque, and America is not the only place with a barbeque tradition. The Epoch Times asked its reporters from around the world to share their experience with barbeque in their local countries. Here are a few of responses we got.

Hill Country Restaurant, New York City

By Nadia Ghattas
Epoch Times Staff

Slow cooked ribs are so tender and delicious. (Courtesy of Hill Country Texas Barbecue)
Slow cooked ribs are so tender and delicious. (Courtesy of Hill Country Texas Barbecue)
One of my favorite barbecue places in New York is around the corner from my office and I often frequent it. It is an authentic Texan market-style barbecue place called Hill Country that I think is unique. One of the owners and manager of Hill Country is Mark Glosserman, a former information technology expert, who decided to bring this Texan experience to New York from the heartland of barbecue, Lockhart, Texas.

Texas style barbeque is dry—the dry rubbed, flat-bottom and the moist brisket is more buttery, and is one of their specialties. This is what Texas barbeque is known for. Texans do not eat meat with barbeque sauce. At Hill Country, their authentic Texan-style barbeque uses a dry, simple spice rub with salt, pepper, and cayenne. The meat is then smoked for at least fifteen hours using post oak wood they bring from Texas. This type of oak belongs to the white oak family and gives a sweet smoky flavor to the meat and can be found abundantly in Lockhart, Texas, the barbeque capital of Texas.

Since pork and chicken are more of a neutral flavor, they lend themselves more to sauces. Contrast this with the wonderful Texas beef that doesn’t need sauces to be flavorful. At Hill Country, however, for those who have to have it, there is a specially made sauce called, “If You Got To Have It.” It is a delicious barbeque sauce made in-house.

Chilean Asado

By Anastasia Lettere
Epoch Times Staff 

Tourists share barbecued meat at 'Los Canallas' restaurant in downtown Santiago. (Geraldo Caso/AFP/Getty Images)
Tourists share barbecued meat at 'Los Canallas' restaurant in downtown Santiago. (Geraldo Caso/AFP/Getty Images)
To prepare asado, as barbeque is known in Chile, you don't need a special occasion. Perhaps a friend you hadn't see for a long time arrives. Perhaps it’s a birthday, a farewell, dinner on Sunday with the family, a weekend day at the beach, or even at work. If you don't have a reason, you can invent one to have a good time together. In the country, camping, in the garden, on the terrace of an apartment, or at the beach, you can make a fire on the ground or below the grill with wood or coal.

Everyone can prepare salad or vegetables in their homes and arrive with wine. One group may prepare many different foods and “pebre,” a Chilean condiment made of coriander, chopped onion, chopped tomato, olive oil, garlic, and ground spicy aji peppers that normally accompanies ssado or “chancho en piedra,” while others bring drinks. Prepare the fire carefully and then roast a whole lamb, pork, or different types of meat: beef, chicken, seafood, salmon, or congrio—starting usually with choripan, a sandwich of roast smoked pork sausage in good Chilean bread. One or more persons may be playing a guitar. With this type of gathering, singing, drinking, and eating all day and night, waiting for September 18th, Chile’s National Day, excellent asado is a must.

Belgian Barbeque

By Sofie Dumortier
Epoch Times Staff 

For barbeque the Belgian way, there is not necessarily any beer involved. People usually drink red or white wine at a barbecue party. Dessert may be made with the famous chocolate. However, a fruit-based dessert is more common. Begin the event with ordering meat from the local butcher.

Very often people invite friends or family on the same day that the barbeque is to be held, and for some, the added stress perhaps gives a thrill. After ordering the meat and fish, you go to the grocer or supermarket to buy tomatoes, white cabbage, lettuce, corn, potatoes, cucumber, or celeriac. After that, you pick up the meat and fish on your way home. Once home, you start cooking rice, pasta, and potatoes. The pasta is cooked “al dente” and the potatoes are cooked for just five minutes. Wash, slice, and chop the vegetables. Make a vinaigrette dressing.

Now, it is time to light the barbeque. In Belgium, one ingredient that cannot be missed for a barbecue, one that is not for sale is good weather. As the Belgian summers go, having nice weather where you organize a barbecue and create a wonderful atmosphere of warmth and family kinship and is rare. Sometimes there is a second barbeque device for preparing fish, such as a whole salmon wrapped in tin foil or trout stuffed with tomato and Provence herbs, wrapped in tin foil, or shrimp scampi.

For dessert, you can serve vanilla ice with strawberries or hot raspberry sauce, or you can wrap bananas in foil and put them on the barbeque.

The Israeli Version of July 4th

By Moranne Kaminski and Dina Gordon
Epoch Times Staff

A family spreads out for a picnic April 17, 2002 at Sacher Park in Jerusalem, Israel. April 17 is Independence Day in Israel. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
A family spreads out for a picnic April 17, 2002 at Sacher Park in Jerusalem, Israel. April 17 is Independence Day in Israel. (Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
The custom that is most identified with the Israeli Independence Day is mangal, "to make on the fire." Mangal is also the name of the equipment used, the barbecue grill. Every child in Israel remembers the first time he tasted the meat that came out of the mangal, after a night of fireworks and Hora dancing, the most popular Israeli folk dance. Every child remembers how he got close to the mangal with eyes burning from the smoke and had a bite of a piece of meat dripping fat. I cannot forget the juicy taste of the tender meat that was first carefully chosen from one of the best butchers, nor the juice that filled my mouth and dripped on my chin.

Starting the fire and roasting meat is the men’s job. Warm summer days call the men to shed their shirts and expose their chests, to put on their shorts and pull out their cooking talent. It is not clear to me where this custom of mangal on the morning after the Independence Day came from, and how it is connected to the national feelings that this day represents. In Israel, Independence Day is a relatively young holiday, only 61 years old, so it is possible that the custom of the mangal arrived from other countries, like Unites States, which has a big influence on our culture.

As only Jewish people know, holidays are celebrated with a lot of food, family, and joy. On this day the entire nation goes out to catch every piece of free spot on lawns, in parks, and even on traffic islands. Families are crowded together there for the mangal.

Aussie Barbie

By Laurel Andress
Epoch Times Staff 

Where can you find many Australians on the weekend, holidays, or even weeknights? Out in the parks or someone’s backyard attending an Aussie barbie, or barbeque. This pastime has become one of Australia’s most beloved customs. Any excuse will do, from “Dad’s cooking dinner tonight” to a birthday party, a fund-raiser, or part of a social event down at the local park. On special holiday weekends, like Christmas or New Year’s Day, a solitary reader will be happily sitting at a table beside a barbie in the park early in the morning to make sure family and friends have their favorite spot to celebrate, cook, and eat their specially chosen fare. The table area will be colorfully decorated with streamers and balloons blowing in the light summer breeze.

Close to the barbies is usually a covered children’s play area with swings and seesaws, climbing gyms, often with smaller versions for toddlers. The beach, sometimes in view or a short walk away, is ever inviting for a dip before eating. There’s always room to throw a ball around or play backyard cricket. The barbie itself can be a hot plate with an open wood or charcoal fire, an electric unit, or one of the latest you-beaut (Australian for exceptional or outstanding) gas grills.

Traditionally, everyone contributes to the must-have list that includes a good, cold Aussie beer, soft drinks for the kids, tomato sauce to go with the white bread, butter for the snags (sausages), and white buns to make a meat or veggie burger with lettuce, tomato, and beetroot. Chicken kebabs, potato salad, coleslaw, green salads, dips, chips, and fresh fruit are staples as well.

Tandoori Barbeque in Pakistan

By Aysha Haq
Epoch Times Staff 

TANDOORI CHICKEN: The secret of great chicken is marinating it overnight, and grilling it with great care. (The Epoch Times)
TANDOORI CHICKEN: The secret of great chicken is marinating it overnight, and grilling it with great care. (The Epoch Times)
Tandoori barbeque is popular in Pakistan and India. In Pakistan, one can easily find Tandoori barbeque in any central market or restaurant. Besides its availability in the marketplace, barbequed meat is a favorite part of the meal when extended family gets together year round. Especially during the cooler months, since it gets so hot in Pakistan during the summer, families often get together to enjoy each other’s company.

The ingredients usually consist of meat of your choice, usually chicken or mutton, and a marinade consisting of yogurt, lemon, garlic, ginger, cumin, red pepper, coriander, and salt. For a good Tandoori barbeque, it is essential the meat be marinated overnight.

In my family, my mother typically prepares the marinade, and my father typically uses tender care to cook the meat just right over an outdoor grill heated with coals. He diligently stands by the grill, brushing the meat with vegetable oil, while turning the meat often. In many extended families like mine, who live together, eating barbeque gives everyone involved with the meal a chance to cook and contribute something to the whole.

An uncle may buy a pile of naan bread from the market. A cousin might make a simple salad of lettuce, tomato, onions, lemons, and spices. Another aunt might contribute chutney made with tamarind, sugar, and spices. Someone else might make a yogurt salad, with pakoras, Indian fritters, and spices, to round off the meal that everyone eats with great gusto.

Barbeque in Italy

By Anastasia Lettere
Epoch Times Staff

This has been the site of many wonderful griglietas mixtas. (Anastasia Leterre/Epoch Times)
This has been the site of many wonderful griglietas mixtas. (Anastasia Leterre/Epoch Times)
In Italy, for eating the Grigliata, or barbeque, with the family or with friends, the day is not important. In the countryside, we usually can prepare in a special big barbeque outside in the garden or inside in the fireplace. Many people go to restaurants. In the restaurants, you can find big groups eating Grigliata mixta, which is a mix of different types of meat. In Italy, people never can forget the strict order of food and can’t forget the antipasto.

After the aperitif arrives the antipasto: a bit of bread with vegetables, tomatoes, chicken livers, prosciutto, and salami. You think you cannot eat any more, but then the first plate arrives with pasta, one of many different types of pasta with different types of sauces, vegetables, meat, and seafood. You came here to eat barbeque, so you could eat different types of meat, and you think that maybe they forgot the meat. But they did not. With salad, a lot of Italian bread and wine, some barbeque includes, for example, chicken and pigeon.

After you finish this plate the table is prepared with cheese and different types of fruit. If you like dessert, only now after fruit and with vino spumante (carbonated white wine, similar to champagne) can you can eat it. We finish with the classical short and concentrated coffee, cafe espresso. Is there more? Yes, for drinkers if you haven’t finish talking, there are grappa, vin santo, and different amaro [Italian herbal liqueur].

Epoch Times Staff
Epoch Times Staff