Bringing American Barbecue to Japan


Khoa grilling up a storm
(I kid you not, Khoa’s ability to grill delicious meats is one of the things that attracted me to him)



We’ve been busy.  Very busy.  But it was all worth it because we were able to bring American BBQ to 75 (of the 600) people on our island. 


Last Sunday was a PTA beach day for the elementary school and all 29 elementary school children and their parents came to enjoy the event.  We were also in charge of feeding those beach goers and this was going to be their first time eating American barbecue.  Talk about pressure! 






Here’s the menu that we created for 75 people:

Pork ribs smothered in Khoa’s homemade BBQ sauce
(notice how many guys are crowded around the grill, checking out what Khoa is doing)


Marinated vegetable kabobs



Avocado and tomato parmesan pasta salad
(yes, I made up that horrendously long name)


On Saturday we spent 5 ½ hours in the kitchen prepping food, another 3 hours on Sunday morning, and then another hour cooking on the barbecues at the beach.  It was a lot of work and extremely hot (32 degrees Celsius with 80% humidity), but it was great to see everyone’s reaction when Khoa brought out the racks of ribs and plunked them down on the barbecue grill.  Everyone was really impressed by the size of the ribs.  Big cuts of meat are hard to come by in Japan, so you can imagine everyone’s surprise when they saw the huge hunks of meat sizzling away on the grill.  I couldn’t stop smiling.  We then took out Khoa’s homemade BBQ sauce and began coating the racks with it.  All the dads clamored around as these two crazy Americans drowned the meat in sauce while it was still on the grill.  Japanese-style barbecue consists of thinly cut bite-sized meat and vegetables grilled on an open BBQ set [no lid], taken directly off the grill, dipped in sauce, and eaten as you go.  Us Americans were doing it backwards!  Sauce and seasoning on the meat before you grill it?  Say it ain’t so!  But, I think this style of cooking delicious meats caught on as a few people, in true American barbecue fashion, decided to cover their Japanese-style meat with Khoa’s barbecue sauce and then grill it.   


Japanese-style Barbecue
(You know you’re in Oki when they bust out the sea snails [top left corner of the grill])


Khoa’s BBQ Sauce
It’s goooood!



I don’t think Khoa is willing to part with his special barbecue sauce recipe, but just take my word for it, it’s GOOOOD!  (it is, in fact, the best BBQ sauce I’ve tasted, but I might be a sliiiight bit biased :P).  However, everyone at the barbecue at least mildly enjoyed the sauce, coming back and slathering their ribs with even more of the vinegary goodness. 





The barbecue, although stressful and time consuming, was a very nice way to share our culture with the people of Chibu.


2 thoughts on “Bringing American Barbecue to Japan

  1. kitsunedaifuku August 1, 2012 / 12:28 pm

    Wow nice job guys!!

  2. Tess August 19, 2012 / 12:18 pm

    That looks so great! I’m stressing out about having 11 guests at the end of this month serving a mostly Japanese menu: they all know I have a Japanese cooking blog and expect something special. A good old American grill looks so much easier. LOL. They are mostly Jewish so ribs would be out anyway…

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