Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What happened to real bbqs?

Ah yes, the charcoal, smoke from the grill, drinks and friends, hot dogs and bur... wait, what happened to the burgers?!? It's barbeque season, and as barbeque is one of the things I think the US does best in terms of food, I take pride in firing up the grill with some regularity out here as well. There are definitely some things I miss though, like burgers!

This past weekend I helped organize a little barbeque, and while I was grabbing a spot and setting up the grill, the Japanese co-organizers were over at the store picking up the meat and everything. Knowing from previous experience, I explicitly told them to pick up burgers and sausages that could be placed in a bun, resembling what you or I might know as a "hot dog" (go ahead, do the airquotes along with me).

Japanese people love barbequing, but the concept of a burger on the grill seems to be utterly lost to them. My partners in crime come back with the standard Japanese faire - yakiniku-style meat (small little bite-sized pieces that can be eaten easily with chopsticks - see above), yakisoba, veggies, and some quite nice bacon-wrapped asparagus sticks. What's missing? Where's my burgers?? They tell me that the store, while touting itself online as a "bbq specialty" market that even rents out grills and other ancillary barbeque equipment and furniture, does not carry burgers. Or buns, for that matter. That sir is an outrage!! It is a rather standard outrage here though as I mentioned, because I've been to many a barbeque in Japan and never see them pull out burgers. I should note, however, that speaking to a German attendee he said that Germans don't really do burgers either... he was with me on the sausages though.

So yesterday, feeling slightly unsatiated with my whole barbeque experience, I went to the store and bought some hamburger meat and made some hamburgers, fired up the grill yet again and topped them off with some Jack Daniel's Honey BBQ sauce, with Old Bay seasoned fries on the side (it's a MD thing). Situation tastily averted.

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