Every culture has a unique style, distinct flavors and culinary magic to create exciting dishes when they take to their backyard barbecues. Just about everybody loves to break out the barbecue and get grilling once warm, sunny weather returns to New Hampshire. But the usual fare of hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and steak can lose its allure after so many cookouts. Thanks to New Hampshire’s robust culinary diversity, several Granite State chefs are ready to offer some suggestions to spice things up.
Korean BBQ Grilling
The Office Lounge, Rye
Korean barbecue, or Gogigui, is a popular barbecue style involving marinated beef, pork or chicken on a tabletop grill.
The meat is often marinated in a sweet and savory sauce made from soy sauce, sugar, garlic and sesame oil. Once cooked, the meat is often wrapped in lettuce leaves and served with rice or various side dishes, such as kimchi and pickled vegetables.
Oneta Modern offers this grilling fare at the Office Lounge in the Seacoast town of Rye.
Modern describes herself as Black and Korean —her mom is Korean and her father is African American.
She says anyone can replicate Korean BBQ Ribs or a Korean Beef Taco, two of her offerings, at home. She starts by making a simple marinade at home which she uses while hosting “Sunday Fundays” with her family and friends.
“First I take a slice of beef. You can get any beef from McKinnon’s (butcher shop) or Market Basket,” she said. “Get any kind of steak. You can use cheap steak or expensive steak. It’s better with medium or sirloin strips cut up. I slice up this beef, and then I add chopped ginger.”
Modern then adds a little bit of soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic. And if you like it spicy, add some gochujang red pepper paste. Mix the marinade and then mix the beef in, and put it in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes, she explains.
Once the beef has been mixed with the marinade, Modern cooks it in a sizzling pan with no oil.
“You don’t have to add any oil because the marinade adds the juices,” she says. “Then you just fry it up in the pan. Add a little bit of garlic salt if you want. You don’t have to because the flavor is there with the soy sauce.”
Modern explains that rice and vegetables are the perfect sides to complete your Korean barbecue.
“I can assure you tonight, just with what I said, you can make that recipe and you’re going to be like, ‘Damn, I’m a cook,’” says Modern.
Carribean / Haitian Grilling
HomeStyle Catering, Nashua
The word “barbecue” is believed to have originated from the Caribbean term “barbacoa,” which refers to a method of slow-cooking meat over a wooden platform.
For Haitian-American Jerry Victor of HomeStyle Catering in Nashua, the key to a good barbecue is a good rub.
“Personally, my (secret) to a lot of the grilling that I do is the perfect rub for whatever meat you’re going to cook,” he says. “You can get away with not marinating as much, depending on what style of food you want to cook.”
And you can elevate a cookout by just adding a little sweetness to the experience, says Victor. For example, try grilling fruit with a dash of brown sugar,
“Anytime we’re doing any type of grilling at home, I grill fruit, like peaches, putting a little bit of brown sugar on the peaches while grilling. So good. Pineapple is another one I love to grill,” he says.
And instead of meat, Victor suggests adding fish and more vegetables for a lighter cookout.
“We love grilling corn. In the summertime I eat less meat than I would in the winter, because you feel too heavy in that heat — especially when you’re in the kitchen. You’re cooking all day and are just hot all the time,” Victor says.
Exotic spices aside, Victor’s secret to a perfect rub is actually pretty simple: combine salt and sugar.
“It just elevates everything,” he adds. And if you want to do a marinade, Victor suggests honey, because he likes the caramelization it achieves on the grill.
Little Lebanon To Go, Dover
Lebanese cuisine features a variety of dishes that are commonly grilled or roasted, including meats, vegetables and seafood. Lebanese barbecue is known for its flavorful marinades, spices and herbs that are used to enhance the taste of the grilled food.
For Michele Fakoury, owner of Little Lebanon To Go in Dover, her secret to grilling success involves marinating in lemon and olive oil.
“Mediterranean food is known as the very healthiest food in the world,” she says. “We include vegetables, olive oil and lemon. All this substance that gives energy to your body and is really very healthy,” she says.
Fakoury says that anyone who wants to enjoy a Lebanese-style barbecue at home should pick quality meats and let them marinate for at least a couple days ahead of time. Then incorporate the meats with Lebanese Seven Spice — a combination of black pepper, cinnamon, ground cloves, coriander, cumin, nutmeg and allspice.
This article is featured in the spring-summer 2023 issue of 603 Diversity.
603 Diversity’s mission is to educate readers of all backgrounds about the exciting accomplishments and cultural contributions of the state’s diverse communities, as well as the challenges faced and support needed by those communities to continue to grow and thrive in the Granite State.
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