I like to watch documentaries about Food, Sports, Crime etc on Netflix, but I always wondered when is there going to be a good documentary on one of my favorite things to do all year long: Barbecue. While there has been amazing food documentaries that are now becoming the norm, they tended to focus on either a specific group of chefs to documentaries about either Sushi or even General Tso’s Chicken, there has never been a true documentary that focuses on the amazing cooking technique of Barbecue until now.
Australian director Matthew Salleh’s first feature, “Barbecue,” embraces a now common food documentary approach that was made famous by gourmet food documentaries, Barbecue focusing on different cultures interpretation of barbecue from across 12 countries including Japan, Australia, Mongolia, Sweden, and The Philippines: Barbecue will leave even the most passionate about barbecue learning and wanting to try a new type of recipe and they will want to expand their barbecue knowledge and step outside your barbecue comfort zone.
Barbecue is about more than grilling a piece of meat. It is a deeply entrenched ritual, an act performed religiously around the world, a ceremony refined over millennia. Every culture has some form of barbecue. But what is it about cooking meat over fire a thing that brings communities and families together? Barbecue is a tool for celebration. It is the pride of nations. It is something that transcends cultural differences.
Filmmakers Matthew Salleh and Rose Tucker have travelled the globe, finding what it is that makes us human, what unites us in an increasingly uncertain world. Filmed obsessively over two years, in 13 languages, Barbecue is intimately told by those who stoke the flames and turn the meat. This is their story, told on the world stage. The result is a densely woven tapestry of thoughts and moments from a truly diverse world. With glorious cinematic images in 4K, and a full orchestral score, ‘Barbecue’ is a symphony of meat and fire told in epic detail.
Barbecue looks not only to the past, but also the future. From Shisanyama in Africa, to Engangsgrill in Sweden, people light fires, gather, and talk. This isn’t just a film about food – it’s about why life is worth living. From the Syrian border to an outback town in Australia, barbecue is all around us. We celebrate life through it. We find unity in it. We discover answers through it
Review of Barbecue: A Netflix Documentary
There are a lot of great stories across America about people’s passion for barbecue. Either recipes are passed down from generation to generation or if you happen to stumble upon learning how to barbecue yourself and then sharing with others your passion for barbecue, no matter what we are all true ambassadors for this great cooking technique and do our best to spread the “barbecue gospel.” For many of us, barbecue is a unique American cooking technique that has gone viral across the world due to reality tv shows, cookbooks and websites and blogs that help spread the word about barbecue to millions across the world. However if you really think about it cultures from around the world use fire and smoke to cook all different types of foods with using local customs and ingredients the flavor might change however the use of using an open fire is something primal and using flames to grill meat and all eating together it is something our ancestors might have done no matter where you were born or currently live.
What is different and ultimately makes Barbecue a great documentary is that not only focuses on barbecue in America but the documentary focuses on how other cultures from around the world use open fires to cook some amazing meats and recipes. After watching the documentary I was so hungry and wanted to barbecue or grill something and try a different recipe from a different part of the world or just fire up my grill and make a perfect piece of grilled chicken thighs or wing. What makes a documentary amazing to me is when the documentary is over and you are inspired to make a change or learn something from the documentary. For me, after watching Barbecue I felt my passion for cooking over an open fire flair up and I got excited again to grill and challenge myself for my next adventure. I think that grilling or barbecue is in our DNA but it is up to us to ignite that passion into something positive.
In addition to the great feeling that this documentary left me, this documentary cinematography was just amazing. The visuals of the finished food, cooking of the food, the amazing scenery pictures, interview, music and the use of high definition photography worked so well together and left me wanting so much more.
The only negative aspect of the documentary that I found is that each segment on the different cultures was a bit formulaic where you get introduced to the culture, see them cooking their spin on barbecue and then rinse and repeat. I did love the personal interviews that guided you through the different cultures but would have liked to see a bit more deeper dive into different recipes and also would have liked to know the names of the recipes that were being cooked in each culture.
After watching this documentary I learned so much about different cultures and their ways of cooking over an open fire or just how “barbecue” means differently to so many different people. I think that the film makers of Barbecue did a great job in highlighting different cultures and what barbecue cooking means to them not just American’s but also the different approaches and how others think about barbecue and its influence on there culture. To me, it is worth the time to sit and watch while you barbecue yourself, hey you might learn something new to try!
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