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Help with Asian inspired barbecue menu

We are having a group of people over for Saturday lunch and as the weather will be nice a barbecue is on the cards. We live in a place where throwing something on the barbecue is the norm and I am bored of it so I thought maybe theming it might make it more appealing to me. We are competent cooks and have had a couple of asian themed dinner parties so I was hoping to do the same for a barbecue. I have a number of interresting salads I can do but does anyone have any tried and tested ideas - maybe drumsticks or fish marinades. Actually anything. There are no dietary restrictions and there will be 8-10 of us. We live on a small island and unbelievably can't get whole fresh fish (which would be my first idea) but can get most things.

Thank you!

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  1. One of my recent favorites is Korean Marinade Chicken legs. Even though it has some spice, it's not spicy.

    2 heaping T kochu jang paste (I usually buy Assi brand, comes in a rectangular red plastic tub with a snap-on flip lid and the label reads "Hot Pepper Paste")
    ½ T sugar (brown sugar)
    1 T soy sauce
    1 T water
    scallions, chopped
    Garlic powder/minced fresh garlic
    A few drops of sesame oil (optional)

    2 Replies
    1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

      Up all ingredients, add sesame seeds, marinate beef short ribs (sliced thin) and grill.
      Nice accompaniment; cold vermicelli noodles tossed with matchstick cucumber/carrot, sesame, nouc mam, scallion, been sprouts, rice wine vinegar.

      1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

        I found using 'chicken wings' even yummier!

      2. People always love skewers, don't they? Plus you can make them ahead and do a variety of them with fun dipping sauces.

        I haven't made this, but want to try it. Definitely a fun thing for guests, with the meat speared on lemon grass! Grilled Beef on Lemon Grass Skewers http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/4656/...

        1. Foolproof grilled chicken- brined, and a lively fish sauce, cilantro and lime vinaigrette served alongside : http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

          or this Viet-grilled chicken, a favorite recipe for several years with shorter prep time: http://blog.washingtonpost.com/mighty...

          or grill a whole fresh fish, stuffed with ginger slices, bruised lemongrass and scallions, and serve with nuoc cham. This is my favorite recipe: http://vietworldkitchen.typepad.com/b...


          1. What about yakitori (Japanese skewers) like you get at a Japanese drinking place?

            You make your yakitori sauce (mainly soy and mirin, reduced), then you brush that on skewers of chicken to grill. You can also do chicken skin skewers with salt, and one of my favourites, chunks of green onion wrapped in bacon and then grilled.

            If you want to go really authentic, you can do chicken hearts, gizzard, liver and cartilidge the same way, but that might be too much for your guests. :-)

            1. If you can get the ingredients below, this grilled chicken has never failed me.

              Thai Grilled Chicken with Turmeric Marinade for 1 chicken

              Grind garlic, peppercorns, turmeric and lemongrass. Mix with the rest of the ingredients. Marinate the chicken.
              1 teaspoon fish sauce
              4-5 cloves garlic
              1 stalk lemon grass
              1 teaspoon peppercorns
              1 tablespoon salt
              1 2-inch piece fresh Turmeric -can be hard to find, substitute 1/2 Tablespoon of powdered turmeric.


              1. I would make kalbi. Get flanken cut beef short ribs (some butchers know korean ribs and korean markets have them of course) then marinate in sesame oil, salt, soy, sugar (raw or palm), crushed asian pear, shaved carrots, frenched onion, tons of ground black pepper, sliced long hot green peppers, and a little mirin or sake. The following day, scrap the veg from the ribs and grill. Serve with steamed rice and bean paste and green leaf lettuce for wrapping.

                1 Reply
                1. Thank you all - some lovely ideas. I love the idea of Kalbi but having said we can get most things here, I wasn't really thinking. Unfortunately I have never seen beef ribs or Korean ingredients (for those Korean chicken legs) but I have definitely got some inspiration so thank you. Within the confines of what is available here skewers and/or whole roast chicken look like a good plan - maybe a range of skewers beef (maybe with some of the kalbi flavours), chicken, shrimp etc.

                  Thanks very much!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Rocky74

                    I've done an Asian BBQ before. I used a marinade for shrimp of marmelade, ginger, cilantro, chilis and lime and served that as an appetizer, along with a crab and coconut dip. For the main course I did Gourmet's Asian BBQ sauce on chicken wings and legs. It's hoisin based and very good. Then for side dishes I did an Asian slaw with a peanut dressing and a gingery noodle and mango salad. It was a really fun take on a usual BBQ.

                    1. re: katecm

                      kate, what's the crab and coconut dip all about? That sounds really yummy!

                      1. re: Ikkeikea

                        It too came from the Gourmet cookbook (can you tell I got the cookbook shortly before this BBQ?). It really worked well with the whole theme and was very delicious. I confess to not making the plantain chips - too much else going on that day. I got rice crackers instead.


                        1. re: katecm

                          That looks ridiculously delicious! Thanks for sharing.

                  2. Are oysters available on your small island? A Hawaiian born friend of ours frequently cooks oysters on the half shell on the grill, drizzled with a teriyaki sauce. You cook over high heat just until the sauce begins to bubble and they're ready.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mandycat

                      Unfortunately not as that would be so impressive! For an islamd, the selection of fresh seafood is hopeless!

                    2. One of Steve Raichlen books has a recipe for Vietnamese Meatballs that I make frequently.

                      Essentially ground beef with lots of fine chopped garlic and seasonned with fish sauce, form into balls, wrap each with a thai basil leaf (I've substituted regular basil and lived to tell of it), then skewer and grill. My MIL recently gave me a set of grilling kebab baskets (the kind of grilling gimcrack I typically mock), and it has turned out to be an absolute godsend for this recipe. Any leftovers make a hell of a bahn mi.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: laststandchili

                        These sound great. I presume minced pork would also work.

                        I used to scoff at those basket things - until I tried using one!

                        1. re: Rocky74

                          I've done pork, and they're fine, but I like the beef, or a 50/50 beef/pork blend better.

                      2. Satays would work well and you can make them with chicken, beef, pork or even shrimp. Or marinate chicken pieces (drums or wings work well) with dark soy sauce, lots of fresh grated ginger, lots of chopped garlic, some ground turmeric and some red chilli flakes, then grill the next day. Anything teriyaki would be good. For fish, you can use teriyaki sauce brushed on, or just marinate in sesame oil, soy sauce, and some grated ginger. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top after grilling.

                        1. I have done this for Asian barbeque and people seem to love it. I do.
                          2 1/4 lb Pork (boneless pork butt)
                          2 tb Soy sauce, light
                          2 Garlic cloves; sliced thin
                          2 c Water (more may be needed)
                          2 tb Soybean condiment (mein see)
                          2 Star anise, whole
                          3 Green onions; cut in slivers
                          1 c Rice wine, Chinese (or inexpensive dry Sherry)
                          1/2 ts White pepper, ground
                          2 ts Brown sugar
                          3 ts Five spice powder, depending on taste
                          1 ts Ginger; fresh, cut julienne

                          Take out pork a bit in advance so it gets closer to room temp. Rub with mixture of white pepper, brown sugar and five spice. Put in slow cooker or ovenproof casserole. Cook at 275 for 5 - 8 hours or until it falls apart (like traditional pulled pork). You can use the dipping sauce below:

                          Dipping Sauce
                          Mix 1 part Mirin with 3 parts Hoisin.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: travelerjjm

                            Wow - sounds amazing ad filed away for next time!

                          2. One of my favs. So much flavor from minimal ingredients. Would be good with chicken drums, but better yet with boneless thighs.

                            Thai-style BBQ Chicken
                            3# chicken
                            1 heaping T. minced garlic
                            2 bunches cilantro roots only (save leaves for other use)
                            1/4c. fish sauce
                            1 can coconut milk
                            1t. black pepper

                            Puree all in blender then pour over chicken. Marinate overnight. Grill and serve with Thai sweet chili sauce. Since you've got the grill going do assorted veggies. Great accompaniment.

                            13 Replies
                            1. re: letsindulge

                              The recipe we are going for is very similar to this. Thanks!

                              1. re: Rocky74

                                This particular combination of ingredients produces a very tender, succulent chicken. Have scaled to up to 50# with great results. Curious as to the difference of your marinade to mine. IAC Happy BBQ!

                              2. re: letsindulge

                                LI, i made these yesterday - marinated them for only about 6 hours, used bone-in chicken thighs, and as I live in an apartment, broiled them, but other than that followed your simple recipe and LOVED them. so tender, crispy skinned, flavorful. and yes, so easy. thanks for posting this.

                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                  You're very welcome MC. It's one of my go-to recipes. Equally delicious on pork baby-back ribs too!

                                  1. re: letsindulge

                                    Along similar lines (it uses lots of cilantro)....this is my go to thai BBQ chicken recipe.

                                    I use boneless chicken thigh's for quicker cooking. Cut the pieces smaller about the size of 2 inch x 2 inches and they fire up quickly.


                                    Eat it as is, on a salad, in a sandwich, on a taco, on rice,...it's really good.

                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                        MC, did you use the cilantro roots or did you use stems? Finding root-on cilantro here requires a trip to thai town and I'm curious how much difference it makes.

                                        1. re: mebby

                                          I use coriander stalks and the leaves...whatever I have is what I use. Looking over that recipe from the blog I could've swore there was mint in the dipping sauce.

                                          EDIT NOTE>>>> Now that I reference my own recipe I'm right that there's a handful of fresh mint in the dipping sauce as well. Add that to the recipe posted on that site - not sure if it was a omission or the post'r doesn't like mint.

                                          1. re: mebby

                                            wait, i took that recipe to mean cilantro STALKS/STEMS rather than leaves, not roots (just reread LI's initial post.... i used stems, but some leaves made their way in there too. i too wonder how different it would have been with the roots....

                                            1. re: mariacarmen

                                              I was just curious because I know that cilantro roots are often specified in Thai recipes and I was curious as to how much of a difference it makes. I've read that the flavor is subtler, but you can sub the stems and a few leaves. But since so many authentic recipes call for the roots I always wonder what I'm missing...

                                              And, OK, thai town is only a couple miles away but I'm too time-starved to go for just one ingredient when the appeal of the recipe was not just the deliciousness but the ease! I did read today that you can buy frozen cilantro root in some Asian markets though...

                                              Regardless, I think this recipe is in my immediate future.

                                              1. re: mebby

                                                I generally don't use the roots...not that I can't, I just don't. I do use leaves and stems though. Relative to the whole plant, there isn't a lot of root, so use what ever you have.

                                                If you can, get a decent oyster sauce though. I use Lee Kum Kee.

                                                The one with the lady in a boat in the picture


                                                1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                                                  Thanks -- I have that oyster sauce -- and the cute label is a definite bonus!

                                                2. re: mebby

                                                  no i get it - i'm curious too. we'll just have to wait to see if Let's Indulge responds (i followed that recipe, not the one with the oyster sauce. nothing against Luv to Eat's recipe, i just saw LI's first, and it had so few ingredients, i had to try it.)

                                    1. Many thanks everyone. In the end we are going for Thai style drumsticks - marinated overnight, baked in a low oven and finished off on the barbecue. Also a few wee tenderloins of beef loc lac style and a Vietnamese fish. So a bit confused but keeping it in one little corner of Asia! Sides are a crisp veg and sesame omelette salad and a green mango salad

                                      1. I went to a college graduation party hosted by two Chinese families. They had a huge basket of the big lettuce leaves and a buffet of fillings including bbq shrimp and chicken, vegetable slaws, noodles, minced peanuts, scallions, etc. and a variety of sauces. The wraps were delicious.
                                        I can't wait to serve this at my next party.

                                        1. I've got a couple of go-to recipes for marinades...but I like marinating my proteins for at least 24 hours to really get the flavor in the meat.
                                          Marinade #1 (perfect for chicken...I use it for drumsticks and thighs because I love dark meat, but have used it for white as well)
                                          3 tbsp garlic powder
                                          2 tbsp brown sugar
                                          1/2 - 1 tsp ground ginger (more if you like the heat)
                                          1 tsp sesame oil
                                          1/4 cup soy sauce
                                          salt and pepper to taste
                                          Marinade #2 (chicken, beef, or pork)
                                          Salt, pepper, soy sauce protein
                                          Glaze with the following teriyaki sauce:
                                          1/2 cup soy sauce
                                          1/2 cup sugar
                                          2 tbsp cornstarch
                                          1 tbsp grated ginger (more if you like ginger)
                                          1 tbsp grated garlic (more if you like garlic)
                                          1 tsp rice wine vinegar
                                          In a sauce pot over medium heat, combine sugar and all but 2 tbsp of the soy sauce. Separately, mix the 2 tbsp of soy sauce and the cornstarch together. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the ginger, garlic, and rice wine vinegar. Add the cornstarch-soy mixture when the sauce pot comes to a gentle simmer. Cook until sauce thickens to your desired consistency. I prefer a thick sauce.