Paraguay is home of the largest one-day open-air barbecue in the world. That’s right folks, don’t touch that dial.
On October 26, 2008, in the township of Mariano Roque Alonso, on the outskirts of Asunción, there was a real shaker. They fired up the barbecue (in this case, open fires over an area 60 by 100 metres, about a football field) and threw a fundraiser for women who were victims of mistreatment and for children with leukemia.
Beef is really big business in Paraguay and 30,000 civic-minded souls showed up at the gate and paid their three dollars before consuming 61,600 pounds of meat in six hours. No mention whatsoever of barbecue sauce.
The event was called, “Todo bicho que camina va al asador” (Every critter walking goes to the barbecue).
It must have been like a giant carnivore Olympic games.
The previous record holder was Philadelphia where, in the allotted eight hours, the great unwashed consumed 21,700 pounds of grilled meat on one fine day in 1996. However much meat you eat, it is still a good idea to eat some vegetables or, like Ju Duoqi, a visual artist, at least make art with them.
A couple of my favourite pieces by Duoqi were a van Gough portrait using cucumber and carrot, and a fabulous rendering of Picasso’s The Dream, in tofu. I’m not even sure if tofu is an actual vegetable but, if it is, it shouldn’t be.
Incidentally, not a Monet in sight.
Only a few vegetables are used to make Jamaican Jerk Chicken and there are any number of recipes in existence with most island cooks having their own ‘secret’ concoction. The recipes have one thing in common: they all feature fierce heat.
‘Jerk’ refers neither to the cook nor to one of the ingredients, but to a 250-year-old Jamaican cooking method. You can buy packaged jerk ingredients, but making your own is not difficult.
There’s going to be enough reaction once you eat this. Jamaican islanders do not hurry all that much and would let the marinade sit for the full 24 hours (the four-hour designation is strictly for non-islanders). Grill your meat until the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees.
While waiting for the marinade, try your hand at a little cooking humour:
Sontalia had a little lamb,
Then she wanted jerky.
Now it goes down quite a treat,
Tastes a bit like turkey.
Or, how about Conrad Black’s new barbecue apron: Kiss The Crook.
You get the idea.
For the community-conscious designated drivers who attend to the spirited crowd, mix two ounces of water, three ounces of orange juice and three ounces of cranberry juice for a palatable, non-alcoholic beverage.
The rest of you can soothe the heat with a nice frosty cold one.