In countries like Sweden, around 65% of people with electric grills prefer outdoor grills, with garden parties and outdoor lunches holding sway when the weather permits. Far from belong limited to the summer, barbecues are celebrated on warm days in Autumn, and indeed, many would say that this season in Scandinavia is one of the most flavorful of the year. Just now, Scandinavians are celebrating the flavors of autumn with a Scandinavian barbecue.
The air grows crisper, the temperature drops, and comfort foods abound. Of the many cooking styles that appear in the fall, barbecue, grilled, and smoked foods appeal, owing to the wonderful warm sensations they bring and the myriad of delicious sauces and sides that make for a perfect meal. Below are just a few ways in which you can give your barbecue meals a distinctly Scandinavian flavor this autumn.
Choosing Your Grill
Most Scandinavians have their own home-cooked barbecue set-up, but if you are in Scandinavia for a visit or you don’t want to invest in a home grill, you may be tempted to buy an engångsgrill (or one-time grill), which you can find at typical convenience and grocery stores. These are disposable aluminum pans that people use on beaches and in parks. They are cheap and easy to use, but the downside is their environmental footprint.
Titti Qvarnström, the head chef of Malmö’s renowned Bloom in the Park, recommends simply digging a hole in sand, topping the hole with a mesh grill, piling on some charcoal, burning it, and using an aluminium container as a pot to cook freshly caught fish. Keep your grilling experience safe by avoiding the use of accelerants, preheating your grill (so your meat does not bond to the metal), and making sure to marinade meat beforehand. Doing so creates a protective barrier on meat and helps stop heterocyclic amines (HCAs) from forming on meat.
By clicking the image below you can learn about a Swedish BBQ revolution.
Top Choices for Grilled Meat
At a typical barbecue or grill party in Sweden in the Autumn, you can expect to find a host of different meat types—including korv (sausages), shellfish, salmon, veal liver, and lamb. Game is also big in the autumn in many Scandinavian countries. For instance, in Norway, traditional barbecued dishes can include reindeer (served with game sauce), whale steaks, and mutton chops. Marinades are not as sweet as traditional sweet barbecue sauces in the US. A simple but well-loved recipes involves marinading meat in a blend of vegetable oil, beer, soy sauce, garlic gloves, onion, and smashed whole black pepper. Feel free to add a little jalapeño chili if you like things spicy!
To learn more about how to serve Norwegian fish at your outdoor barbeque, just click the image below.
Fruit and Vegetable Sides
Scandinavians also enjoy celebrating seasonal fruits during their barbecue bashes. Skewer up your favorite autumn fruits—including apples, pears, and strawberries. Of course, vegetables make the perfect sides so instead of serving mash or fries, boost the antioxidant goodness of your meal with root vegetables like squash, carrots, and parsnips. These ingredients can also form part of a warm soup or sautéed dish to accompany your grilled meats. Swedish yellow pea soup will warm your guests up while they are waiting for meat to grill, while a lovely Vitkål sallader (featuring cabbage tossed in a warm vinaigrette) will be perfect once your meat dishes have been served. Don’t forget to bring corn-on-the-cob. It’s a staple at most Scandinavian barbecues, as are cherry tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms, and onions. If you love umami flavors, opt for chanterelle or porcini mushrooms. Pop them directly on the grill or in your favorite side soup.
A myriad of berries grows in Scandinavia in the autumn, and just a few you can use to make beautiful sauces to accompany your grilled meat and vegetable fests include lingonberries, bilberries, and elderberries. It is easy to make lingonberry sauce (a firm favorite) and you can do so in advance, reducing the amount of work you have on the day of your barbecue party. Simply place around 4 cups of clean berries in a pan with ½ cup of water and heat to boiling point. Add 1 cup of sugar and simmer for around 10 minutes, stirring the mixture. Finally, place the pan in cold water and stir the sauce for around 2 minutes. Refrigerate the sauce and serve it cold with your grilled fare.
Scandinavians love a good barbecue, and they don’t let the coolness of autumn stop them from enjoying an outdoor get-together. To prepare a barbecue in the winter, aim to combine your favorite meat dishes with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Make sure to follow traditional recipes for delicious starters and sides, ranging from warm soup to delightfully fruity sauces.
Celebrating the Flavors of Autumn With a Scandinavian Barbecue, written dedicatedly for Daily Scandinavian by Karoline Gore. Karoline is a freelance writer from Stoke on Trent in the UK who left the corporate grind when she started a family and has never looked back. She enjoys contributing to a range of online publications on the topics that are important to her.
Feature image (on top): © Joshua Kantarges/Unsplash
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