Welcome to the Barcelona BBQ Blog

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Welcome to the Barcelona BBQ Blog

Barcelona is “The Barbecue Capital of Europe” and I want to celebrate it here. My name is Brian Heinen, and this is my Barcelona BBQ Blog!

brianbarcelonabbqThat’s me in the photo above, the one wearing the hat and red Bob Ross t-shirt. The other guy in the photo is my friend Adrian, a super-talented food stylist and photographer, and one of several barbecue enthusiasts who will be participating in this ongoing homage to food.

And that’s Barcelona in the background. There’s no city like it–a cosmopolitan community with an average annual temperature of 20º C/ 72º F–plenty of sunshine, beautiful beaches, exceptional local food products, wine, craft beers, and interesting people from around the world, all coexisting in a paella of quality life.

Barcelona BBQ - Barbecue Capital of Europe  Barcelona BBQ - Barbecue Capital of Europe

Barcelona has a great barbecue tradition, now let’s celebrate it.


Barcelona is renowned as a culinary hot spot including 20,000+ restaurants and bars fill up year round–it’s brimming with small neighborhood dive-spots, traditional local destinations, world-class eateries and Michelin-star, celebrity chefs, and every neighborhood boasts a farmer’s market, such as La Boqueria off Las Ramblas–good eating is always around-the-corner for the inhabitants.

I’ve been living here for 13 years. I come from Southern California; swimming pools, movie stars, Botox, Rock&Roll, and barbecues. Barbecuing is a way of life in the United States – Kansas City, Memphis, Austin and all the small towns in between (blues, beer and BBQ are some of the best things about my birth country).

Boqueria Gourmand Book

Photo courteous of the Boqueria Gourmand Book by PhotoMargaret

When people think about barbecuing, Barcelona is not normally in the conversation, but it should be!  My first years here, I tried to leave my “Americano” ways behind and delve into experiencing tapas, paellas, pinchos, platos combinados and what I was thought was the local-style of eating.

My perception was that barbecuing did not seem a part of it, not sophisticated enough, the locals did not appreciate it, there was no history or culture of this on the Mediterranean. I would wait for my yearly visit with my girlfriend to Brazil and her family´s rodizio to get my hands-on barbecuing fix. That is what I thought.

Brasilian Rodizio in Rio Preto

Fernanda at a local rodizio, Farroupilha, in Rio Preto, Brazil.

But during the summers in Barcelona, I often attended South American churrascos; in Octobers, we roasted chestnuts over an open fire on our terrace; almost every weekend in winter was highlighted by a Calçatada, and half the restaurants here had carne a la brasa (fire-grilled meats) on their menus. I realized that Barcelona actually had a popular barbecue and grilling tradition, but few people called it for what it was.

In the same way that pinchos were from San Sebastian and Bilboa, tapas from Sevilla and Granada, paella from Valencia, barbacoa was from Barcelona.

I experienced a culinary community with a tradition of fresh local produce, grilled fish and mariscos (shelfish), flavorful acorn-feed cerdo (pork), free-range cordero (lamb), botifarra (local sausage) and calçots (green onions)–all ideal for throwing over an open fire.

The difference was that here, barbecuing was not something one would do at home, but instead, it was done at community festivals, concrete barbecue centers or in restaurants where someone barbecued for you.

Barcelona Barbecuing is a Gastronomical Experience

The Barcelona BBQ culture is a much more gastronomical tradition. Highlighting quality products and sophisticated recipes, it surpasses the standard fair of hot dogs and hamburgers. Long ago, I predicted that craft beers would thrive in Barcelona; now we see an explosion of small labels, brewery pubs dedicated to making beer, and many people making it out of their home. Similar to craft brewing, I predict that the local barbecue movement will explode in the same way with homemade style sauces and further hands-on barbecuing.

twitter-gr_mazegrill-king-of-the-kitchen-our-121537I hope this blog will encourage people to bring it further into their homes and share our great food culture with each other and the rest of the world. I am not the first one to promote barbecuing in Barcelona. Happily, I keep finding many other enthusiasts and more brands coming into this market making it easier to enjoy and share. One of top barbecue companies in the world is located on the outskirt of the city, Josper Charcoal Ovens.  They are used by famous chefs such as Gordon Ramsies, Albert Adria and many top restaurants in over 100 countries.

My passion is for food and barbecuing. I am not a writer and do not work for any barbecue brand, so this will be a personal exploration with sharing content, reporting on what I know and have learned. Along with my fellow barbecue lovers, food stylists, award-winning barbecue chefs, photographers, blogger and foodies, we will promote the Barcelona BBQ culture.

We will explore styles, techniques, recipes, sauces, rubs, restaurants, events and help you understand more of the local philosophy. If there is something about barbecuing that you want to know, we want to be your resource.

Barbecuing is an experience. It is a great way to eat healthy (or not), gather with your friends and enjoy yourself.  Barbecue is about cooking with charcoal and wood, the techniques to prepare recipes are sophisticated while being true to the simple flavors of each ingredient. It is to enjoy with glass of wine and eaten with your hands. To understand everything that is included in our barbecue culture, we´ll also be exploring the best wines, artisan beers, music (our playlist) and homemade sauces that goes great with it.

One last thing

Most of the site will be in English because this is an international blog to introduce the rest of the world to our tasty Barcelona BBQ Style of cooking. I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading, participating and commenting. Bon Profit.

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Boqueria Gourmand Book by PhotoMargaret: