I’ve always wanted to visit Sweden. There’s just something about all the Nordic countries that fascinates me, and it’s not just because I like snow! The northern most parts of these countries are big on finding their own wood to fuel their fireplace. I often dream about sitting around a fire warming myself, before remembering that I only have central heating in my home and being disappointed in how boring that sounds. So, while I can’t have that crackling fire in my front room, I can take a look at what the Swedes do with fire and some meat – which I’m sure you’ll agree is always a great combination!
It’s a slap up Swedish barbecue, today in Barbecues Around the World!
Something Smells a Little Fishy
If there’s anything that could be called the staple food source of Sweden then that award would almost certainly go to fish. Fish has a long history in Sweden; it was a big source of trade for hundreds of years. It’s not hard to see why they love their fish though, as they have quite a lot to choose from (and even some of the sweet variety!). As the Nordic countries have a lot of respect for the open fire, it’s not surprising to hear that a lot of barbecuing is done on an open fire too. This is particularly true of fish like trout, bass and walleye. Smoking the fish is also a popular pastime, a popular dish being smoked herring (hot or cold).
Crawfish parties are popular too, and Swedish people enjoy eating these during warmer periods such as August. I’m not entirely sure if these are ever grilled in Sweden, as they are largely eaten fresh from the shell; although we all know that you can grill crayfish, and the results are usually pretty damn tasty.
Stop Mooseing Around!
More interestingly though, is the tradition of moose and even reindeer being consumed. I was talking to a Swedish guy not long ago, and he told me that game like moose and boar is common in countryside regions and are also barbecued on an open fire.
I’ve never tried moose, although I’d be open to trying it, but he told me that it was “one of the best meats there is!”. I suppose I’ll have to take his word for it for now, but are there any Swedish people out there reading this that can confirm it’s a tasty treat?
Reindeer is served up as souvas, which is basically smoked reindeer. Here the meat is dry-salted, before being smoked over an open fire, fried and served with bread. I’ve heard that the cuts are thin and lean, but it packs an intense flavour.
Other popular meats to barbecue are pork (sliced Boston butt) and rump steak.
Of course, I couldn’t write an article about Swedish food without mentioning the famous – and drool-inducing tastiness – of the Swedish meatball. I’ve never been thrilled when the other half suggests a trip to IKEA, but then I remember that they serve the most amazing Swedish meatballs there. It’s that not enough to make me jump in the car to take a look at some cheap furniture than I don’t know what is!
Anyway, just how do meatballs relate to our barbecue topic? You can cook them on the grill of course; just make sure you skewer them in groups. There is a danger that they’ll fall apart if you’re not careful enough, but if you avoid using such things as chopped onions, fresh herbs or garlic then you shouldn’t have many problems. A grilled meatball is packed with fantastic flavour, and you can even make your own meatball kebab.
Aside from throwing meatballs on the grill you could just smother oven made meatballs in barbecue sauce. At least the barbecue connection is there, even if you’re not actually using your grill.
For more on the Swedish barbecue you should take a look at this article, which explains why the Swedish are so quick to get outside and start grilling up some juicy meat.