A chat with Brian Heinen of Barcelona BBQ
What inspired you to start up Barcelona BBQ?
Living here for more than 12 years, I have seen how barbecuing and grilling is an important part of the local culinary culture that few people are talking about. Barcelona is the barbecue capital of Europe and I want to help tell its story. The Barcelona barbecue culture is a much more gastronomical tradition. Highlighting quality products and sophisticated recipes, it surpasses the standard fare 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 continue to explode in the same way with homemade style sauces and further hands-on barbecuing. There is no other city in Europe like it, with an average annual temperature of 20ºC, plenty of sunshine, beautiful beaches and exceptional local food products, and I hope to promote this culinary culture to the rest of Europe and the world. In the same way that pinchos are from San Sebastián and Bilbao, tapas are from Sevilla and Granada and paella is from Valencia, barbecue is from Barcelona.
What kind of food can we expect to eat at a catalan BBQ?
Pork chops de pata negra, gambas de Palamós, calçots, I could go on; butifarra, chestnuts and sweet potatoes in October, chuletón de buey, escalivada.
What would be your food of choice to put on the BBQ?
Anything fresh really. Peaches are great on the barbecue with some paprika, especially fresh ones from Penedès.
How can people get involved in Barcelona BBQ?
They can share their favourite Barcelona grill locations on our interactive map (join us on Instagram and Facebook using #BarcelonaBBQ) as well as share their favourite recipes.
Tell us about some of the events coming up?
Come to our October Barcelona BBQ Event. There will be live music and local restaurant food stands grilling their signature dishes over open fire for the public. There will also be a Best BBQ competition with several categories, barbecue workshops and product demos from the top chefs.
What do you think makes the ultimate successful BBQ?
I am not sure how to measure success for a barbecue. The most success comes from sharing quality time with your community of friends and neighbours. Meeting new and old friends and continuing the conversations of the important things in life – shared family, friends, love and happiness. For me the most important things are to share that I believe grilling to be one of the most traditional things in Barcelona, and that a barbecue is a celebration, not just the action of grilling.
Can you describe Barcelona in three words.
Tradition, Lifestyle and Barbecue.