Let us say a word – ‘barbecue’. What just happened to you? Appears that your mouth is flooded with your saliva, pushing you to the brink of drooling. Your stomach growled and howled declaring primitive hunger. Your eyes glistened up due to the very thought of your taste buds experiencing the heavenly smoky flavor… This happens to almost everyone who loves to eat meat. So, you are not alone.
Trust us! As we are writing this, we are experiencing the same effects that appear to have taken control of your senses. But today we are not talking of our typical open-air backyard barbecue using packaged mutton or beef fillet. We are talking about Boodog – the real Mongolian barbecue that has the weirdest known preparation style. So, without any further ado, let us learn 20 interesting boodog facts. We just hope you have a strong heart to learn about the process because it involves the barbaric traits the Mongols have been known for and why not? Boodog dates back to period of the great Genghis Khan!
Interesting Boodog Facts: 1-10
1. Boodog (also known as bodog) is mutton barbecue. There is absolutely no way of making beef barbecue the way boodog is prepared because of the sheer size of the animal in question.
2. Though the name of the dish has the word ‘dog’ attached to it, it has nothing to do with dog meat.
3. Boodog or bodog is made out of goats or marmot. Since marmots can be hosts to fleas and bubonic plague, goats are always preferred.
4. It takes several hours to prepare the delicacy but it is worth the time and effort because eventually the meat is evenly cooked.
5. Preparation of the dish begins by killing the goat in somewhat barbaric fashion. A hammer is used to hit the skull of the living goat until it succumbs to the fatal blows.
6. The corpse is then hung by its horns and a knife is used to slit open the throat but carefully enough not to decapitate the dead animal. This is followed by a 360° circular move until neck skin and meat is detached from the head while still keeping the head attached to the whole body with the spine. At this point, the spine may snap because most of the supporting muscles are detached from the head and the spine alone fails to support the weight of the rest of the body.
7. The detached body is taken and knife is inserted from the neck area. Men will gradually cut out pieces of meat from inside with high precision ensuring that the skin is not punctured at all. Not even a single puncture.
8. Everything inside the skin is totally remove including bones and organs. For the legs, the bones in the lower parts are broken and cut off and the skin openings at four ends are sealed using metal wires.
9. Once everything inside the skin is out, the meat and the eatable organs are cleaned properly and mixed with seasonings like salt, paprika, pepper and onions. Some potatoes may be chopped into pieces and mixed with the meat.
10. While this seasoning is done, people will create a fire and put stones in it, allowing the stones to heat up.
Interesting Boodog Facts: 11-20
11. Once the stones are hot, several people will take the skin and cram in the hot stones all the way down into the hind legs area of the skin bag. Once a layer of stones is put in, a layer of seasoned meat will be stuffed in. Atop the meat layer, another layer of stone is placed and then another layer of meat and so on. This will create alternating layers of rocks and meat stuffed inside the skin from the neck area until the skin bag is totally stuffed and packed.
12. When stuffing is completed, the neck opening will be sealed using metal wires to trap all the heat and hot air inside the skin bag.
13. At this point, a blow torch will be lighted and the fire will be used to burn the cashmere. The burnt hair is then pulled off the skin and removed, leaving behind only a white skin bag stuffed with the animal’s meat.
14. After the removal of the cashmere, the blowtorch is still used and the fire is run all over the exterior of the meat and stone filled skin bag, giving it a charred brown color. The hot stones inside the bag will gradually roast the layers of meat. The steam pressure building up inside makes the meat soft because of juice created by the animal’s fat.
15. Once the juice start seeping out from the neck area, the boodog is wholly cooked and ready for serving.
16. The barbecued boodog is then slit open and all the juices inside is poured into a bowl. It is nothing but pure distilled fat and is meant for drinking. Apart from the rocks inside, everything else is eatable.
17. The meat has a unique combination of toughness and tenderness and of course, a slight smoky flavor caused by the stones. The tenderness of the meat is attributed to its uniform bathing in the natural fat of the animal that melts inside the bodog.
18. Preparing the bodog is a lengthy and time consuming process. From the point of killing the goat to slitting open the cooked boodog, it can take 5 hours or more. The cooking process alone takes 2 hours or more but the initial preparation takes even longer.
19. Boodog is a staple for Mongolians during winters. The bowl of distilled fat, which some may think of as unhealthy, plays an instrumental part in their survival in harsh and chilled conditions of Mongolian winters.
20. The benefit of boodog is that its preparation does not require utensils. It made sense back in the days of Genghis Khan because carrying utensils on horseback would add additional load. This was not really desirable for nomads.