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Host a Spanish Barbecue or Parrillada

Steaks, Kabobs, Lamb Chops, Sausages or Vegetables, Spaniards Grill it All


Barbecued Lamb Shoulder Chops with Potatoes and Peppers

Barbecued Lamb Shoulder Chops with Potatoes and Peppers

(c) Lisa Sierra 2012 Licensed to About.com Inc.

A parrillada, as it is known in Spain, is a barbecue and is sometimes referred to as a barbacoa. The word parrillada is actually used in most Spanish-speaking countries, however you will also hear parrilla and asado. A parrillada in Spain is similar to those prepared in Argentina and the rest of Latin America, with one big exception - In Spain it's not just about the meat. Fish, shellfish and vegetables are popular on the braza, and are grilled just as often at parrilladas in Spain.

Two Parrillada Menus

The two menus below are all appropriate for warm summer weather and eating "al fresco". Both menus provides several dishes for each course - Tapas, First Course, Main Course and Dessert, or in Spanish Tapas, Primer Plato, Plato Principal and Postre. Pick and choose, mix and match as you wish. There is no right or wrong way to throw a parrillada, with the exception that there should be plenty of food to go around! Following the two menus are drink suggestions.

The idea for Menu 1 is to allow you the most time to socialize with your guests by picking dishes that can be prepared ahead of time. Except for the meat grilling on the barbecue, (which needs attention, so it doesn't go up in flames,) all the dishes are make-ahead and are cool, summer fare.

For Menu 2 we picked some very traditional Spanish dishes from start to finish. Although much of the food may be prepared ahead of time, there are several dishes which should be served just after cooking, and most of the dishes are served warm.

Menu 1 - Easy, Make-Ahead Spanish Menu


First Course

Main Course


Menu 2 - Traditional Spanish Parrillada Menu


Main Course



Regardless of which Spanish dishes you choose to serve, cold drinks are important. Traditional drinks at a Spanish gathering include:

  • Mineral Water - carbonated or still
  • Spanish Red Wine - Rioja or Ribera regions both have excellent choices to pair with grilled meats and seafood

In addition to water and wine, you may choose to serve Spanish Sangria, Tinto de Verano, a Spanish wine cocktail, or claras, also known as "lemon beer," a refreshing drink made with cold beer and soda or lemonade.

After dinner drinks usually include espresso coffee and Spanish Sherry brandy (Brandy de Jerez).

Entertaining Tips

About's Guide to Entertaining has lots of great tips on how to prepare for summertime entertaining:

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