Among the many Mongolian dishes, Khorkhog shines as a beloved tradition. Khorkhog, sometimes known as ‘Mongolian barbeque,’ is a special and delicious dish with a long history and a truly unique way of cooking.

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Let’s take a look at the history of Khorkhog

Khorkhog goes way back in Mongolia’s nomadic history, all the way to the days when Mongolians depended on their animals for food. This dish demonstrates how the nomadic way of life sparked inventive solutions.

The name ‘Khorkhog’ comes from Mongolian words ‘khor,’ which means ‘to cut,’ and ‘khog,’ which means ‘wood.’ It describes the traditional method of cooking with hot stones and wood.

Nomadic herders would prepare Khorkhog during special occasions or gatherings. Cooking with hot stones and wooden containers showed how clever Mongolian people were in using what they had in their tough environment.

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Making Khorkhog: An Unusual Cooking Method

The way Khorkhog is made is quite interesting and unique. To start, chunks of meat, typically mutton, are carefully selected.

They chop the meat into small pieces, ensuring that each one has a bit of lean and fat. It’s this mix of lean and fat that gives the dish its incredible taste and tenderness.

Next, a wooden container, often made from the bark of a tree, is prepared. They put the meat pieces in the container, along with a mix of veggies like potatoes, carrots, and onions.

What really makes Khorkhog special is the spices they add – things like salt, black pepper, and sometimes even wild herbs. These ingredients give the dish its amazing aroma and flavor.

Now, the most distinctive aspect of Khorkhog comes into play: the hot stones. Large river stones are heated over an open flame until they become red-hot.

These scorching stones are placed directly into the wooden container with the meat and vegetables. The container is then sealed tightly, trapping the heat and steam inside.

This combination of hot stones, meat, vegetables, and spices works its magic over the course of an hour or more, slowly cooking and tenderizing the ingredients to perfection.

The Significance of Khorkhog in Mongolian Culture

Khorkhog is more than just a meal in Mongolian culture; it’s a symbol of togetherness and celebration.

Traditionally, it is prepared during special occasions, including weddings, festivals, and gatherings of extended families and friends.

The communal aspect of preparing and sharing Khorkhog reinforces the bonds between people, a cherished value in Mongolian culture.


As the wooden container is opened and the aromatic steam escapes, the anticipation and excitement among the diners build.

The dish that comes out is tender and full of flavor, with the meat and vegetables having that smoky touch from the hot stones.

The delicious taste and the joy of preparing and eating Khorkhog make it a beloved tradition that still thrives in today’s Mongolia.

In conclusion

Khorkhog, the genuine Mongolian barbecue, is a culinary gem that tells the story of Mongolia’s rich history and culture.

Mongolian real BBQ – Khorkhog

The way it’s cooked, with hot stones and wood, shows how clever Mongolians have always been. But beyond its great taste, Khorkhog unites people and embodies the essence of Mongolian culture.

So, the next time you savor a plate of Khorkhog, remember that you’re partaking in a tradition that has stood the test of time, bridging the past and the present through the magic of Mongolian cuisine.

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