On a hot summer night around Washington, turn off the air conditioning in your car, open the windows and drive through neighborhoods in search of plumes of smoke from backyard grills. In a short drive you can go from zone to zone, Zip code to Zip code and world to world inhaling puffs of aroma from stainless- steel behemoths and humble hibachis. The predictable bottled barbecue and teriyaki sauces are still there, but so, too, are the flavors of fiery ancho rubs from Mexico, spicy blends in tikka marinades from India, garlicky pungency from Argentina's chimichurri sauce or smoky complexity from Spain's romesco sauce, redolent of toasted almonds and paprika.
Many of these rubs, sauces and marinades are made from an array of accessible ingredients, sometimes found at specialty stores but often on the shelf of your local supermarket, where aisles have opened up to accommodate the tastes of the area's diverse kitchens. Blistering hot chili peppers sweetened with powdered sugar, then made bitter with cocoa, can be rubbed on chicken for a version of Mexican mole. A handful of parsley and cilantro with some pinches of spices can become Moroccan chermoula, a flavorful paste for seafood.
Think of the recipes that follow on Page 5 as a user-friendly, slightly inauthentic glossary of just some of the flavors of the global grill. So the next time you stand and face the fire, perhaps you'll set aside your predictable marinade or sauce. For the adventurous, a world is waiting.