As we embrace the beauty of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Taiwan, a holiday deeply rooted in family bonds and cherished traditions, we find ourselves drawn to a centerpiece of this celebration that brings joy to all – the barbecue. Building on our exploration of the cultural significance and festive spirit in our previous article, Taiwan Mid-Autumn Festival 2023: A holiday for family and friends,we now invite you to embark on a culinary journey.
In this guide, we’ll delve into the heart of the Mid-Autumn Festival festivities by providing you with valuable insights into the art of barbecue. From selecting the freshest ingredients to acquiring the essential tools and understanding the five major barbecue precautions, we’re here to ensure that your Mid-Autumn Festival BBQ in 2023 is nothing short of exceptional.
- Selecting Fresh Mid-Autumn Festival BBQ Ingredients
- Taiwan Mid-Autumn Festival BBQ Essential Barbecue Tools
- 5 Major Barbecue Precautions during Mid-Autumn Festival BBQ
Selecting Fresh Mid-Autumn Festival BBQ Ingredients
Varieties of Meat——Observing Color and Marbling
When selecting different types of meat, each has its own unique criteria to consider. For example, when it comes to beef, you can observe the distribution of marbling on the surface. High-quality beef will have even marbling, with a well-defined pattern of fat and connective tissue. This signifies that the meat is tender and of the right quality.
For pork, if the meat appears pink in color, has a glossy surface, a fine texture, and feels moist without being sticky, it indicates that the pork is fresh. Conversely, if pork has a darker color, a dry and dull surface, or emits a spoiled odor, it suggests that it is no longer fresh.
Lastly, when it comes to chicken, if the meat appears dull and grayish, the skin and fat lackluster, or there are brownish hues, these are all indicators that the meat is no longer fresh. It is advisable to avoid purchasing chicken under these conditions.
Varieties of Vegetables
There are many choices for fibrous vegetables to pair with grilling. These additions not only add variety but also improve nutrition and flavor. When choosing veggies, it’s crucial to look for rot, spoiling, or any odd scents on the produce’s surface.
However, one of the worries is the potential presence of pesticides in veggies, whether you grill or prepare in your regular routine.
So, when getting ready for a BBQ, being sure to wash your vegetables properly is the first and most important step. The vegetables should first be soaked in running water for 15 minutes, then rinsed two to three times in freshwater. Pay extra attention to thoroughly washing the surfaces of veggies with crevices.
Varieties of Seafood
In addition to vegetables and meat, pairing seafood with your barbecue is also a great choice! Fresh seafood should have no fishy odor, intact appearance with no damage or rot, and when lightly pressed with your fingers, the flesh should spring back, without feeling soft or mushy.
Shrimp is a common choice for grilling. You can grill shrimp until one side turns red, then flip them over and arrange several white shrimp neatly in the same direction on the grill. Once both sides are evenly reddened and fully cooked, insert the heads and tails of the shrimp into the gaps in the grill rack, placing them belly side down. Continue grilling until the shrimp emit a delicious aroma, and the flesh slightly separates from the shell on the back. Then they are ready to enjoy themselves.
Additionally, there are clams, conch, grilled squid skewers, square fish fillets, succulent scallops, and a variety of fish such as red snapper fillets, saury, lightly salted mackerel slices, carp, and sea bream, among others. Pairing them with tender and chewy squid is also a highly popular option!
For those who want to intensify the tastes even more, you can brush barbecue sauce and garlic sauce onto the grilled meat to make the dish even more delectable! Of course, premium lobster salad, BBQ fruit pickles, honey mustard sauce, sweet and spicy sauce, and soy sauce are other fantastic options for dipping sauces when cooking in addition to barbecue sauce.
Taiwan Mid-Autumn Festival BBQ Essential Barbecue Tools
When barbecuing, the grill grate and barbecue rack play crucial roles. The grill grate is placed on the barbecue rack to ensure even heating of the ingredients.Choosing between hardwood charcoal and softwood charcoal depends on the grilling duration; the former is suitable for long grilling sessions, while the latter is ideal for shorter ones.Select evenly sized charcoal chunks, ignite them using a lighter, matches, or firestarter, and once the charcoal begins to burn, brush a thin layer of oil onto the grill grate. Now, you’re ready to start grilling!
Several materials, including cast iron, iron, stainless steel, and aluminum alloy, are used to make grill grates. Iron grill grates are less expensive but more susceptible to rust and heat damage. Since stainless steel can tolerate high temperatures and is resistant to corrosion, it is the most used material for barbecue grates. Cast iron grill grates offer great heat conductivity but are heavier and less portable than aluminum alloy grill grates, which are lighter but have lesser heat resistance.
The design of barbecue racks may vary depending on the brand and model. Some racks may feature adjustable heights for added cooking flexibility, while others may have special compartments or channels to separate different types of ingredients.
Barbecue racks come in various shapes, including rectangular, circular, semicircular, and trapezoidal. Rectangular racks are traditional and larger in size, suitable for serving multiple people, while circular racks are more compact and portable. The choice of rack size should depend on the quantity of ingredients you plan to grill.
Charcoal options for grilling include traditional charcoal, lychee wood charcoal, redwood charcoal, charcoal briquettes, and binchotan charcoal. Common choices are traditional charcoal and charcoal briquettes.Charcoal briquettes, also known as “briquettes,” are similar to traditional charcoal but are made from processed carbon, resulting in higher burning temperatures and longer burn times. Traditional charcoal is made through the direct burning of wood, and while it provides a smoky flavor, it has a lower burning temperature and a shorter duration.
5 Major Barbecue Precautions during Mid-Autumn Festival BBQ
Safety in relation to the venue and related concerns is also vital to provide a cheerful and pleasant barbeque event, in addition to careful selection of products and equipment. Before the event begins, remember the following five BBQ safety tips:
1｜Pay Attention to Venue Ventilation
When choosing a barbecue venue, good ventilation is a crucial consideration. An efficient ventilation system can effectively remove the smoke generated during grilling, ensuring a comfortable environment for the event.Furthermore, proper ventilation can reduce the risk of fire, making the grilling process safer. Therefore, when selecting a barbecue location, make sure the venue has adequate ventilation facilities and space to ensure both comfort and safety during the event.
2｜Avoid Overloading Electrical Circuits
Some people might decide to use electric grills or electric stovetops for additional cooking alternatives, such as hot pot, during a barbeque. Avoiding overloading electrical circuits is crucial, though.Avoid connecting multiple large appliances to the same outlet, and try to use extension cables or power strips as little as possible to connect your barbeque equipment. This can lessen the likelihood of risks by preventing overloading of the electrical circuits.
3｜Rainy Day Contingency
Barbecuing in the rain can be a bit of a dampener on the festivities! However, having a rainy day contingency plan in place can ensure the event continues.When planning a rainy day contingency for your barbecue, the first step is to choose an appropriate location that avoids direct exposure to wind and rain. Additionally, using waterproof coverings such as portable rain shelters can protect your barbecue equipment and ingredients.Ensure that your barbecue equipment remains unaffected by the rain, as damp charcoal can lead to unstable burning. Lastly, always keep an eye on the weather forecast before the event.
4｜Separate Raw and Cooked Foods
During a barbecue, it is essential to keep raw meat and cooked meat separated, as raw meat may contain pathogens such as Salmonella or E. coli. Placing raw meat alongside cooked meat can lead to cross-contamination, where these bacteria may spread to the cooked meat, increasing the risk of food poisoning.
Additionally, during the grilling process, the temperature of cooked meat rises, helping to kill pathogens. However, the temperature of raw meat is insufficient to achieve this sterilization effect, so it’s crucial to prevent them from coming into contact with each other.
5｜Quantity of Charcoal
Finally, to avoid running out of charcoal halfway through the barbecue, it’s essential to determine the quantity of charcoal before the event. The amount of charcoal needed can be based on factors such as the number of attendees, the size of the grill, and the quantity of ingredients being prepared for the day’s activities.