Summer is the perfect time to bust out your grill for a mini ihaw-ihaw gathering. But before inviting people over, make sure you brush up on some barbecue basics. Choose the most appropriate way to cook your food and craft a balanced menu to wow your guests. Here’s everything you need to get the party started!
What Is Ihaw-Ihaw?
Ihaw-ihaw refers to grilling using direct dry heat. Here, you’ll need to cook food over a wire grid or a cast-iron surface with raised edges. The process lends dishes a distinct roasted and smoky flavor many people love. In the Philippines, some also associate inihaw with street food because you’ll find curbside vendors hawking pork barbecue or chicken inasal everywhere.
But there’s more to inihaw than just skewered meats! It also points to abundance and variety. You can’t enjoy ihaw-ihaw with just one kind of grilled meat or one side dish. As its name suggests, double the lot means double the fun!
Getting Started: Ihaw-Ihaw Essentials
Grilling food at home is a cinch! But consider these three factors before firing up your ihawan.
1. The grill
You can’t start without a reliable grilling appliance. Are you looking for the best buy that suits your space? Just because your neighbor has a fancy stainless-steel griller doesn’t mean you also need one! Take your pick from the following barbecue equipment:
- Charcoal grill – Nearly every household has a trusty charcoal grill. This appliance requires fanning coals until they’re hot enough to cook food. You can buy one ready-made or DIY your own.
- Electric grill – Besides the outdoor ihawan, an electric grill is another household favorite. This portable device lets you prepare grilled food indoors. But make sure you have proper ventilation to avoid setting off smoke detectors.
- Cast-iron grill pan – This sturdy pan is a severely underrated cooking gadget. Choose this if you want to grill food on your stove and without charcoal. Maintain your pans correctly, and your cookware can last a lifetime.
- Gas or propane grill – This grilling device is pricier, but you get your money’s worth from its efficiency. Most commercial kitchens use this variety, although you can also find portable options (like in Korean barbecues) for household use.
2. The proteins
Pork, chicken, and fish are the top inihaw picks for Pinoys. But besides these proteins, you can include sausages, hamburgers, steaks, shellfish, and lamb in your ihaw-ihaw menu.
Just remember to marinate or season them beforehand – not when they’re already on the grill. Salt and pepper are reliable options, but you can also try using Knorr Broth Cubes or Sinigang Mixes as meat rubs. If you have time for a marinade, you can’t go wrong with a sweetish barbecue base or a Filipino-style ketchup solution. Pro tip: marinate your ingredients for at least 30 minutes or overnight for maximum flavor.
3. The side dishes
Save for grilled bangus or stuffed squid, most inihaw dishes are devoid of vegetables. Treat your guests to a well-rounded spread by serving your proteins with light and fresh-tasting sides. You can start by skewering seasoned tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms. Grill the kebabs until nicely charred. You can also try this with fruits!
Alternatively, you can pair your barbecued meats with salads, slaws, or ensaladas. If you’re thinking of preparing sabaw, try a cold cucumber soup or a refreshing tomato gazpacho. All these you can already prep in advance!
Grilling Tips for the Perfect Ihaw-Ihaw Party
Are you eager to get your barbecue started? These tips can help you plan a stress-free party.
- Pick a theme everyone will enjoy. Consider a trivia night, a Mexican-inspired fiesta, or a movie-viewing party.
- Have other snacks ready while guests wait for the mains to cook. Nacho chips, pretzels, fries, carrots, and celery sticks are fantastic choices.
- Provide entertainment through board games, cards, or a karaoke machine.
- Set up a condiment station. Prepare saucers with Knorr Liquid Seasoning with calamansi, sweet chili vinegar, or store-bought hickory barbecue sauce.
- Serve refreshing drinks to keep everyone hydrated. Summer fruit shakes, chilled sodas, and mocktails are ideal.
- Don’t forget the dessert. Pick from popsicles, s’mores, graham floats, or a fruit salad.
- Have a fire extinguisher and first aid kit for safety.
Ihaw-ihaw parties at home don’t have to be complicated. Follow these grilling basics and enjoy summertime with your loved ones!