When summer is in full swing, there are not enough air conditioning units to keep a large area temperate. And with the last pandemic leaving much to be desired from party places, your best option is to organise a gathering near the beach. The thing is, such a setting goes best with seafood like prawns and crayfish on the menu.
But, unless you're hiring an entire team of fully-equipped chefs for catering, you need appropriate cutlery set for the occasion. Whether it's just a few neighbours getting together or a massive family reunion, you need a set of tools that are best suited for a seafood feast.
If you're planning any such event in the near future, you may want to give this article a good read. It has everything you need to know about the knives and other cutlery you need to pack for a beachside barbecue.
Qualities Desirable in Fish and Seafood Tools
To serve and handle fresh seafood, you need a kit that includes numerous tools that share a few characteristics. Some of the essential properties are mentioned as follows.
Out on the beach, you don't have a lot of space as it's mostly sand and a few rock faces covering the landscape. So, it would help to make the most of your equipment by keeping it compact. That doesn't mean going all SAS and only bringing the bare necessities to survive. It would be best to avoid larger cookware if you know there aren't many guests showing up.
Resistant to Corrosion
The seaside winds carry plenty of moisture and minerals that can wreak havoc on your cookware. No one will be pleased if your blade comes home looking like it was dredged from the Titanic. So, you need to carry cutlery that can withstand the ocean air. Knives and forks made of stainless steel are a perfect choice.
Beachside excursions typically have people getting a swim before they're hungry enough to show up for the barbecue. Therefore, it would be best to have tools that can easily be gripped even with wet, slippery hands. Those are doubly essential when you know that there are likely to be children around.
If you plan a beachside gathering, you can only bring a limited amount of freshwater with you. You don't want to purchase water bottles from the beachside shops as those are often incredibly overpriced. Your tools for the occasion should be low maintenance and easily cleaned with minimal water.
Sharp Yet Safe
Fish typically have tricky bone placements, making it challenging to get substantial meat off the bone. Similarly, lobsters and crabs have hard shells that are tough to crack. The cutlery you bring for a seafood platter must have sharp edges to keep up with the tasks. In addition to the sharpness, the tools should be safe enough not to hurt anyone. Some separation between the blade's edge and the grip is called for (often a notch at the heel of the blade to prevent slipping onto the cutting edge).
To keep your seafood fresh, you might want to consider airtight containers. Any cooked food can react with the saline air and go bad faster than when you expose it to the weather. If you plan for some fishing as well, you should keep your catch in a cooled esky with ice or wash and dry it immediately on a makeshift stand.
Best Tools For a Seafood Feast
Now that you know the desirable qualities of all seafood tools, you can determine the ones you can pack for the barbecue. Some of the preferable ones for your kit are mentioned below.
Kookaburra Paring Knife
A compact knife you can use for peeling prawns, removing heads from smaller fish, or for peeling vegetables that accompany the seafood. It has a blade 4 inches (10 cm) long that makes it easier to get into the skin of smaller seafood without making the cut messy. Experienced chefs often have at least one of these in their kitchen kits. If you’re skilled enough, you can handle almost all tasks with this little ripper.
Cedar Grilling Plank
It is hard to grill large fish such as salmon or mackerel on regular pans, especially when you have a lack of cooking space on the beachside. A cedar grilling plank is just the tool for the job. It distributes heat evenly across the piece and is also great for vegetarian dishes. You can use one for several hours, as it heats the food absorbing the excess oil and spices in the wood. When you're done for the day, toss the plank in the bonfire for an exquisite aroma.
Make sure to soak the plank in water beforehand to avoid scorching and catching fire. Salmon on cedar planks are an incredible delicacy with a mysterious and alluring smoky flavour it imparts.
Seafood Fork/Steel Skewers
You require strong skewers to hold seafood in place so that you can get the juicy bits out of it. That is a job for solid seafood forks. Usually, those are about 5 inches (12.7 cm) in length and can penetrate the toughest of shells without much effort. Moreover, they are easy to maintain, and you can clean the whole set utilising less than a litre of water.
Likewise with skewers, they can pierce tough shells and can help secure pieces of fish while grilling. The saddest thing that can happen at a seafood cook-up is your catch ending up in the embers!
In order to obtain the best meat portions from the fish, you need a sharp yet controllable blade that can make your job swifter and less stressful. For that, it would help to keep a fillet knife handy. It has a smooth, slim, and sharp blade that is less than 1.2mm in thickness. Furthermore, you can use it to debone other meats like beef joints and tenderloins, should you bring them along for the barbecue. Our Barramundi Filleting Knife is a great option for all your seafood butchery needs. With 18cm blade length, comfortable grip, and rigid spine, it can easily fillet even larger specimens like Kingfish.
This tool requires a bit of practice. But, once you master it, an oyster knife can help you open up oyster shells within seconds. The device is nothing complicated, although opening up oysters incorrectly can ruin their taste. Oyster knives are made from stainless steel and can last years with proper care and maintenance. For best results, select a knife with broad tip and comfortable grip, oysters can be pretty tight-lipped so a robust knife can give you more leverage when opening.
And that concludes our list of all the tools you need for a seafood BBQ. Which one is your favourite? Are there any that we left out? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.