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U.S. Beef Burgers, Texas Barbecue Provide Taste of America in Asia

A giant U.S. beef burger helped kick off “U.S. Burger Month” at TGI Friday’s in Taiwan

A giant U.S. beef burger helped kick off “U.S. Burger Month” at TGI Friday’s in Taiwan

Texas barbecue and giant hamburgers made with U.S. beef were themes at USMEF promotions held in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau during the Fourth of July holiday. Funding support was provided by the Texas Beef Council, the Beef Checkoff Program and the USDA Market Access Program (MAP).

Family restaurant chain TGI Fridays inaugurated U.S. burger month in Taipei by creating a 286-pound U.S. beef burger using U.S. chuck tender and short plate. A six-man team from the restaurant needed 13 hours to create the giant burger, which featured a 45-pound bun.

“We want to be the bellwether of U.S. burger culture here in Taiwan,” said Fridays Managing Director Jeff Lee.

The chain is also featuring five new U.S. burger recipes during its month-long promotion.

Across town in Taipei’s east side district, an outdoor Texas burger sampling for the general public was held on July 4. A sea of Texas flags lined the intersection of two main streets that attract an average 300,000 commuters and visitors each day.

The Taipei public was provided samplings of burgers made with Texas beef

The Taipei public was provided samplings of burgers made with Texas beef

Culinary students from Taiwan’s National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism, a top-notch culinary school in Taiwan, helped prepare mini burgers for approximately 1,500 consumers who turned out for the tasting. Educational storyboards were also installed to enhance the image of U.S. beef.

In Macau, Chef Ryan Farr of San Francisco-based 4505 Meats slow cooked U.S. brisket, chuck short ribs and new-to-market steamship rounds for three separate dinners, culminating in a barbecue for hundreds of members of the local American Chamber of Commerce chapter.

The meat was prepared on a new vault smoker sponsored by the Texas Beef Council and shipped from Houston to the Galaxy Hotel in Macau. The Galaxy is at the center of Macau’s latest expansion project featuring new hotel properties by Marriott and Ritz Carlton. Chef Farr also Farr also served homemade hot links prepared from U.S. pork butt and trained Galaxy’s chef team on the art of slow cooking.

“The new Pitmaker vault created excitement among the audience and the staff; we think it’s the first authentic barbecue pit in all of Macau,” said John Lam, USMEF marketing director for Hong Kong and Macau.

Mini burgers made with Texas beef were popular with young and old in Taiwan

Mini burgers made with Texas beef were popular with young and old in Taiwan

In Hong Kong, Texas grilling options for U.S. beef middle meats and braised short ribs were featured throughout the month of July at the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Beas River Clubhouse. Decorated in Texas flags, the Texas theme is designed to appeal to its members from Hong Kong’s horse racing community. The Jockey Club is the largest private club in Hong Kong, with dozens of food service operations spread throughout its two racetracks and clubhouses.

USMEF also sponsored an Independence Day celebration in Hong Kong’s downtown dining hub of Lan Kwai Fung. The block party, complete with beach chairs and a giant Jenga game, was held outside the casual American Boomshack restaurant and attracted a largely millennial-generation audience craving traditional American hamburgers, hot dogs and other comfort fare.

Chef Austin Fry created a special burger grind for this event from U.S. chuck rolls and culottes, and served chili-smothered sausages made with U.S. pork butt.