Master The Art Of Hawaiian BBQ With Our Comprehensive Guide


Aloha, BBQ enthusiasts! Welcome to our comprehensive guide that will help you master the vibrant and flavorful world of Hawaiian BBQ. This delicious fusion of tastes from the Pacific Islands is more than just a meal—it’s an experience steeped in tradition, communal gatherings (pāʻina), tropical flavors and Hawaiian-style hospitality.

From classic Kalua Pork to zesty Huli Huli Chicken and mouthwatering Pineapple Teriyaki Skewers, learn the secrets behind these popular dishes along with essential grilling techniques to bring some Island paradise straight into your backyard cookout.

With this guide by your side,you’ll not only create meals that dazzle but also give your taste buds a culinary vacation they won’t forget anytime soon.

Key Takeaways

  • Hawaiian BBQ is more than just a meal – it’s an experience steeped in tradition, communal gatherings (pāʻina), tropical flavors, and Hawaiian-style hospitality.
  • The key ingredients and flavors of Hawaiian BBQ include locally sourced fresh produce, an abundance of seafoodaromatic staples like garlic and ginger, and the innovative use of local fruits such as pineapple and passion fruit.
  • Sharing food and community is at the heart of Hawaiian BBQ traditions, with pāʻina or parties embodying the spirit of ‘Ohana (family) and fostering unity within the community.
  • Hospitality plays a crucial role in Hawaiian BBQ, with hosts going above and beyond to make guests feel welcome through generous portions of delicious food and incorporating elements of Hawaiian culture into the experience.

What Is Hawaiian BBQ?

Hawaiian BBQ is a delicious cuisine with a rich history, combining cultural flavors and techniques to create mouthwatering dishes.

History And Cultural Significance

Hawaiian BBQ holds a deeply ingrained place in the island’s history and culture. Traditionally known as “Kālua”, meaning “to cook in an underground oven”, it refers to the ancient Hawaiian method of cooking large quantities of food for communal gatherings such as luau feasts.

In fact, Hawaiian barbecue has an intriguing connection with luau culture that goes back generations. Luaus symbolize ‘pāʻina’ or party in Hawaiian language and embodies a spirit of sharing food and fostering camaraderie – a testament to Hawaii’s deep-seated values of hospitality and generosity.

Additionally, another vital strand intertwining cultural significance into this native cuisine is its diversity represented by chains like Ono Hawaiian BBQ & L&L who serve authentic plate lunches reflecting Hawaii’s dramatic history and demographic changes over centuries – from Polynesian roots to Asian influences from Japan, Korea & China along with American advent during World War II.

To put simply: each bite you take out of a succulent piece cooked on woodfire grill tells you one delicious tale after another about Hawaii’s rich past while offering mouth-watering glimpse into island’s vibrant yet diverse foodscape.

Master The Art Of Hawaiian BBQ With Our Comprehensive Guide 1

Key Ingredients And Flavors

Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Hawaiian BBQ, where each dish is a celebration of tropical flavors and ingredients. The heart of Hawaiian BBQ lies in its key ingredients – locally sourced fresh produce and an abundance of seafood available on the islands.

Hawaiian cuisine has expertly innovated over time to incorporate these diverse elements into a unique gastronomic treat.

What sets apart Hawaiian barbecue is its innovative use of local fruits such as pineapple and passion fruit. These elements not only add a refreshing zest but also infuse the meat with tenderizing enzymes enhancing it’s succulence.

This region’s love for spice delivered through sprinkling chili flakes gives food that extra oomph! No wonder today, restaurants like Ono Hawaiian BBQ have successfully proliferated family-owned recipes delivering unforgettable dining experiences reminiscent of traditional pāʻina (party).

The Concept Of Pāʻina Or Party

Steeped in the rich traditions of Hawaiian culture, the concept of pāʻina — more commonly known to outsiders as a party — is much more than a simple social gathering.

It embodies the spirit of ‘Ohana (family), camaraderie, and shared joy that’s intrinsic to Hawaii.

The unique essence of these gatherings transcends into a communal experience where everyone plays their part. Loved ones come together, each bringing mouthwatering dishes like huli-huli chicken or mahi-mahi with sweet and savory pineapple sauce to share amongst themselves.

Be it an impromptu roadside barbeque stand or an elaborate luau under starlit skies overlooking pristine beaches; every event encapsulates a living snapshot of Hawaiian heritage in its most authentic form—promoting interaction and connection amidst backdrop sounds featuring ukuleles strumming tropical melodies.

Pacific Rim Cuisine founder rightly sums up this cultural phenomenon as not merely having dinner but creating memories–with participants leaving with not just full stomachs but fuller hearts.

Sharing Food And Community

Sharing food and community is a fundamental aspect of Hawaiian BBQ. In Hawaii, the concept of pāʻina, meaning party or gathering, is deeply ingrained in the culture.

Hawaiian BBQ is often enjoyed in large groups, bringing together family members and friends to share a meal.

At these gatherings, everyone contributes to the feast by bringing their favorite dishes or ingredients. It’s not uncommon to see long tables filled with an array of mouth-watering delights like kalua pork, huli huli chicken, and lomi lomi salmon.

In addition to food sharing, hospitality plays a significant role in Hawaiian BBQ traditions. Hosts go above and beyond to make guests feel welcome and comfortable at their gatherings.

By embracing the spirit of sharing food and fostering a sense of community through Hawaiian BBQ, people can come together, forge lasting connections, and create unforgettable memories centered around good company and great flavors from the islands.

The Importance Of Hospitality

Hospitality is a fundamental aspect of Hawaiian culture and plays a crucial role in the art of Hawaiian BBQ. When it comes to hosting a gathering or party, Hawaiians are known for their warm and welcoming nature.

They believe that food should be shared with others, creating a sense of community and togetherness.

In Hawaiian culture, the concept of “aloha” embodies love, peace, and compassion towards one another. This spirit is reflected in the way Hawaiians prepare and serve their BBQ dishes.

One example of this hospitality can be seen in how hosts go above and beyond to ensure their guests’ comfort. From preparing an abundance of food to ensuring everyone has enough to eat, no detail is overlooked.

Another aspect of hospitality seen in Hawaiian BBQ is making sure that guests feel included by incorporating elements of Hawaiian culture into the experience.

By embracing these values of hospitality within the realm of cooking and entertaining, Hawaiians create an atmosphere where people can come together over delicious food while fostering meaningful connections.

Essential Tools And Equipment For Hawaiian BBQ

To master the art of Hawaiian BBQ, it is essential to have the right tools and equipment, including grills and smokers for that authentic smoky flavor, as well as BBQ utensils and accessories for easy cooking and flipping.

Grills And Smokers

Grills and smokers are essential tools for mastering the art of Hawaiian BBQ. When it comes to grilling, there are a variety of options available, from charcoal grills to gas grills.

Many BBQ enthusiasts prefer using charcoal grills as they provide that traditional smoky flavor that perfectly complements Hawaiian BBQ dishes.

On the other hand, if you want to take your Hawaiian BBQ game to the next level, smokers are a must-have. Smokers use indirect heat and low temperatures to slow-cook meats, infusing them with irresistible smoky flavors.

Whether you choose a grill or smoker, it’s important to invest in quality kitchen equipment that can withstand high temperatures and provide consistent heat distribution.

To ensure perfectly cooked meat every time, chefs recommend using a wireless meat thermometer.

By selecting the right grilling equipment and accessories suited for your needs, you’ll be on your way to becoming a master of Hawaiian BBQ in no time!

Hawiian BBQ

BBQ Utensils And Accessories

To master the art of Hawaiian BBQ, having the right utensils and accessories is essential. Whether you’re grilling in your backyard or at a beachside luau, these tools will make your cooking experience much smoother.

Some must-have items include a high-quality grill or smoker, which will infuse your meats with that smoky flavor characteristic of Hawaiian BBQ. Additionally, basting brushes are crucial for applying marinades and sauces to your dishes, while food skewers allow you to create delicious pineapple teriyaki skewers or shrimp kebabs.

The Family Handyman recommends a variety of barbecue tools to enhance your grilling game, such as a reliable instant-read meat thermometer for precise temperature control and tongs for easy handling of hot foods.

They also suggest investing in a sturdy grill brush to keep your equipment clean and well-maintained.

With these utensils handy, you’ll be well-equipped to prepare mouthwatering Kalua pork, succulent Huli Huli chicken, and other popular dishes synonymous with Hawaiian cuisine.

Popular Hawaiian BBQ Dishes And Recipes

Discover the mouthwatering flavors of Kalua Pork, Huli Huli Chicken, Lomi Lomi Salmon, and more! Our comprehensive guide will take you through step-by-step recipes and techniques to create these iconic Hawaiian dishes.

Get ready to impress your taste buds with the authentic taste of Hawaiian BBQ.

Kalua Pork

Kalua pork is a beloved and traditional Hawaiian dish that is sure to be a hit at any Hawaiian BBQ. This succulent and flavorful meat is made from smoked and shredded pork, often mixed with cabbage for added texture.

One of the key elements that sets kalua pork apart is its unique smoky flavor, which comes from being cooked in an underground pit called an imu.

Considered one of the oldest and most iconic dishes in Hawaii, kalua pork holds great cultural significance. It’s a staple at lūʻau feasts and special celebrations, where it takes center stage as the main entrée.

Whether you choose to cook it using modern methods like a slow cooker or oven or opt for the traditional imu pit experience, kalua pork will transport you straight to the beautiful islands of Hawaii with every tender bite.

Huli Huli Chicken

One of the most beloved Hawaiian BBQ dishes is Huli Huli Chicken. This popular grilled chicken dish has been a favorite in Hawaiian cuisine since 1955 and continues to be a staple at backyard barbecues and local restaurants alike.

Huli Huli Chicken is prepared by grilling a whole chicken over mesquite wood, infusing it with a deliciously smoky flavor. But what really sets this dish apart is the huli-huli sauce that’s generously brushed onto the chicken as it cooks.

The result is tender and juicy chicken with crispy skin that’s bursting with tropical goodness. The pineapple juice adds sweetness while also helping to tenderize the meat, while fresh ginger provides a hint of zinginess.

Whether you’re grilling for friends on a sunny day or simply craving some island flavors in your own backyard, adding Huli-Huli Chicken to your menu will transport you straight to Hawaii with every bite.

Lomi Lomi Salmon

Lomi Lomi Salmon is a beloved traditional Hawaiian side dish that adds a refreshing touch to any Hawaiian BBQ spread. It’s essentially a salad made by combining salted salmon with juicy tomatoes, onions, and green onions.

The name “lomi lomi” actually means massage in Hawaiian, which perfectly describes the preparation process.

This vibrant and flavorful creation holds deep cultural significance in Hawaii and is often seen at luaus or served alongside plate lunches.

Its origins can be traced back to ancient times when Hawaiians would preserve fish by salting them. Today, Lomi Lomi Salmon offers a delightful mix of sweet and savory flavors that perfectly complement the smoky tastes of barbecue meats.

Hawiian BBQ

Pineapple Teriyaki Skewers

One popular and delicious dish in Hawaiian BBQ is the Pineapple Teriyaki Skewers. These skewers showcase the perfect blend of sweet and tangy flavors, making them a crowd favorite at any barbecue gathering.

The skewers are typically made with marinated chicken, fresh pineapple chunks, and chopped vegetables like bell peppers and onions.

To create these mouthwatering skewers, you first marinate the chicken in a flavorful combination of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, and pineapple juice. This marinade helps tenderize the meat while infusing it with tropical flavors.

Grilling is where these skewers truly come alive. As they cook over hot coals or on a gas grill, they are basted with a sweet and tangy barbecue glaze – either store-bought or homemade Hawaiian BBQ sauce – ensuring every bite bursts with flavor.

Whether enjoyed as part of a full spread at your next backyard luau or simply as a weeknight dinner option that transports you straight to paradise – Pineapple Teriyaki Skewers are sure to satisfy your cravings for that authentic taste of Hawaiian BBQ.

Grilled Shrimp With Mango Salsa

One popular dish that perfectly captures the vibrant flavors of Hawaiian BBQ is Grilled Shrimp with Mango Salsa. This delectable recipe combines the succulent flavors of grilled shrimp with the refreshing sweetness of mango salsa, creating a tropical burst in every bite.

The dish features juicy shrimp that are marinated in a tangy blend of lime juice, cilantro, and jalapeno for a zesty kick.

To add an extra layer of freshness and depth to this dish, it’s topped with a vibrant mango salsa. This bright and colorful accompaniment includes diced ripe mangoes, tangy lime juice, spicy jalapenos, and crisp red onions – all mixed together to create a medley of contrasting flavors.

With just 15 minutes prep time and 30 minutes cooking time, Grilled Shrimp with Mango Salsa is not only bursting with flavor but also incredibly accessible to make. Whether you’re hosting a backyard BBQ or looking for a delicious weeknight meal idea, this mouthwatering dish offers both simplicity and taste that will impress your guests or loved ones alike.

Ahi Poke

Ahi Poke is a traditional Hawaiian dish that has gained popularity around the world. It consists of cubed raw fish, typically made with ahi (yellowfin tuna), although other fish varieties can be used as well.

To make Ahi Poke at home, simply marinate diced raw fish in a mixture of soy sauce and sesame oil. This allows the flavors to meld together while keeping the fish tender and flavorful.

What makes Ahi Poke so appealing is its versatility. You can enjoy it on its own as a light appetizer or add it to a salad for a healthy lunch option.

Whether you’re longing for a taste of Hawaii or looking to expand your culinary horizons, Ahi Poke is definitely worth trying out. Its simplicity combined with bold flavors will leave you craving more bite after bite.

Char Siu Bao (Pork Bun)

Char Siu Bao, also known as Pork Bun, is a beloved dish in both Chinese and Hawaiian cuisine. Introduced to Hawaii by Chinese immigrants who worked in the sugar cane fields, these buns have become a staple in local bakeries.

What sets Char Siu Bao apart is its unique combination of flavors and textures. The bun itself is incredibly soft and fluffy, with a delicate outer layer that’s steamed to perfection.

The secret to the deliciousness of Char Siu Bao lies in its glaze. The pork is coated with a sweet and savory sauce that creates an irresistible taste sensation.

Often served on skewers or forks at traditional Chinese barbecues, this mouthwatering treat has found its way into the hearts and stomachs of Hawaiians too.

Tips And Techniques For Mastering Hawaiian BBQ

Mastering Hawaiian BBQ requires mastering various tips and techniques, such as perfecting marinades, controlling grill temperatures, and knowing when to rest and carve meat.

Marinating And Seasoning Techniques

Marinating and seasoning are key techniques in mastering the art of Hawaiian BBQ. The right combination of flavors can elevate your dishes to new heights, creating a mouthwatering experience that keeps people coming back for more.

One popular method is using a master marinade blueprint, which serves as the foundation for all your marinades.

In addition to the master marinade blueprint, experimenting with homemade marinades allows you to infuse your dishes with unique flavors and personal touches. For example, adding pineapple juice not only tenderizes meat but also imparts a subtle tropical sweetness that pairs perfectly with grilled chicken or pork.

When it comes to seasoning techniques, simplicity often reigns supreme in Hawaiian BBQ. A sprinkle of sea salt or cracked black pepper can go a long way in enhancing the natural flavors of grilled meats or seafood.

Remember that mastering marinating and seasoning techniques takes practice and experimentation. Pay attention to how different combinations of ingredients affect flavor profiles and take note of what works best for you.

Grilling And Smoking Tips

To become a master of Hawaiian BBQ, it’s crucial to learn the art of grilling and smoking. These techniques are essential for achieving that delicious smoky flavor that sets authentic Hawaiian BBQ apart.

One important tip is to use indirect heat when grilling larger cuts of meat like pork or beef.

Another key aspect is using aromatic wood chips or chunks during the smoking process. For instance, applewood or mesquite can infuse your meats with unique flavors that complement the sweet and savory elements found in traditional Hawaiian cuisine.

Additionally, maintaining proper temperature control throughout the cooking process is crucial. Using a thermometer ensures accurate readings, preventing overcooking or undercooking your meats.

Lastly, don’t forget about sauces and glazes! While it’s common to marinate meats beforehand in soy sauce-based concoctions popular in Hawaiian cuisine, basting with additional sauce during cooking adds extra layers of flavor.

By following these tips and experimenting with different woods and marinades, you’ll be able to elevate your grilling game and achieve an authentic taste of Hawaii right in your backyard barbecue gatherings.

Proper Temperature Control

Proper temperature control is an essential aspect of mastering Hawaiian BBQ. Whether you’re grilling pork, chicken, or shrimp, getting the temperatures right ensures that your meats are cooked to perfection and bursting with flavor.

For example, when smoking a Kalua pork, maintaining a low and steady temperature around 225°F allows the meat to tenderize slowly while absorbing the smoky flavors from wood chips or charcoal.

Temperature control also plays a crucial role in food safety. Ensuring that meats are cooked thoroughly eliminates any risk of bacterial contamination. The USDA recommends cooking poultry to an internal temperature of 165°F and pork to at least 145°F followed by a resting period of three minutes before serving.

By understanding and implementing proper temperature control techniques, you can take your Hawaiian BBQ skills to new heights while guaranteeing delicious meals every time.

Resting And Carving Meat

Resting and carving meat is a crucial step to achieving tender, juicy results in your Hawaiian BBQ. After taking the meat off the grill, it’s important to let it rest for a few minutes before slicing or serving.

When resting meat, remember to keep it covered loosely with foil or in a warm spot on your grill. This helps retain heat and ensures that the meat stays at an optimal temperature while resting.

Carving the meat correctly is just as important as resting it. Use a sharp knife and slice against the grain for maximum tenderness.

By incorporating these techniques into your Hawaiian BBQ cooking routine, you’ll be able to serve up mouthwateringly delicious meats that will have everyone coming back for seconds.

Sauce And Glaze Application

Sauce and glaze application is a crucial step in mastering the art of Hawaiian BBQ. The right combination of flavors can elevate your dishes to new heights, creating that perfect balance of tanginess, sweetness, and smokiness.

One popular sauce used in Hawaiian BBQ is the iconic Hawaiian BBQ sauce, known for its tangy and sweet profile with a vibrant red color that promises big flavor.

When applying sauces and glazes, it’s important to consider the cooking process. For instance, marinating your meats prior to grilling allows them to soak up all those incredible flavors while helping tenderize them at the same time.

To achieve optimal results when applying sauces and glazes on your Hawaiian BBQ creations, remember to brush them on towards the end of cooking or grill time. This ensures that they don’t burn or become overly sticky while still allowing enough time for the flavors to meld together.

So get creative! Explore different combinations of sauces and glazes that complement various proteins such as chicken skewers basted with teriyaki-infused pineapple goodness or succulent pork ribs coated in a lip-smacking char siu-based marinade.

Pairing With Traditional Hawaiian Side Dishes

When it comes to mastering the art of Hawaiian BBQ, knowing how to pair your main dishes with traditional Hawaiian side dishes is key. These sides not only complement the flavors of the BBQ but also add a delicious variety to your plate.

One popular side dish often enjoyed alongside Hawaiian BBQ is macaroni salad. Creamy and tangy, this salad provides a refreshing contrast to the smoky and savory flavors of the meat.

Another classic side is poi, a staple in Hawaiian cuisine made from mashed taro root. Its earthy flavor pairs well with rich and flavorful meats like kalua pork or huli huli chicken.

And let’s not forget about pineapple! Grilled pineapple rings bring a touch of sweetness that balances out the savory elements of your meal perfectly.

Embrace The Spirit Of Aloha In Every Bite

With vibrant presentation and tropical garnishes, every bite of your Hawaiian BBQ will transport you to the islands, embracing the spirit of aloha in a burst of flavorful delight.

Presentation And Garnishes

The presentation and garnishes are crucial elements when it comes to embracing the spirit of Aloha in every bite of Hawaiian BBQ. The vibrant, colorful, and visually appealing plating techniques add an extra layer of excitement to the dining experience.

One popular way to enhance the presentation is by using edible garnishes like tropical fruits such as pineapple slices or wedges, mango chunks, and even edible flowers like hibiscus or orchids.

Another aspect that adds to the overall presentation is incorporating island-inspired serving dishes or bowls made from natural materials like coconut shells or bamboo for an authentic touch.

Additionally, using traditional Hawaiian designs on tablecloths, placemats, and napkins can help set the mood for a memorable Hawaiian BBQ feast.

Creating A Tropical Ambiance

To truly immerse yourself in the Hawaiian BBQ experience, creating a tropical ambiance is essential. Set the mood by selecting colorful and vibrant decorations that evoke the beauty of Hawaii’s islands.

Hang string lights adorned with hibiscus flowers, display fresh flower leis or place tropical centerpieces on your dining table.

Furthermore, consider playing Hawaiian music in the background to transport your guests to the islands. The soothing sounds of ukulele and slack-key guitar will create a laid-back atmosphere reminiscent of a traditional luau.

In addition to visual and auditory elements, consider serving refreshing drinks served in coconut shells or pineapple cups for an extra touch of island flair.

Lastly, encourage your guests to embrace the spirit of Aloha by dressing in aloha shirts or vibrant floral prints.

Hosting A Hawaiian BBQ Party

Hosting a Hawaiian BBQ party is a fantastic way to embrace the spirit of Aloha and create a memorable experience for your guests. Here are some key tips to ensure your event is a hit:

  • Set the tropical ambiance: Decorate your space with vibrant flowers, tiki torches, and colorful lanterns to transport your guests to the islands.
  • Create an inviting seating area: Provide comfortable seating options such as lounge chairs or picnic blankets so that everyone can relax and enjoy the food.
  • Plan a diverse menu: Include popular Hawaiian BBQ dishes like kalua pork, huli huli chicken, and grilled shrimp with mango salsa. Don’t forget traditional sides like lomi lomi salmon and rice.
  • Offer vegetarian options: Consider including grilled vegetables or tofu skewers marinated in flavorful Hawaiian-inspired sauces for non-meat eaters.
  • Incorporate entertainment: Hire local musicians or dancers to perform traditional Hawaiian music and hula dances to enhance the atmosphere.
  • Provide leis for guests: Welcome your guests with beautiful flower leis as they arrive, adding an extra touch of authenticity to the party.
  • Serve refreshing island drinks: Offer fruity tropical cocktails like mai tais or non-alcoholic beverages like pineapple juice or passion fruit iced tea.
  • Encourage interactive activities: Set up fun games such as limbo or poi ball tossing to keep guests entertained throughout the day.
  • Don’t forget about dessert: End the meal on a sweet note by serving popular Hawaiian treats like shave ice or pineapple upside-down cake.

By following these tips, you can host an unforgettable Hawaiian BBQ party that will transport your guests straight to the beautiful islands of Hawaii.

Incorporating Hawaiian Music And Dance

Incorporating Hawaiian music and dance into your Hawaiian BBQ party is a fantastic way to embrace the spirit of Aloha and transport your guests straight to the islands. Traditional Hawaiian music is diverse, ranging from rock ‘n’ roll to jazz and even a unique reggae style that blends island rhythms with Jamaican influences.

To truly immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture, consider including live hula performances as well. Hula is not just a dance; it’s an integral part of Hawaii’s identity and history.

Originating from ancient Polynesia, this graceful art form tells stories through elegant movements and expressive gestures.

By incorporating Hawaiian music and dance at your barbecue, you’re offering an authentic experience for your guests that goes beyond just delicious food. The lively tunes and mesmerizing dances will transport everyone to the beautiful shores of Hawaii, creating lasting memories of a memorable event infused with the true spirit of Aloha.

Final Thoughts And Conclusion

In conclusion, mastering the art of Hawaiian BBQ is not just about creating delicious dishes; it’s about embracing the spirit of Aloha and immersing yourself in the vibrant culture of Hawaii.

Throughout this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored everything from essential tools and equipment to popular dishes like Kalua Pork and Huli Huli Chicken.

Remember, Hawaiian BBQ is more than just food – it’s about sharing laughter, good times, and community with family and friends. So fire up those grills, gather your loved ones together under the sun-kissed sky, and let every bite transport you to the beautiful islands of Hawaii.

Hawiian BBQ


In conclusion, mastering the art of Hawaiian BBQ is an exciting journey that allows you to explore the rich culture and flavors of Hawaii.

From learning about the history and cultural significance of Hawaiian BBQ, to understanding essential tools and equipment, popular dishes and recipes, as well as tips and techniques for grilling perfection – this guide has got you covered.

But it doesn’t stop there. Embracing the spirit of Aloha in every bite is what truly makes Hawaiian BBQ special.

So why wait? Dive into this comprehensive guide today and embark on a culinary adventure like no other. Get ready to impress your family and friends with mouthwatering dishes that capture the essence of Hawaii’s vibrant cuisine.


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