BBQ reviews and recipes

Cookbook​ Review: Posh Kebabs

From the original Turkish doner to Indonesian satay, everyone loves a kebab. Featuring over 70 simple recipes for everything from brochette to shashlik to souvlaki, Posh Kebabs takes you on a global tour of flavours and ingredients. (more…)

Cookbook Review: Julie Taboulie’s Lebanese Kitchen

Since she was six years old, Julie Ann Sageer (nicknamed Julie Taboulie by her close-knit family) has had a passion for cooking the meals of her Lebanese heritage. Just like in her Emmy-nominated cooking show Cooking with Julie Taboulie, each of her recipes comes with hands-on instructions, tips, and tricks for making homemade Middle Eastern dishes using heaps of fresh, seasonal ingredients. Here you’ll find dishes that range from classics like falafel, shawarma, and (of course) taboulie, to warming Bazilla―a stew of tomato, green pea, and lamb―to honey and rosewater-infused desserts.

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Cookbook​ Review: Lisbon

Full of history, great food and bursting with character, Portugal’s capital is one of Europe’s most charming cities. In Lisbon, Rebecca Seal shares her favourite recipes, inspired by her travels.

Set on seven hills, Lisbon features world-class beaches, city views and wild forests. And the food is as diverse as the surroundings from the bars in Bairro Alto to the cafes in Chiado, there’s something for everyone. (more…)

Cookbook Review: Junk food Japan

Packing a heavy punch and offering a fresh new look at Japanese food, chef Scott Hallsworth of London’s Kurobuta restaurant prides himself on reworking the “Iazakaya” Japanese pub style of relaxed eating and drinking. Kurobuta serves food that is both incredibly inventive yet comfortingly familiar. The restaurant’s signature dishes—Barbequed Pork Belly in Steamed Buns with a Spicy Peanut Soy Sauce, Tea Smoked Lamb and Kombu, and Roasted Chilean Seabass—are packed with flavour and are guaranteed to wow friends, family, and hungry gatecrashers.

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Interview with a Chef: Ottawa Ribfest’s Matt Smith of Gator BBQ

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Nick Smith, left, and his father Matt, of Gator BBQ.
Photo credit: MORGAN MODJESKI / THE STARPHOENIX

 

For over 30 years, Gator BBQ has been delivering mouth-watering chicken, pulled pork and ribs to the hungry crowds of Rib Fests all across North America. Touring Canada and the Northern United States, the Smith family of Port Dover continue to win countless awards and events with their signature southern BBQ cuisine. On the eve of Ottawa Ribfest, I caught up with Matt Smith to discuss his humble BBQ beginnings, his secret for achieving great tasting barbecue and if he ever gets tired of being around so much BBQ!

How did you get involved in the BBQ business?
By accident mostly. I used to be part of the carnival circuit for Conklin Shows and eventually crossed paths with a fella who ran these Ribfests. I started my own team and its grown from there—must be 20 years at least. We were there at the very start!

Tell me about the BBQ process. Boil or bake? Smoker? Hardwood or gas?
Always smoked. Ribs, pork and chicken are done in our smoker (Southern Pride) for various times depending on the meat. Although the fuel is propane, there’s a wood oven that heats the smoker and pumps the heated smoke throughout. (more…)

Product Review: Ernest Hemingway Culinary Collection

E.H.-Gourmet-Products

First and foremost a world renown Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning author, Ernest Hemingway is nearly as famous for his legendary lifestyle as his writing. A true sportsman and outdoorsman, Hemingway traveled the world pursuing his passions. A resident of Havana, Key West, Paris and Ketchum, Idaho, Hemingway hunted big game on African safaris, sat ringside at Spanish bullfights, fished the world’s oceans and traveled extensively throughout Europe in time of war and peace.

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The romantic and international appeal of the Hemingway legend is embodied in the select group of products fit to bear the name. Hemingway’s love of travel, culture and cuisine has been turned it into something both tangible and tastable: EH Gourmet.

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Event: Ottawa Ribfest

Ottawa Ribfest is back in town. While your there check out Camp 31. Camp 31 BBQ was established by Larry Murphy in Alabama in 1986. They offer Southern style Bar-B-Que and their meat is slow cooked over hickory logs.

There are 17 ‘Ribbers’ to choose from along Sparks Street. Ribfest runs from 11 am-10 pm Friday and Saturday, and 11 am to 7 pm Sunday. Admission is free.

Camp 31 chicken and ribs

Camp 31 chicken and ribs

Camp 31 chicken and ribs

Camp 31 chicken and ribs

Where there’s smoke, there’s great barbeque

I found a shrine to serious barbeque. A place that pays homage to the Southern US “Barbeque Belt.” A restaurant that upholds the sanctity and authenticity of barbeque and one that will charm even the most hardened BBQ regionalists. A place called Fatboys Southern Smokehouse Bar-B-Que.

The aroma of hickory hangs in the air, a clear indication that this establishment takes the art of grilling meat very seriously. Many a restaurant prattle on about being the best at this or that. But I do declare that these folks’ crowning glory are its Memphis-style dry rub smoked ribs. Moist, crisp and meaty. Smokey, juicy and gnaw-able. Succulent and quite pleasingly finger-licking tasty. The dry rub of paprika, black pepper, cayenne and brown sugar create complex flavours. The wood burning oven allows the smoke to penetrate the tender meat and gives them that faint taste of caramel and hickory. Sublime. These ribs are bound for stardom. While idyllic on their own, you can also slather them with some of Fatboys’ homemade sauces: Memphis Mustard, Tennessee Sweet or Hillbilly Heat.

If you don’t fancy ribs there are plenty of other offerings to be had. Carolina catfish, Memphis BBQ spaghetti, beef brisket, a smoked burger, a pulled-pork sandwich, the “American Thanksgiving” platter and some smoked bacon mac’n cheese, to name but a few.

Traditionalists may rankle at the thought of real authentic BBQ in the nation’s capital, but they would be wise not to dismiss Fatboy’s dedication to celebrating the art of barbeque in all its glory. As their website states, the “Snow Belt unites with the BBQ Belt, which is why all 13 Southern states flags fly proudly outside Fatboys Southern Smokehouse.” I would go so far as to say that they are not only upholding the BBQ heritage of the South, they are building their own BBQ legacy north of the border with great success!

Why you should always spiral-cut your wiener (a.k.a BBQ #6)

I have a buddy that’s the coolest guy around. He’s also hilarious and extra kind. He and his wife both. And my buddy just happens to be a pro with the BBQ. You see, he owns a Weber so you know he’s serious. I am lucky enough to score an invite now and again to partake in his grilling extravaganzas. Yes, I am blessed.

Quite originally, he spiral-cuts the hot dogs. You heard me. Check out this video. The spiral-cut improves the wiener-eating experience by increasing the surface area of the frankfurter, thus resulting in a better grilled wiener and an extra tasty hot dog.

My hands are a bit shaky so the image below appears blurry. But there’s no mistaking that the hot dog was delicious.

The burgers looked like steaks on the grill and were juicy and delectable. The salad and the corn was just the right touch to finish off this meal. My friends really take care of me when I come over. I was stuffed. Oh, and if you haven’t already noticed, I like ketchup.

It’s late September and this might be the end of BBQ season for me. Unless I get a few more invites. Here’s hoping!

"Birthday Month" – BBQ #5

My family knows how much I dig birthdays. Lucky for me they’re always willing to do it up big. This year’s celebration included gourmet burgers, salads and make your own sundaes. Sweet! My family is pretty fly. I’m a very lucky guy. Check out the party pics below.

Baseball balloon. Coolest thing ever.
Choice of drinks. And no, I didn’t go for the Skinnygirl cocktail.
Spectacular salad
Burger toppings: Guacamole, sun-dried tomatoes and aioli.
More burger toppings: Bacon, caramelized onions and mushrooms.
Burger and salad. A great combo.
“Make your own sundae” toppings
Sundae in a waffle bowl.