beef brisket

Brisket with Carrots

Brisket

Photography by David Loftus

When you start cooking, you learn quickly that one of its great pleasures is enjoying a meal with friends and family. In Now & Again, trusted author Julia Turshen presents a new approach to convivial cooking and thinking about food that will draw people to your table.

More than 150 recipes are gathered into twenty generous menus built around food that’s both crave-worthy and doable: meatloaf, enchiladas, roast chicken with sweet potatoes, brisket with carrots, vanilla semifreddo with honeyed strawberries, double-baked potatoes with horseradish and cheddar. Written in Julia’s easy, encouraging voice, here are dishes that celebrate seasonal, crowd-pleasing food and drink for all meal occasions—breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, holiday feasts—and for cooks of all skill levels.

Now & Again takes a serious position on leftovers: make something new and delicious from them! Throughout the book, Julia’s It’s Me Again mini-recipes transforms any leftovers into whole new dishes. And to help you get a meal to the table with minimum fuss/stress, every menu has a timetable so you know what you can make ahead and how to bring it all together. (more…)

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…)

Family Recipes: New England Pot Roast

Photograph by Rachel Ellner

I’ve come to realize that many of us have been bequeathed a cherished family recipe. Be it simple or elaborate to prepare, it’s a dish so fiendishly delicious that it is the unmistakable star of the family meal, whether celebrating triumphs, comforting woes, or keeping family traditions alive. Withholding such heirloom recipes from the world seems almost cruel. Hence, I am championing the family recipe. I will entice the people in my universe to share favourite, nostalgia-infused family recipes, and I will give one of them centre stage in this very space on a monthly basis. In the end, we are all family, and these recipes represent the legacies of our shared passions. This month’s post is written by my good friend Rachel Ellner, a lifestyle reporter working out of Boston and New York City. Enjoy!


ODE TO MY MOTHER’S POT ROAST
By Rachel Ellner

I used to tell my mother that the back seat of the boat I take into the afterlife will be filled with her pot roast. Like the wealthiest of ancient Egyptians, I’ll also take my favorite cats, husbands, servants and pottery. But I’m not going anywhere without the tantalizing taste of her roast beef thoroughly drenched in wine gravy. I assume that mashed potatoes, the standard pot-roast accompaniment, are available anywhere.

The response from my mother? “Make sure it’s a brisket.”

My mother was well aware of the popularity of her pot roast. When I was a child, she would allow us a few minutes of talking through stuffed mouthfuls before shushing us.

“I want everyone to be quiet and concentrate on how good this tastes,” she’d say. And we obediently complied.

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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!