Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

"Chef Brian Henry cooked a series of delicious appetizers for us as we sat around a table in the kitchen". Thanks

Tony Aspler, Wine writer

“Chef Brian Henry puts one hundred percent of his energy into going all the way.”

Birgit Moenke, Editor Stir Media Read More Reviews

Posts Tagged ‘barbecue’

Gastronomically yours,

April 17th, 2016

How to give your BBQ a spring tune up!

Spring is here even though it is still some six weeks until the May long weekend. Clearly we are not out of the snow laden woods yet.  Reflecting on how mild this past winter was, many of us took advantage of it by barbecuing in comfort through the winter. The added wear and tear on our barbecues might mean that a spring-tune up is in order.

No matter the brand, the size or the price that you paid for your BBQ, a spring tune up is easy to perform and may resolve some problems before they arise with the upcoming barbecue season. Essentially we need to give our outdoor grills a thorough cleaning and inspect of all of its components. The main cause of flare-ups and those nerve wracking explosive starts to your system can usually be traced to a blockage in the venturi tubes on your BBQ. Warning signs of a gas blockage include any of the following; the burner doesn’t light, the burner flames are yellow or you’ve lost an eyebrow during ignition.

Reggae Rub Wings are best when grilled over charcoal!

Reggae Rub Wings are best when grilled over charcoal!

Insects are attracted to the smell of gas and often will take up residence in the tubes used to carry gas from the tank to the burners. Using a venturi brush you can clean the bugs and their nests out of the venturi tubes. Slowly insert the venturi brush no more than an inch at a time, slightly turning it using it to pull the cobwebs and debris out of the gas lines, do this with a patient frame of mind, otherwise if you get all rammy on it you will only  compact any debris into the line.

You will also want to do a soap water test on the gas line and its connectors to ensure there are no gas leaks. Repair or replace any defected parts that you may find. Any of the metal parts within the firebox can be cleaned with a metal brush this will ensure that all of the burner ports are free of debris. Do not make any modifications to your system. You can also use a vacuum with and appropriate filter to remove the dust and debris.

Now fire it up, preheat your BBQ gently, as you do not need to re-temper any of the metal which might cause it to warp or bend. Use a damp cloth and set of long handled tongs to wipe the grilling surface. This will help remove excess dirt and metal bristles from your grilling surface.

Now it’s time to get grilling! I suggest making some burgers up but with a bit of a twist by adding some new flavours to them and using ground pork instead of beef. Pair your burgers with kimchi or a spicy coleslaw.

BBQ Cooking Classes offered year round!!

BBQ Cooking Classes offered year round!!

Asian seasoned pork burgers

Ingredients:

¼ cup hoisin sauce

¼ cup barbecue sauce

2 pounds ground pork

½ cup minced green onion

1 tbsp. minced ginger

1 tsp. minced garlic

 

Method:

In a small bowl, whisk together the hoisin and barbecue sauce and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the pork, minced green onion, ginger, garlic and 3-4 tablespoons of the hoisin-barbecue sauce mixture. Mix the ingredients together with your hands and then shape the meat into 6 equal-sized patties.

Preheat your barbecue into the 450-500 Cook the burgers on one side for 6 minutes, then flip, brush with the hoisin-barbecue sauce and continue cooking until cooked throughout.

Gastronomically yours,

July 8th, 2015

Here are the recipes from last weeks Friendly Fires Barbecue Class

One Stinky Onion

 

One of the top 10 questions I get is, “how do you chop onions without crying?”

The answer is simple. Don’t chop onions.

Slicing or chopping onions can be among the most miserable of kitchen chores.

Our sniffly noses and tears streaming down our cheeks make it easy to understand the purpose of onions¹ sulphurous characteristics: to discourage animals from eating them.

Our bodies react to onions as they do because cutting an onion releases chemicals that combine to create lachrymator, a sulphur-based gas, which is also one of the ingredients in tear gas.

This gas reacts to the water in your eyes and nose, producing sulphuric acid, which causes that familiar burning sensation and produces tears and sneezes.

Minimize the tearful effects of chopping onions by placing them in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. This will slow down the movement of the tear-inducing sulphur elements.

Another effective, if somewhat awkward, method is to try cutting the ends off of your onions under cold running water. Then allow them to soak in cold water for half an hour before chopping them.

If you¹re going to be cooking your onions right away, try placing them in the microwave for two to three minutes on high to help release the gases prior to chopping.

 

Ultimately, though, if you don¹t want to cry over onions, you’ll need to wear a pair of goggles and a nose plug. (Fashion note: Be sure to remove protective devices before dinner guests arrive.)

Onions are most often used as a sub-ingredient to help build foundations for great dishes. On occasion, though, they get top billing as the primary ingredient in recipes such as French onion soup, onion bread or onion rings. In these recipes we get to enjoy the true sweet flavour that onions have to offer.

You can use any variety of onion to make the following recipe for Red Onion Marmalade, but I prefer to use red Italian onions, with their striking colour preserved by the red-wine vinegar.

 

These onions, as well as many other varieties, are available at any roadside produce stand. I found mine, as well as the apple cider, at the Deer Bay Farm’s stall at the Peterborough Farmer¹s Market.

Serve Red Onion Marmalade as a condiment. It makes for a light alternative to horseradish in beef dishes, and is delicate enough to be served with poached or smoked salmon. I like to pair it with triple creamed Brie, some grapes and a baguette.

 

 

 

Red Onion Marmalade

Ingredients:

3 cups of diced red onions

1-cup red wine vinegar

1/2-cup unsweetened apple cider (optional)

1 tsp rubbed sage or a cinnamon stick

4 cups granulated sugar

Method:

In a large saucepot, combine diced onions, apple cider, vinegar and sage. Over high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar and return to a boil for two to three minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium and allow the mixture to simmer for five more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow the onion s to cool. Store the onion marmalade in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.

Red Onion Marmalade is great on fish, pork, beef and brie!

Red Onion Marmalade is great on fish, pork, beef and brie!

We be Jamming!

As the many varieties of Ontario berries and stone fruits are coming into season many a cook is preserving the flavours of the summer harvest by making assortments of jams and jellies. This process is often a form of large batch canning which is quite involved with the picking and cutting of fruits, cooking the fruits, testing it to see if the pectin sets, sterilizing the jars, filling the jars and then further processing them in hot water baths I get tired out just writing about it.

There is no doubt in my mind though that if you have ever made jam like this you have done it with a family member or friend and you know that it is a time for sharing much more than the workload. I regularily process foods into jams, jellies and assorted condiments but I usually do it in small batches depending on the individual needs of clients. This quick approach saves me a fair bit of time as I can produce a liter or two in less than hour.  Also this allows me to forgo using a water bath as I just stockpile it in the refrigerator until needed.

I enjoy making a variety of sticky, jammy textured preserves or condiments that include onion marmalades, balsamic jellies, and smoky bacon jams.  Forgoing the use of pectin in these preparations requires using extra sugars to produce the desired consistencies, which can be acquired from a number of sources other than white sugar. Maple syrup, honey and agave nectar are natural alternatives to use as a sweetening ingredient but their viscosity can impact the final results of your preserves consistency.

The following recipe for Smoky Bacon Jam uses a blend of brown sugar and maple syrup to sweeten it up and add depth of flavour to stand up to the bacon and spices used in it. This unique condiment is a must have staple and is perfect for small batch summer canning.

 

Smokey Bacon Jam

Ingredients:

1 ½ pounds bacon, cut into 1 inch squares

2 cups minced sweet onions

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. dried chipotle powder

½ tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground mustard

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground clove

¼ cup water

¼ cup maple syrup

½ cup sherry vinegar

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

½ cup packed light-brown sugar

Method:

In a large size skillet cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned. Transfer cooked bacon to paper towel lined plate to drain. Drain the fat from the skillet leaving all of the browned bits of bacon and cooking debris in the skillet with about a tablespoon of the bacon fat.

Stir the onions and garlic into the pan and cook them over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions become translucent. Turn up the heat to high and stir in the chipotle powder, ginger, mustard, cinnamon and cloves. Let the spices heat up and release their aromatics before adding the water, maple syrup and vinegar.

Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, and scrape all of the browned bits off of the pan while continuing to stir. Add the vanilla and brown sugar and let the recipe return to a boil before adding the bacon. Reduce heat to low and let jam reduce for about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the Smokey Bacon Jam to a suitable storage container and let it cool down before covering and refrigerating. It will store refrigerated up to 3 weeks, if it actually last that long.

 

Bacon Jam

 

Smokey Bacon Ketchup

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds  Bacon

1.5 cups of Ketchup

1.5 cups of Bulls Eye BBQ Sauce Bold original

1 – 28 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 tsp Chili powder

Method:

Cook the bacon and drain off fat. Once cooled chop bacon into small bite size cubes and reserve.  Place all other ingredients into a medium sized non-reactive container and puree until smooth using an immersion blender or in a blender. Stir in the chopped bacon and let it rest, covered, overnight in the refrigerator before using

 

 

Smokey Bacon Ketchup

Smokey Bacon Ketchup

 

mexican_kitchen_cartel

COMING SOON! Check out our line of products! The Spice Co. for all your cooking needs!

COMING SOON! Check out our line of products! The Spice Co. for all your cooking needs!

kick_ass_cajun

Gastronomically yours,

April 14th, 2015

Barbecue Blues

There was a point this past winter when I stopped going outside except for necessities

and more wood for the wood stove and the recent spring weather sees me doing much of the same.

This extended hibernation of self has changed my eating habits as my barbecue has not been used since early January.

If your barbecue has been dormant for a while a spring tune up is in order before you fire it up again.

By simply giving your BBQ a good cleaning and inspecting all of its components you can avoid flare-ups

and any nerve wracking explosive starts

which are usually linked to the gas line being blocked.

 

BBQ Cooking Classes offered year round!!

BBQ Cooking Classes offered year round!!

 

Warning signs of a gas blockage include any of the following; the burner doesn’t light,

the burner flames are yellow or you’ve lost your eyebrows during ignition.

These problems are often caused by insects that have taken up residence in the metal

venturi tubes of the barbecue that carry the gas from the tank to the burners.

Using a venturi brush something akin to a bottle-brush you can easily clean the bugs out

of the venturi tubes along with any other accumulated debris.

Using the venturi brush proceed to clean the tube out an inch at a time using it to pull any cobwebs and

debris out of the gas line, otherwise you will compact any rubbish solidly into the line.

After the tubes are cleaned out you will need to do a soapy water test on the gas line and its connectors to ensure there are no gas leaks.

Repair or replace any defected parts that you may find immediately.

Clean all metal parts within the firebox with a metal brush to ensure that all of the burner ports are also

free of debris and blockages which a heavy duty wet/dry vacuum may assist greatly with.

Do not make any modifications to your system.

COMING SOON! Check out our line of products! The Spice Co. for all your cooking needs!

COMING SOON! Check out our line of products! The Spice Co. for all your cooking needs!

 

 

 

Now you will need to gently fire up your barbecue and preheat it over a low flame as you do not need to re-temper

any of its metal components which may cause it to warp or bend. Use a damp cloth and set of long handled tongs to

wipe the grilling surface clean of any excess dirt and metal brush bristles.

Now is the perfect time to start grilling steaks before the summer rush and their prices start to increase with the demands of summer.

Try brushing your meats with the following recipe for a rich smoky barbecue sauce that is slightly spicy

and sweetened with maple syrup and is a great barbecue sauce to use on whatever foods you choose to grill.

 

Smokey Maple BBQ Sauce

Ingredients:

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup chilli sauce

¼ cup cider vinegar

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp. water

2 tbsp. butter

½ tsp chipotle powder or 2 chipotle pepper in adobo, seeded

 

Method:

Combine all of the ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan and simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes. Let the sauce cool down before using an immersion blender or food processor, to puree the mixture. Store sauce in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.

Ted Reader, King of the Q originally posted this image

Ted Reader, King of the Q originally posted this image

Gastronomically yours,

July 23rd, 2013
The 2012 Judging Panel

The 2012 Judging Panel

Here is the criteria I received for this weekends 2nd Annual Friendly Fire Rib Competition followed with a post on Barbecuing back or side ribs

 

from the classes at Friendly Fires

from the classes at Friendly Fires

 

This is how it's gonna role out on Satureday

This is how it’s gonna role out on Satureday

 

How to Judge Ribs

After turn in, the table Captain will put six trays onto a large tray and will tell the judges the numbers on the boxes (from lowest # to highest). Then the Captain will open the first tray for the judges to grade/analyze for appearance scoring. The judges will look to see that there is a minimum # of individual pieces (6); there is no sauce pooling; there is not any illegal items (radishes, red tipped lettuce, etc) in the tray. They will also look at the meat for uniformity in color (smoke ring is not a factor!), attractiveness and how it is being displayed. Although garnishment is now optional, I like to see it…although points are not suppose to be deducted if there is no garnishment.
After all trays have been scored for appearance, each judge selects any piece in the tray that they want to sample. The rib will be first subjected to the smell test, and then the judge will look at it to decide what portion he wants to eat first. The judge will take a bite from a side of the rib, which should come off at that point with just a little bit of resistance. If all the meat comes off the side of the bone, the judges know it is overcooked. If the meat is resistant to come off, then the judge knows it is not cooked properly. In either case, your entry will lose points. When the judge bites off the section of meat on the bone, he will then look at the bone for a few seconds while he tastes the sample. A well cooked rib will have a white bone at the site the meat was removed from. Within a few seconds, the bone will start to sweat with moisture and start turning slightly gray in color….this is the tell tail sign of a well cooked rib!!!The judge will score the entry and clear his pallet with crackers and water before moving onto the next rib.
If you use baby back or 3 lb St. Louis style, I would highly recommend you consider using the Hollywood style pieces…they are cut so that they have the bone in the middle and rib meat on both sides of it. Judges want to taste the meat when they bit into it, so give them what they want to get all 9’s across the board!!

 

 

Cutting Ribs

On ribs, I dont want the meat to look “torn” on the edge of the pieces, so I use a very sharp stainless steel 9 inch Santoku knife…and I cut the ribs after they have “rested” for about 12-15 minutes (while the rack is on edge–standing it up on the bones). Do not use a serrated edged knife, or you will tear the meat up…and stay away from cutting your ribs immediately after they have been removed from the pit as this will tear alot of the top portion of meat away from adjoining ribs. Hope this helps.

 

St. Louis Style vs. Hollywood Style

St. Louis style is where the butcher trims the rib skirt and squares the ends of the rack. Hollywood style is where the rib is smoked and the meat cut exactly between the ribs, so there is meat on both sides of the rib. In other words, the bone is resting in the middle of the rib with the same amount of meat on both sides of it. Not only does it look better, but the Judge’s prefer this appearance over one that has the bare bone on one side and alot of meat on the other. It is the recommended turn-in style in KCBS contests…providing your judges are KCBS trained. Take your time while slicing the ribs and follow the contour of the bones and you will score additional points in your next contest

grill

Back and side to side

 

When it comes to barbequing pork ribs people are commonly confused with the choice between back ribs and side ribs. Both rib cuts are delicious but contain higher concentrations of connective tissue which can be broken down by using marinades, rubs and extended slow cooking over low heat to create the desired fall off the bone consistency of ribs. Knowing the differences between back and side ribs will help in understanding how to successfully prepare them.

Back ribs also known as baby back ribs are cut from the loin closest to the shoulder. They are the bones that remain when the loin meat is removed. Back rib bones are much narrower and rounder than side ribs with meat between and on top of the bones. A rack of back ribs narrows from 6 to 3 inches due to the natural tapering of a pig’s rib cage.

Back ribs are celebrated for their higher meat to bone ratio, lower fat content and overall tenderness compared to the side ribs. These more desired qualities are the reason that back ribs are more expensive than side ribs.

Side ribs also known as spare ribs extend down the sides of the animal over the belly and have had the breast bone removed. They are in close proximity to where we get bacon from, and which makes side ribs fattier. Side ribs are heavy, flat, wide bones that are generally 8 to 10 inches in length. Spare ribs contain more bone and fat than meat which is why side ribs are cheaper to purchase than back ribs.

Once you have chosen which cut of ribs you want to cook up you will need to purchase about a pound of ribs per person. Fresh pork products offered by our local grocery stores and butcher shops are Ontario raised if not at least Canadian. I recently purchased a whole pig locally from Smokey Joe’s which was delicious from tail to snout.

Both back and side ribs will require you to remove its pleura, the thin, translucent membrane that lines the inside of the rib cage. This membrane will prevent flavouring from rubs or marinades from penetrating the meat and will be tough and chewy if not removed prior to cooking. This membrane is easily removed by using a blunt knife like a dinner knife to detach a flap of it from one of the rack of ribs. Grab onto the flap and gently but firmly pull the flap while holding down the rack to rip the pleura away from the ribs in one pull.

Rib recipes sometimes recommend steaming or boiling your ribs before finishing them in the oven or on the barbeque. These techniques will provide you with a tender rib so long as you do not cook them too quickly as it will toughen the meat. I prefer not to boil my ribs as most of the flavour ends up in the cooking water. If you insist on wet cooking your ribs I suggest using side ribs and cooking them in a slow cooker then serving them with their cooking liquid over rice or potatoes.

Easy BBQ Ribs

Ingredients:

Four pounds of back ribs, pleura removed

Two cups of your favourite grilling sauce

Method: Preheat your barbecue to between 225°F- 250°F. Shut down one half of your barbeque and place ribs on the side you shut down so that the ribs are cooked by indirect heat. Close the barbeque lid and keep it closed to maintain a constant temperature between 225°F- 250°F. Turn your ribs every 20 minutes. After an hour baste your ribs every 20 minutes when you flip your ribs over for one more hour for a total cooking time of 2 hours. This process will turn your racks into beautiful mahogany coloured slabs of goodness that will feed four. If you are using a sweet grilling sauce you should only baste the ribs during the last half hour of cooking as the sugar in the sauce will burn.

 

 

Gastronomically yours,

June 29th, 2013

Thanks KawarthaNow.com

 

 

Korean BBQ aka Galbi

 

Korean barbeque is rated as one of the World’s Most Delicious Dishes in a reader’s poll compiled by CNN.  Traditionally it is referred to as Galbi Gui, in Korean galbi literally means rib whether cooked or raw and gui means grilled but it is usually simply referred to as galbi.

Galbi also known as Kalbi largely defines an assortment of grilled meats in Korean cuisine that is generally made with marinated beef or pork short ribs that have been thinly sliced across the bones to allow the marinade to penetrate the meat quickly and further allows for rapid cooking. The secret to great tasting Kalbi is to understand the balance of its sweet and savory flavors. Most North American Galbi is sweeter than what you would be served in Korea as it is more appealing to our palates.

The grilling technique for kalbi is the exact opposite of how you would grill a steak or burger as it requires you to be very hands on, constantly turning and moving the meat about the grill allowing the marinade to create a nice even glaze on the meats surface without burning the sugars.

Korean barbecue is traditionally cooked by grilling the meat on perforated dome grills that often are built into the dining table that allows for everyone to cook their own food to their own preferences.

Korean barbeque is usually served with a variety of side dishes which include spinach, rice, kimchee and whole leaves of lettuce which is used to wrap the meat and condiments together into nice little bite size packets.

I ‘ve received a lot of reader feedback over the past couple of weeks wondering if I had turned vegetarian and where are the barbeque recipes. Not to fear, I’ve been barbequing up a storm for clients, classes and family alike. The recent arrival of summer and it’s Caribbean like weather is perfect weather to fire up our outdoor kitchens and keep the house cool by not cooking indoors.

You may choose to make your galbi from thinly sliced sirloin or tenderloin but I find that the flavours of galbi are best represented when done with beef short ribs that are cooked over a charcoal based fire. If you wish to use whole racks of beef or pork ribs you can as opposed to the short ribs, they will just need to marinate for an extra few hours and may produce a less tender end product. Regardless this week’s recipe can be prepared using chicken, pork, beef, fish, vegetables and/or tofu all of which can be sourced locally.

 

This recipe is tried and true. I have used it a number of times and for those of you who missed the Korean barbecue class at Friendly Fires, this is one of the recipes we explored.

 

 

Grilled Korean-Style Galbi Marinade

 

3 pounds beef short ribs or other meat

Juice of lemon, lime, mango, papaya or kiwi

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 cup soy sauce

3/4 cup water

¼ cup shao hsing cooking wine or dry sherry

3 tbsp. white vinegar

2 tbsp. white sugar

1 tsp. black pepper

2 tbsp. sesame oil

1/4 cup minced garlic

1/8 cup minced ginger

1/2 large onion, minced

 

Method:

Liberally massage the meat with the juice of your choice using your hands. Distribute the brown sugar evenly on the meat by sprinkling it on each piece. Allow the meat to sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile whisk together soy sauce, water, wine, and vinegar in a large, non-metallic bowl. Whisk in, white sugar, pepper, sesame oil, garlic, and onion until the sugar has dissolved.

Marinate thick cuts of meat or ribs overnight; the longer, the better. Thinner cuts only need an hour or so. Preheat your grill and grill’em as you so desire

 

 

 

 

Gastronomically yours,

May 24th, 2013

Ted Reader, King of the Q originally posted this image

 

 

Getting all fired up!!

 

There is something inexplicably tantalizing to one’s taste buds when the gentle wafting aromas of a neighbours BBQ ride find their way into our olfactory senses. It’s almost instinctive the way we react to the smell of flesh cooking over an open flame. This is quite understandable seeing as this is one of the oldest documented cooking methods.

The word barbeque is a derivative of a Cariban word barbaquoa.  The Carib’s at one time inhabited the southern Caribbean. The Arawak’s inhabited the northern islands.  It was common to find barbaquoa Ararwak on a Cariban’s dinner menu. This influence came from the Caribbean to the Gulf and made its way through Texas into North American cuisine.

With the arrival of spring many people will be firing up the BBQ for another season of grilling. Regardless of the size and price that you paid for your BBQ a spring tune up is in order before you get all fired up.

First you should give your BBQ a good cleaning and inspect all of the components within it. The main cause of flare-ups and those nerve wracking explosive starts to your system can usually be traced to a blockage in the venturi tubes on your BBQ. Warning signs of a gas blockage include any of the following; the burner doesn’t light, the burner flames are yellow or you’ve lost an eyebrow during ignition.

Insects are attracted to the smell of gas and often will take up residence in the tubes used to carry gas from the tank to the burners. Using a venturi brush you can clean the bugs out of the venturi tubes. Similar to a bottlebrush, proceed with the venturi brush an inch at a time using it to pull the cobwebs out of the line. Otherwise you will compact any debris into the line.

Do a soapy water test on the gas line and its connectors to ensure there are no gas leaks. Repair or replace any defected parts that you may find. Any of the metal parts within the firebox can be cleaned with a metal brush this will ensure that all of the burner ports are free of debris. Do not make any modifications to your system.

Now fire it up, preheat your BBQ gently, as you do not need to re-temper any of the metal causing it to warp or bend. Use a damp cloth and set of long handled tongs to wipe the grilling surface. This will help remove excess dirt and metal bristles from your grilling surface.  Now it’s time to get grilling!

 

 Maple Bourbon Grilling Sauce

In a heatproof bowl combine

½ cup of real Maple Syrup

¼ cup of bourbon

1 tbsp.  Vanilla extract

A pinch of thyme

A pinch of ground pepper

Generously brush the sauce over, beef, chicken, pork, salmon or veggies while your cooking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Straightforward Grilling Notes…

 

First and foremost you need to recognize two important things. First do not leave your BBq when cooking. Secondly your BBq has variable temperature control dials, therefore you should not always have your BBq cranked on high.

 

Prior to grilling assemble all of the items that you will need to get the job done. Including a squirt bottle of water to put out any small flare-ups as well as a fire extinguisher for large flare-ups!

 

Cuts of beef to utilize are NY striploin, Ribeye, Tenderloin, or Sirloin. About 5-10 minutes prior to cooking the steaks lightly drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Cook steaks on a hot BBq. Do not keep flipping them or turning them. You will only need to touch your steaks five times when cooking them 1. Place steaks on hot BBq. 2. After the flesh has been seared and marked, give the steak a quarter turn. This ensures the lovely criss-crossed grill marks you get in restaurants.

3. Flip the steak over. 4. Repeat step 2. 5. Remove the steaks from the BBq.

 

This process is the same for chicken, lightly oil the chicken prior to BBqing it as this will ensure that the chicken will not stick to the grill.

 

For grilling fish, choose firm fleshed fish such as salmon,  sea bass or tuna. For fish you will give everything a bit of oil, your flipper, tongs the BBq and the fish. This will allow you to cook the fish just like a steak. You also can cook the fish with the skin on it. Lightly oil the skin and cook it skin side down on the BBq. This technique will allow you to cook your fish without it breaking or flaking apart on the BBq.

 

For grilling veggies such as zucchini, eggplant and portabello’s lightly marinate the veg in olive oil with balsamic vinegar in a ratio of two-part vinegar to one-part oil. The veg do not need to be soaked in this mixture just a light drizzled will do.

 

For cedar planking… Make sure that when you purchase your planks that they are untreated. Also you must soak the planks for at least two-three hours prior to cooking with them.

 

When using skewers in grilling, make sure you soak them for an hour prior to using them, as this will prevent them from catching fire. Use your imagination here, try soaking your skewers in brandy, apple juice, or soy sauce. As your food cooks the skewers will impart flavors into the food.

You can also utilize rosemary sprigs as skewers, or grape vines as your skewer and these will also impart flavors into your food.

 

Cedar Planked Pickerel with Goats Cheese Crust

 

The mild flavor of pickerel works best for this recipe, however it will work with snapper or wild pacific salmon. Other cheeses to try would be Brie or Feta.

 

3-4well soaked cedar planks

2-4kg fresh pickerel fillets, with the skin on

Lemon pepper

1-cup goats cheese

6 green onions minced

1-2 tbsp. fresh thyme chopped

Juice of one lemon

1 tbsp. course ground pepper

Sea salt

Olive oil for brushing

 

Preheat your BBQ on High, rub lemon pepper into flesh of fish. Combine cheese onions, thyme and pepper in a mixing bowl and mix well. Season with salt to taste. Use mixture to form a crust on the flesh side of the pickerel fillets.

Place cedar planks onto the BBQ grill and close the lid. In about 3-5 minute the planks will start to smoke and make a cracking noise. Carefully open the BBQ lid as there will be a fair bit of smoke. Brush some olive oil onto the planks, using an oiled metal spatula, transfer the pickerel; fillets to the cedar planks, skin-side down. Bake for 5-7 minutes and your crust is golden. Remove pickerel from BBQ and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

 

 

 

 

 

Basic BBQ Secrets

 

There is something inexplicably tantalizing to one’s taste buds when the gentle wafting aromas of a neighbours BBQ find their way into our olfactory senses. It’s almost instinctive the way we react to the smell of flesh cooking over an open flame. This is quite understandable seeing as this is one of the oldest documented cooking methods.

The word barbeque is a derivative of the Cariban word barbaquoa.  The Carib’s at one time inhabited the southern Caribbean. The Arawak’s inhabited the northern islands.  It was common to find barbaquoa Arawak on a Cariban’s dinner menu. This influence came from the Caribbean to the Gulf and made its way through Texas into North American cuisine.

Now I’m assuming that everyone has completed a spring tune-up on their BBQ’s prior to the start of the grilling season, as I recommended in my article “Getting All Fired Up!!”  So now it’s time to get down to the business of grilling.

To become a BBQ pro the rules are as follows. Pre-heat your Q to around 400-500 °f

Do not leave your BBQ until the cooking is done. This means that you must gather everything that you will need and have it in arms reach. This includes any of those frosty beverages you may need to get the job done right.  Prior to grilling assemble all of the items that you will. Include a squirt bottle of water to put out any small flare-ups as well as a fire extinguisher for large flare-ups.

Secondly your BBQ has variable temperature control dials; therefore you should not always have your BBQ cranked up so high that you run the risk of re-tempering it’s steel construction and charring your own flesh let alone your dinner.

Lastly for basic grilling techniques, leave the lid of your BBQ open so you can see what’s going on. Keep the lid closed when preheating your Q. The lid assists in protecting the BBQ’s fire bowl when not in use or for advanced grilling techniques such as smoking and roasting.

For grilling fish, choose firm fleshed fish such as salmon, sea bass or tuna. For fish you will need to give everything a light coating of oil, your flipper, tongs the BBQ and the fish. This will allow you to cook the fish just like a steak without it sticking to the grill. You can cook the fish with the skin on it, simply cook it skin side down on the grill. These techniques will allow you to cook your fish without it breaking or flaking apart on the BBQ.

Keep in mind that you can BBQ anything. With proper use of techniques bread, pizzas, cheese, desserts and shellfish can all be barbequed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gastronomically yours,

May 12th, 2013

Sticks and Stones

 

Who cannot resist the aromas of a BBQ? We cannot deny that when we smell foods licked by fire and smoke that our appetite is whetted and we start to salivate. This ancient method of cooking dates back to the days of cave dwellers cooking chunks of meat over a fire. Through its evolution we can come to understand the basics of BBQ and harness the elements used for creating memorable back-yard feasts.

 

The word barbecue originated from the Spanish word barbacoa and made its way to Central America. The Arawak people traveled from Central America to the Caribbean taking their style of barbacoa with them. The Caribbean was also inhabited with the Carib Indians who were a fierce society of warriors who led to the demise of the Arawak’s 1000-year existence in the Islands. It is believed that the Carib’s dinned on barbacoa Arawak at their victory feasts.

From Central America the barbecue traveled north to Texas and the barbecue scene has never rested since as it gave birth to a sub-culture of BBQ rib and sauce competitions that are as hot and fiery as the foods served at these annual national events. We must also acknowledge Australia for the “Barbie” and the Japanese for the “Hibachi” and the influences made on our way of backyard grilling. As well as tailgate party goers and the various flavors found in such societal delicacies as Beer Can Chicken.

Roll tape

 

Here in Canada we can trace our cooking styles back to the Pacific Northwest native peoples with the art of plank-grilling where one splits open a freshly caught salmon, binds it to a piece of cedar driftwood and cooks it over a fire. From the Pacific Northwest also comes hot-rock cooking. Here we use heated slabs of granite for cooking fish and seafood on the surface of heated stones. These methods of cooking allow us to infuse or impart natural aromatic flavors into our food.

Plank-grilling and hot-rock applications are fun and easy to do however there are a few precautions and rules to be observed. When choosing a plank use an aromatic wood like untreated alder or cedar. I do not recommend Eastern cedar, pine or birch. It is necessary to soak the planks in water for a few hours before the grilling begins as this allows the wood to slowly release smoke and flavor, as with dry planks you will have a fire and no dinner.

If you choose to cook with stones do not use porous rocks as they sometimes retain water and explode with extreme heat. Use slabs of granite, marble or even terra cotta. By incorporating stone slabs into your BBQ you can try doing mussels and oysters or BBQ pizzas and cheeses to make unique appetizers. Dessert is a necessary course needed to finish any great repast and this too can be done on the Q by cedar planking apples and peaches served with ice-cream.

This May long weekend is the perfect excuse for taking the time and trying something new on your Bbq. Our local grocers, farmer’s markets and farm gate purveyors are sure to have something for you to experiment with.

 

Getting fired up

 

Below is this years BBQ Class Schedule from Friendly Fires for more details check them on line

Friendly Fires 2013 BBQ Class Schedule
Below you will find the schedule for our BBQ classes in 2013. We are very excited to be welcoming two new headliners this year – Chef John from Bohemian BBQ and Master Butcher George from Primal Cuts. Returning by popular demand is Chef Brian Henry.
Once again, the majority of our BBQ classes take place on Saturday morning at our Peterborough store location – and usually rain or shine so come dressed for the weather (tents are erected in the case of rain).
Saturday May 25th – 10am
John from Bohemian BBQ – John is an grill master who specializes in southern BBQ as well as that of countries like Peru, Argentina and Portugal. Today John will be demonstrating the unique flavours of Portuguese Piri Piri with chicken. John promises you’ve never tasted chicken like this. [warning – you may experience withdrawal symptoms the next day] (cost is $15 per person)
Saturday June 1st – 10am
Chef Brian Henry will be taking our taste buds on an adventure to Korea with BBQ techniques and flavours found only on the Korean peninsula. (cost is $15 per person)
Saturday June 8th – 10am
Master Butcher George from Primal Cuts in Peterborough will be exploring the world of beef, more precisely lesser known cuts of steak. We are betting you may never buy a striploin again! Primal Cuts is known for using ethically raised local animals and being the only shop in town that dry ages beef up to 90 days! (cost is $15 per person)
Thursday June 13th – 4pm
Friendly Fires’ own Hayley Doyle and Valerie Adams will be hosting an afternoon of fun and food where women can feel free to discuss all things BBQ. Experience is not necessary. Come for the experience, come for the food, come for the techniques but leave happy, full and eager to get home to turn on your own BBQ! (cost is $30 per person and class is approx 2-3 hours long)
Saturday June 22nd – 11am
With Friendly Fires 2nd Annual BBQ Competition only one month away we thought we’d fire up the grills to have our own mini “Rib cookoff”. Come taste the difference that technique, fuel and flavouring can make to a “simple” rack of ribs.
Saturday July 6th – 10am
Chef Brian Henry is back and this time he is taking our taste buds on a trip to Australia. From the country that brought you “Shrimp on the Barbie” come see what else Australia has added to the world of BBQ through the talents of Chef Brian Henry. (cost is $15 per person)
Tuesday July 9th – 4pm
Friendly Fires’ own Hayley Doyle and Valerie Adams will be hosting an afternoon of fun and food where women can feel free to discuss all things BBQ. Experience is not necessary. Come for the experience, come for the food, come for the techniques but leave happy, full and eager to get home to turn on your own BBQ! (cost is $30 per person and class is approx 2-3 hours long)
Saturday July 13th – 10am
For his final class Chef Brian Henry will be taking our taste buds down to the docks to see what the local fishing boats have brought in today. Seafood or maybe more precisely local “lakefood”. Taste how good it can be right here in the Kawarthas!
Saturday July 20th – 10am
Master Butcher George from Primal Cuts in Peterborough will be exploring the world of beef, more precisely lesser known cuts of steak. We are betting you may never buy a striploin again!  Primal Cuts is known for using ethically raised local animals and being the only shop in town that dry ages beef up to 90 days!(cost is $15 per person)
To sign up for any of our classes, please call our Peterborough location (705-741-1900) or drop in (981 Highway 7 East, Peterborough). Due to the popularity of these classes and the need to know numbers for estimating food, please note that prepayment is required to hold your spot.
Chef Brian Henry
Primal Cuts
Bohemian BBQ

reservation
Chef Brian for Hire
The Spice Co.