· The Hot Line - Newsletter
Feb. 2009: Texas Grilling

February 2009
Welcome
That's right, I'm not from Texas. I hear it's big. I'd like to go but, being from Alberta, I feel that the visit might be redundant in a few ways. Mind you, they've got a world class barbecue scene down there that has influenced the way all of us do our grilling. Firstly, they've perfected the art of cooking the cow. They let the folks in the East worry about the pigs and they've kept their eyes firmly fixed on Bessie. Brisket, of course, is the most famous Texas barbecue dish. This tough, coarsely textured cut of meat from the animal's chest is cooked over mesquite wood or charcoal at low temperatures for long periods of time. As the meat slowly cooks the muscle tissue breaks down and, when properly cooked, the brisket meat is tender and delicious (brisket is also often used for corned beef). One sniff of burning mesquite wood immediately gets you thinking about eating some beef. Texas was under the dominion of six different countries at six different times in its history. That makes for a large variety of influences on the regional cooking (it would also keep those folks that sing the national anthem at the hockey games on their toes eh?) Texas combined European setters, Cajun neighbours, Mexican in-laws, a hexazillion cattle and their own list of regional ingredients into a world class cuisine. Next time you're halfway through a plate of nachos or a breakfast burrito - consider the influence and, remember, as the Texans say: "Never eat anything bigger than you head."  

Barbecue Tipster
  Folks are getting creative with wood chips these days. Instead of using just one type of wood chip to add flavour when grilling, they're combining a variety of chips to create unique smoke tastes. Some of the companies that package wood chips are getting in on the act and creating 'blends' for particular types of meals such as seafood, chicken or beef. In general, stronger woods such as oak and mesquite work well with red meats, fruit woods work well with pork and mild woods such as alder and birch are a good match with fish. But those are just guidelines; there are some great blends that work well with some surprising meats. It's cheap and easy to try your own blends. Just pick up a variety of wood chips and start mixing. Hey, it works for wine - why not wood?

Recipe of the Month Barbecue Roasted Texas Jalapeno Poppers A few years ago a good friend of mine had an embarrassing accident involving jalapeno peppers. My friend (who shall remain nameless but, if you saw him walking down the street and shouted "Hey Tom", he would likely turn his head and look at you), was cutting up some jalapenos for dinner. It was summer; he was wearing shorts and got an itch. Not an itch in the arm or leg. Not an itch behind his ear or on top of his head. A more private itch. The itch that darst not speak its name. My friend acted without thinking. Next thing he knows he is in pain. A lot of pain. He jumps in the shower to rinse but the pain won't go away. In fact the pain didn't go away until many, searing, cringe-worthy, hours later. What can we learn from this story? Well, we can all learn to be careful when we're cutting hot peppers. Wear rubber gloves if you have sensitive skin, wash your cutting area thoroughly after you've finished cutting and don't touch your face - or any other sensitive areas - before you've washed your hands very, very carefully. This Texas inspired recipe marries the heat of the jalapeno with the magic, healing properties of cured pork and cheese. A bit laborious but loads of fun and plenty tasty. Ingredients: 18 Jalapeno peppers Sliced Friulano cheese (you can use any meltable cheese) Sliced Prosciutto ham Bacon slices - cut in half Directions:
  Get your special jalapeno holder ready.
  Set out your ingredients. See the bacon?!
  Lop off the heads of the jalapenos.
  Remove the innards. Try not to split the peppers down the sides. Remember, the seeds are the spiciest part of the pepper so get all of them out if you don't like the heat so much.
  Rinse the inside with water to make sure you get all the seeds out.
  Poke a small hole in the bottom of each pepper. This allows the grease and humidity to drain out the bottom. You don't have to do this but the peppers taste more 'boiled' and less 'grilled' if you don't.
  Roll slices of Prosciutto and cheese. You could also use think sticks of cheese wrapped in ham.
  Roll cheese and prosciutto ham together and stuff into the middle of the pepper. Fold a half piece of bacon over the top of the pepper and fasten it on top with a toothpick. As the peppers shrink in the heat of the barbecue, the toothpick will keep the peppers from falling through the holes in the pepper holder if they shrink a lot.
  Put your peppers in your rack. In my case the peppers were some sort of odd, genetically mutated, 'super jalapeno' and were too large for the holes in my rack. I stuffed them in but they were a bit tipsy.
  Cook the peppers on your barbecue, using indirect heat (approximately 350 degrees f) for as much as an hour. When the bacon's cooked the peppers are ready to eat. The longer you leave them the less spicy the peppers will be. Because I didn't want these to be too spicy I left them on the grill for an hour. (They look better if you cook them less - fewer wrinkles.)
  Eat. Enjoy. Wash down with some drinks. Repeat. In this case our peppers were about as spicy as a 'hot' Buffalo-style chicken wing. You knew there was some hot involved in what you were eating but it didn't last for very long. Perfect.
 
 

Meet the Experts
  This is Paul. Paul has worked in our North Calgary store for 2 and a half years. He's a vegetarian. We originally hired him as sort of an experiment; you see, because most of us don't know any vegetarians (don't believe any of that "Some of our best friends are vegetarians" crap), we wanted to see what they were like. One of our employees (who shall remain nameless but if you guessed that his name was "Trevor" you would be more or less correct) even wanted to give him the 'I Am Legend' treatment - strap him to the gurney and the whole nine yards. I think we wanted to know if/how someone could actually survive without eating barbecued meat. Anyway, as it turns out, Paul's a good kid. He does a great job building barbecues, fixing problems and listening to weird music. And he can draw. He can draw very, very well. If we ever need something sketched, well... we never do, but if we did, we'd get Paul to do it. Kid's got talent.

Gotta Have It
This is a rack for grilling jalapeno peppers (see recipe). Why would you need one of these? Well "need" is one of those subjective words we all overuse and, to be brutally honest, you don't really "need" one of these racks like you would "need", say, water or oxygen or red wine. But, if you're grilling some jalapenos on your barbecue - and you should - then this little rack makes the job a LOT easier (and looks cool too). So get one - even if you don't "need" it.  

Ask Dr.McGrillmeup Question Dear Dr. McGrillemup: I'd like to barbecue a brisket but I hear it takes a super long time to cook. Is this just fear-mongering or does it really take a long time? Signed, C. Hicken
Answer Dear C, Well, yes, it does take a long time. But, 'all good things' right? Most folks that cook brisket operate their barbecues at between 180 and 220 degrees Fahrenheit. You can count on about 1 to 1 1/4 hours per pound. Most will cook the brisket to at least medium. The good news: once you've perfected your formula with your equipment and type of brisket, you can leave the brisket pretty much unattended. You don't necessarily have to hover over it for the entire day. Sincerely, Doctor M.  

The World of Barbecue
Ian from Calgary wrote in with some words of advice about beets... Ian from Calgary - hi there! Ian here doing my usual...bbqing. No matter what time of year, you will always find me grilling. The recipe for today is harvest roasted vegetables from your November issue. I must agree with you that the beets are delicious. One tip though, I had all the vegetables and potatoes in my tray then added the olive oil and garlic mix. I then tossed it to get the mixture on the dish evenly. Unfortunately, everything turned pink from the beets. Make sure you toss the mixture without the beets first, then add them after. Oh yeah, remember to discard the lemons before serving.  
Be like Ian - send us a picture and/or story of you (or a friend of yours, or an enemy of yours) grilling and we'll send you a $25 gift certificate usable in any of our four stores.

Clearance Corner
  You, dear reader, should know that opportunity is knocking. Can you hear it? The opportunity in question involves you getting a high-efficiency, gas burning, Valor fireplace for your home at a ridiculously low price. All four of our stores are switching some of our burning displays in our showroom and we are currently swapping out the Valor "Portrait" series which is a smaller fireplace designed to fit into just about any space in your home. Our customers have put these units almost anywhere you can think of: kitchen, media room, bathroom - anywhere. I have one in a 14' x 14' room and it heats it perfectly in minutes. Incredibly efficient too. While we still have them, we are selling the current showroom models for FORTY PERCENT OFF OF THE REGULAR LIST PRICE. If you've been thinking about a gas fireplace this is a perfect time to check it out.

Monthy Winner Every single month, we randomly draw four winning names (one per store) from our newsletter mailing list. We only post the winning names below so you've got to keep your eyes peeled each month. If you win, you can claim your prize by stopping by the Barbecues Galore in your area with your photo identification. Congratulations to this month's winners of a Texas style prize pack.
Jeff Retzlaff (Calgary South) Wilma Hart (Calgary North) Ryan Doyle (Burlington) Alexander Miziolek (Oakville)  
And speaking of winners... I'm hoping to find a special winner this month. I've got a prize for the first (and maybe second, and possibly third) Barbecues Galore staff member that mentions this month's newsletter to me.

Next Issue
  Steak. It's what everybody loves to barbecue - we'll dive right in and try to learn a few new things about an old favorite.

Contact Us We want to hear from you. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at query@barbecuesgalore.ca. Remember, an archive of our past newsletters can be found at www.barbecuesgalore.ca.

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