· The Hot Line - Newsletter
May 2009: Salt

May 2009
Welcome | Barbecue Tipster | Gotta Have It | Meet the Experts | Recipe of the Month | Ask Dr.McGrillmeup | The World of Barbecue | This month's Winners | Next month's Issue | Contact Us
WelcomeWelcome to The Hot Line dear readers. It's May, (most of) the snow is gone and we had all better be out in our backyards grilling before summer's over. So, right to it - this month we're talking about "salt and grilling".
Salt is like cocaine for grilled meat, it heightens the highs and masks the lows. Sure, you can have too much salt but don't be scared of it: it can make or break a barbecued meal. If you need to cut back on salt - put down the bag of Doritos or drink your margaritas without the salted rim - don't cut back on salt during grilling. Priorities. One of the great debates in the grilling world is: do you salt your meat before or after you put it on the grill? Proponents of pre-salting argue that it brings out the natural flavour of the meat and helps to sear the outside of the food. Detractors think that it draws too much of the meat's juices from the food and dries it out. For our take on it, see our highly scientific process below.
  For a brief history of salt that will make you sound like a genius at your next block party check out the Coles notes version of the history of salt on the Cargill site: http://www.cargillsalt.com/dc_salt_about_hist_salt.htm
For a more in-depth look at the history of salt you could try "Salt: A World History" by Mark Kurlansky. An entertaining look at world history through the eyes of salt (not that salt has eyes but I think you get where I'm headed with this.) Interestingly, Mr. Kurlansky has also written about world history using cod and oysters as reference points. What's wrong with kings/queens and epic battles?You'd have to ask him.

Barbecue TipsterOk, here's the tip: let your steaks sit in loads of salt prior to grilling, rinse them off and then grill them. I know, this sounds like It's right out of the Hunter S. Thompson recipe book but trust me on this. For some reason, this method tenderizes a steak and bumps it up a few grades. There's definitely a salty flavour to the finished product but It's, you know, a good saltiness. here's our recent experiment with this method (in pictures because, if I know anything, It's that a picture saves me a lot of typing):
Three steaks. Not the best grade but not the worst either. We used top sirloin.
We cut each steak in half. One half of each steak we left untreated. The other half of each steak was dredged with about a teaspoon of salt per side. Use coarse salt - not fine.
Egads! After about an hour of resting, the salted steaks are leaking like a Swedish goalie. Will this be a problem? Will they taste like salted shoe leather? Will we be calling the Colonel for dinner?Let's find out. Rinse the steaks (don't forget this step), pat them dry and put them on the grill.
In our experiment the pre-salted meat was much tastier and more tender ("tenderer?). A perfect level of saltiness and definitely more tender than the control group. I'm no chemistry wiz so don't email me and ask "why". Just trust me - it worked.
Another tip: if you're in Calgary head down to The Cookbook Company on 11th Avenue (www.cookbookcooks.com). They've got a zillion (ok, about 40) salt varieties to choose from. Gail tells us that her favourite salt for grilling is "Maldon Salt" (www.maldonsalt.co.uk) as it adds a "textural" (her word, not mine) element to the grilled meat. And, for the record, Gail salts her meat before she grills - she likes the way the juices are released by the salt so they can caramelize when they hit the hot grill. (www.cookbookcooks.com)

Gotta Have It 
When just salt isn't good enough, reach for some seasoning salt. There are loads of different versions out there. Almost all of them add a bit of punch and zip that regular salt doesn't provide. A perfect way to add some last minute, no-time-to-marinate flavour to your pork chops, burgers and so on. We like Back Eddy"s Salt. http://www.backeddys.com/ It's from Hay River - how often can you say that?
We've said it before, we'll say it again: if you need some casual outdoor chairs for your home or cottage, you need look no further than the recycled resin chairs from CRP (www.crplastics.com). They look great, they"re comfortable, they don't rot, fade, stain, moan, bitch, complain, make a racket or steal your girlfriend. They require no maintenance. None. Oh, and they come in some cool colours. Heard enough?

Meet the Experts
This is Jordan. He works at our store in Oakville and is our resident "Big Green Egg" expert. We asked him a few questions about grills and grilling...What do you like the best about being at Barbecues Galore?
Talking about barbecues. I"ve been accused of too much passion for the Q. I like educating customers so they can buy the right grill for themselves or family.
  What kind of barbecue do you own?  
I have a 17yo Weber platinum, it has all original parts and going strong, would only supplement it with a Big Green Egg, never replace
  Favourite grilled food?  
My favourite barbecued food would have to be chicken wings, or ribs...., ooo.. maybe steak... well I guess you say that if its barbecued I like it.
  When do you use salt for grilling
It depends on the food, for the most part I incorporate salt into my homemade rubs and sauces. 
  What is your favourite type of salt?
I enjoy Mediterranean rock salt, it packs that saltiness that I like. 
  What's your favourite salty snack?  
I like both salty and sweet, the perfect combination are chocolate covered pretzels..mmmmm.... now I'm hungry.

Recipe of the MonthMustard and Alberta Whisky Brined Pork Chops This recipe is from www.growingalberta.com. A great site to keep you informed about food happenings around the province of Alberta. Some great recipes too. Brine is a salt, water and seasoning solution used to preserve and flavour foods. Brining increases the amount of liquid inside the meat cells and helps the cells retain moisture for a juicy moist chop. don't be afraid of the amount of salt in this recipe - salt's your friend.
4 pork chops
2 cups (500ml) water
¼ cup (50 ml) Alberta Whiskey, your favourite brand
3 tbsp (45 ml) brown sugar
3 tbsp (45 ml) honey
¼ cup (50 ml) whole grain mustard
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
¼ cup (50ml) salt
1 cup (250 ml) ice cubes
  Serve with condiments from your favourite farmers' market vendor.
Assemble your ingredients.
Add the whisky. We used Alberta Premium. Didn't have any of the regular five year old so we used the 25 year old. Arguably a waste of a good whisky. (Again, the things I'm willing to do for you the reader.) I'm told that Alberta Premium is one of the only whiskys available that still uses 100% rye. I don't know about that but I do know It's got a sweeter, more refined flavour than most of the Canadian whiskys out there. If you're in Ontario and can't find Alberta Premium try some from Forty Creek (www.fortycreekwhisky.com).
Add the brown sugar...
...the water...
...and the minced rosemary.
Add your honey. For our recipe we used "Scandia Fields" honey which, in our opinion, is the tastiest, smoothest, yummiest, healthiest, purest, bestest honey in the land. Remember: "It's Worth the Drive to Scandia". www.scandiahoney.com
Add your mustard to the mix. If possible use "Brassica Mustard" made in Calgary by Karen and Desmond. We used their roasted garlic mustard which was a perfect fit for this recipe. Brassica Mustard is available at Barbecues Galore. www.brassicamustard.com.
Add your salt. Admittedly, it seems like a lot of salt but trust us on this.
Add some ice cubes and whisk until the ice cubes are melted and the salt is dissolved into the liquid. Frankly, I have absolutely no idea what purpose the ice cubes serve but, hey, sometimes It's just easier to follow the recipe.
Put the pork in the marinade and let it rest for 8-12 hours in the fridge. Take it out of the fridge ½ hour before grilling so it can warm up towards room temperature before grilling.
Put the chops on the grill.  Recent experience has taught me that if you get too involved in a six pack, you may burn some of the pork chops. You've been warned.
Serve with...well, whatever the hell you want really - It's your dinner.  The pork chops were extremely moist and had a robust, not-overpowering salty flavour. The mustard came through nicely. The fine palates of the test kitchen couldn't pick out the whisky flavours so (again) don't spend too much on the whisky you put in this recipe.

Ask Dr.McGrillmeup 
Question:Dear Doctor M: I'm thinking about having a natural gas line installed in my backyard so I don't have to worry about constantly refilling propane bottles. Is that a good idea? Signed, Mr. F. Latoolent
methane trap not exactly as shown
Answer: Dear F: I once saw a show on tv where a Vietnamese villager collected "methane" from her pigs using a 15' long, 10' round, airtight, plastic bladder above the pigpen next to her house. A lot of gas was naturally collected in this thing as the pigs did what pigs do. When she wanted to cook something, she'd cinch these huge straps on the bladder which forced the accumulated gas down into a narrow hose which connected to a single burner on the countertop of her modest kitchen. she'd twist the "on" valve, put a match to it and "voila" she was cooking with gas! Here in Canada, for various reasons, we don't cook with gas we collect from pigs, we use natural gas. It's clean, It's relatively cheap and, according to my friend Tim who is an acclaimed industry insider "…will never run out". So, embrace it - It's better than pig farts.  
Our certified gasfitters can install or alter gaslines in your home so that you have your barbecue (or interior appliances) hooked up to natural gas. That way, you won"t have to worry about your propane running empty during a cookout again. Remember, natural gas is cleaner and cheaper than propane. And It's a damn sight more convenient than having a pig barn next to the house.
  Keep Grilling, Doctor McGrillemup  

The World of BarbecueAs you know, here at The Hot Line we're always interested to see how people are grilling. Whether It's over the neighbour"s fence or across the globe, we want to know What's going on. Here are a few barbecue pictures from St. Lucia.
For some reason, there doesn't seem to be much agreement on how to spell the word "barbecue". I thought I had seen ever possible version: I was wrong.
If you followed the sign - this is what you found: an old cast-iron vessel, that had once been used to dry cocoa, filled with hardwood charcoal and topped with some incredibly delicious food. Time for a shameless but heartfelt plug: if you're thinking about a Caribbean vacation consider Eastwinds in St. Lucia where this cauldron barbecue lives. You will not regret it: www.eastwinds.com
The kingfish, tenderloin and lobster were fantastic but the barracuda was the fan favourite. No, not pretty. Tasty though - real tasty. (Apparently, some barracuda can be toxic - I found this out AFTER we ate this yummy fella in the picture http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20060406/cook/cook1.html)
  here's a few of the lunches we had around World Headquarters this month:  
Stacy cooked up some bacon on the barbecue. The bacon was for some chicken and avocado sandwiches but most of it was eaten before the sandwiches.
Seranda works in purchasing. When it was her turn to cook lunch she pulled in a ringer: her husband Harold is a professional chef. This is what Harold grilled for us for lunch:
Spring Mixed GreensRed Pepper Goat Cheese Vinaigrette Twice Baked Stuffed Potatoes Grilled Asparagus Bacon Wrapped Meat Loaf Bananas Foster Over Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
  That"s not even mentioning the "Roasted mustard seed and Rosehip" sauce for the asparagus. To say that I was "full" after lunch is like saying Gary Busey is "colourful". It was NOT an overly productive day around the office after that spread.
Sue supervised her brother cooking pork chops for lunch. Her brother, Peter, is from Ontario but came out to Calgary to cook us lunch. There was something about watching some hockey too, being that Peter is a Flames fan. Also on the menu was a potato salad, pasta salad, and crab dip. For dessert there was apple crisp cooked on the barbecue with a homemade maple syrup topper that was also from Ontario.
Darren from Ridgeville took a trip to Florida and did some cooking while he was down there:
Hello folks,here's a couple of pictures that were taken on a recent trip down South to Florida. The 22in Weber was caught holding and smoking a 25Ib Sirloin Tip and a 20 Lb Deer Roast which was being gently kissed with soaked Hickory Chips and sprinkled on top of a bed of Kingsford Charcoal. The end result need I say was amazing and can't wait for the next trip or cookout! Darren
  Be like Darren! 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.

This month's Winners 
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 grilling salt prize pack: JJ Jeffrey (Calgary South) Valerie Cruz (Calgary North) Julie MacKenzie (Burlington) Selene Soo (Oakville)

Next month's Issue:Next month, against my better judgment, we're going to have a "Motorhead" issue. I thought that "Motorhead" just referred to the band; you know "Ace of Spades", "Orgasmatron" - all that. Silly me. Apparently, "Motorhead" also refers to people that are into car racing. Who knew? Basically, we're doing this to make Jen in the office happy. Unbeknownst to us, Jen is some sort of NASCAR/Car racing nut and she's 100% convinced that an issue of our newsletter has to focus on this stuff. So...we caved. If you know of any good car-racing, barbecue recipes you better send them in. See you next month.

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

North Calgary3505 Edmonton Trail NE, Calgary, Alberta 403-250-1558 South Calgary5875 9th Street SE, Calgary, Alberta 403-258-4440 Burlington3100 Harvester Road Burlington, Ontario905-639-0436 Oakville 490 Speers Road Oakville, Ontario 905-844-3224

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