· The Hot Line - Newsletter
Aug. 2009: Wood Fire Cooking

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August 2009
Welcome Now we're talking old school barbecue. Real old school. Biblical old school: make a fire, then, cook over it. Not much control over your heat and it's a lot harder to turn 'off' than your Weber, but cooking over an open fire in the backyard is still a great way to grill your meal. Mind you, the backyard firepit isn't often about cooking anymore. It's about being outside with friends and family; eating, drinking, socializing and filling fragile little minds with the story of the "Goat Man" so that they don't sleep for the rest of the summer. To that end we've got lots of different firepits available:
This Napoleon firepit comes in either a propane or natural gas model and puts out loads of heat. www.napoleongrills.com  
Firestone makes a whole series of funky, functional propane and natural gas firepits. www.outdoorrooms.com
Not sure why but this one is called - "The Ball of Fire"
The 'Revolver' turns into a stylish end table when it's not being used as a firepit.
The Big Sky firepits come with a variety of cutout shapes on the side and are complete with a safety screen on top.
Our Super Big Sky firepits are like the Big Sky models but are more "super".

Barbecue Tipster
Before you buy a wood-burning firepit and start burning those old railway ties that have been piling up in your backyard, please consider local bylaws concerning firepits. Rules change depending on where you live. In Calgary, open firepits are allowed. See the city's rule's concerning proper use of firepits here. Firepits are also allowed in Oakville (http://www.oakvillefire.ca/openairburning.htm). But, in Burlington, you need a permit to operate a fireplace - so check with The Man before you burn anything. Mitigate your impact on your neighbours by burning clean, dry wood in reasonable (not too high) amounts. Nothing makes the neighbours more nervous than looking over the fence and seeing a scene from "The Wicker Man" next door.  

Gotta Have It
  For the hardcore firepit chef there's the "pie iron". Here's how it works: you butter the inside of the pie iron, take two slices of bread, put them on either side of the pie iron, spoon gooey food of your choice onto the face of the bread, seal the pie iron and jam it into your fire. The result? A pie (of sorts). Tasty, cheap and subject to a ridiculous amount of invention, the pie iron is a true redneck culinary gadget. Some 'classic' fillings for your pie-iron cooking include: marshmallows and chocolate, canned pie filling and ham and cheese.

Meet the Experts
This is Perry. Perry is our fireplace expert in Calgary. When you want to put a fireplace inside your home to make it cozy and more energy efficient - Perry's your man. When you want to cook outside using a wood burning firepit - Perry's also your man. He comes from a long line of firepit chefs from PEI. He says that his family will (and has) cooked almost anything on a firepit. Of course, being from PEI - they concentrate on seafood and leave the 'furrier' meats for the rest of us. True fact: Perry recently came home from a two week trip to PEI and didn't eat beef or pork ONCE - seafood only. Unreal - how did he survive?  

Recipe of the Month Ok, before we get to this month's real recipe, here's a few rules about cooking over (or in) an open firepit:
  1. Pick your spots - there's always a hot area and a cool area; act accordingly. You don't want your sensitive trout fillets over the blast furnace portion of your fire.
  2. Tools good - fingers bad - fire is...well, it's hot. So keep your fingers out of it if possible.
  3. Marsupial meals - you can make a pre-made food pouch for any food. Wrap it in tinfoil, put some sauce or spice on it and chuck it in the fire when ready. It often cooks unevenly but I suspect you won't care too much about that when it's time to eat. Use heavy duty tinfoil or double-layer regular tinfoil for best results.
  4. Morning Wood - save the softwoods like spruce for the morning fire when you're not cooking. Hardwoods create more heat and don't leave a resinous taste on your food.
Your dining room...
Your kitchen...
Your sous chefs...
Your dinner (grilled rib-eye steaks, new potatoes in mushroom sauce and asparagus with wedges of parmesan - a la foil packet)
And now something for those of you that are cooking on a real barbecue this month... Ground Pork Kebabs in a Pita with Raita (recipe courtesy of www.putporkonyourfork.com)
Assemble Your Ingredients 1 lb (500 g) lean ground Canadian Pork 1 tsp (5 mL) ground coriander 1 tsp (5 mL) minced garlic 1 tsp (5 mL) paprika 1 tsp (5 mL) salt 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin 1/2 tsp (2 mL) red chile flakes 8 10-inch bamboo skewers Pita bread Salad ingredients
In mixing bowl, thoroughly combine pork, coriander, garlic, paprika, salt, cumin, and pepper flakes.
Pre-heat barbecue to medium-high. Using 1/4 cup (50 mL) ground pork mixture, mould around a skewer to form a sausage-shaped log about 3/4-inch (2 cm) wide and six inches (15 cm) long.
Tip: Wet hands with cold water to help hands from getting sticky.
Grill over medium-high for 10-12 minutes. If using bamboo skewers, make sure the portion not surrounded with meat is not over the flames.
Turn kebabs occasionally to brown uniformly. When cooked (with no hint of pink), twist and pull meat from skewers.
Cut pitas in half and warm briefly on grill.
Serve pork in pitas with salad ingredients of choice (lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, peppers, etc.). Top with a generous spoonful of raita
FOR THE RAITA: 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and seeded 1 cup (250 mL) Balkan-style yogurt 1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh cilantro 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each: salt and ground black pepper Cooking Instructions RAITA Thinly slice or grate cucumber. Place in clean cloth or cheesecloth. Press out as much liquid as possible, or blot off moisture with a paper towel. Add cucumber to yogurt and combine with remaining ingredients. Serve chilled. Makes 1 1/4 cups (300 mL)  

Ask Dr. McGrillemup
Question: Dear Dr. McGrillemup, When I was a kid my family had a ring of concrete blocks in the backyard that had some rock on top and a gas flame underneath. It was great for roasting marshmallows and hot dogs. Where can I find one of these gizmos.? Curious, C. Inder  
Answer: Dear Mr. Inder, Those firepits were constructed and sold by the local gas utility in the '70's and 80's. Cheap, cheerful and loads of fun. As the utilities removed themselves from the super-lucrative, sexy world of appliance retailing, they quite producing the cinder block fireplaces. You can still buy the curved cinder blocks at your local garden center but, alas, there is no CSA approved kit to install the gas valve and burner. Yours truly, Doctor M

The World of Barbecue The barbecue world is an ingenious world indeed. Consider the Mavericks chuckwagon team. They needed a ginormous barbecue to feed chuckwagon crew and visitors during the Stampede. But instead of buying a dull, typical grill they fabricated a mean grilling machine that looks like...a chuckwagon. Check out the pictures below. Check out the Mavericks at http://www.mavericks-chuckwagon.ca/
And remember, send us a picture and/or story of you grilling and we'll send you a $25 gift certificate usable in any of our four stores. Really, that sounds a lot like "free" doesn't it?

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 fire grilling prize:  
Kevin Johnston (Calgary South) Mark Willadsen (Calgary North) Quinn Vallance (Burlington) R. Beatie (Oakville)

Next Month's Issue
  Next month we're going to be talking about grilling mushrooms. That's right mushrooms (hey look, anyone can spout off about grilling hamburgers - we're experts for crying out loud, we've got to branch out every now and again.) Now please, don't everyone rush to your computers at once to send us your barbecued mushroom recipes - you've got a whole 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

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