· The Hot Line - Newsletter
Oct. 2011: Bacon

October 2011
Welcome Howdy. Have you been enjoying our late summer? Ours has been fantastic. Oh sure, the weather this spring was only a few degrees shy of apocalyptic but the end of summer has been outstanding. Can't remember better weather in August and September. Lots of heat and plenty of sunshine. Perfect grilling conditions. And now, October is upon us: the creepy month with all the dried leaves skittering along the sidewalk. The Halloween month. The bacon month.  
That's right the bacon month. In this issue of The Hot Line we're talking about bacon. That glorious treatment of pork belly that smells so good and tastes even better. Did you know that, traditionally, 70% of all bacon in North America was eaten at breakfast? That's changing as people want to spread the magic throughout the day and, naturally, the goodness of bacon wiggles its way into the world of barbecue on a regular basis. From bacon on hamburgers, to bacon wrapped asparagus - we're big fans. However, while we're probably the last folks you want to be behind in the buffet line-up at Denny's, we don't subscribe to some of the current 'Bacon Mania' that you might have seen happening in the foodosphere recently. We leave that to others. Frankly, we'd rather eat it than wear it as t-shirts, band-aids or bikinis (although, if you feel the need to share pictures of yourself in bacon bikinis we can be reached at query@barbecuesgalore.ca).  
  For a (hopefully) comprehensive list of the best that the wacky world of bacon has to offer (including the 'Mr. Bacon VS Monsieur Tofu Action Figures' - honestly, what do the people in Chinese factories think of us as they're packaging this stuff?), click here - you'll be glad you did.
For a local taste of all things bacon, we attended Calgary's Baconfest this past month. What a hoot. Lots of delicious food and plenty of bacon-centered zaniness. Some of the food trucks sold out by 2pm. Sadly, we didn't manage to taste the bacon flavoured vodka. Show up early next year. (For all of our pictures from this event see our facebook page.)  
Heather from District restaurant and her (pork) belly
Plenty of action at the food trucks.
Our intrepid reporter.
Make sure you visit our webpage and sign up for our second annual 'Canada's Worst Firepit Contest'. This year we've got four (4!) beautiful gas fireplaces from Urban Fire to give away to the four best pictures of crappy fireplaces we receive. Believe me, based on the number of entries we've received so far for this contest, your chances of winning are FANTASTIC and the fireplaces from Urban Fire are a drop-dead gorgeous addition to your backyard (see here for proof). So if you've got ten extra minutes, a spot of creativity, a digital camera and a rundown firepit in your backyard - you need to enter this contest! As we receive your entries we will be posting them on our cutting edge, awe-inspiring (and yet, still completely free of charge) Facebook page.

Barbecue Tipster Cooking bacon on your barbecue is easier than you think. Here are two of the best ways to do it:  
#1. Use a griddle Keep the heat low and respect the fact that you will have to deal with the built-up grease eventually. Of course, we have all kinds of griddles in stock in our stores. Some customers prefer cast iron for its heat retention. Some like stainless steel for its ease of use and durability.  
#2. Grant's bacon. Grant used to work for us and he had a 'thing' for bacon. His technique for cooking bacon is to turn your barbecue on 'ultra-high' let it warm up for at least ten minutes, turn it OFF and then, as quickly as possible, lay the bacon pieces on the scorching hot grills and close the lid. If you have enough heat retained in your grills (cast iron grills work best for this) then your bacon cooks beautifully - nicely flat and even. Best of all, there's no cleanup at all (however, be mindful of the extra bacon-grease in the bottom of your barbecue before you cook your next meal and give it some extra burn-off).

Gotta Have It  
Heating season is upon us here in the Great White North and our customers are busy preparing to keep their homes warm. Besides offering the world's highest quality gas and wood fireplaces, we also stock more fireplace accessories than anyone else. We've just received a shipment of the sharpest looking wood racks we've ever seen. Come in and check them out. They're nice to look at, built like tanks and hold a LOT of wood.  
And, for those of us who still want to burn things outside, we're all excited around here about a few new, all-natural hardwood charcoals we've been cooking on lately. Our selection of charcoals in the store has never been better and, if you're still cooking on the briquettes your dad used thirty years ago, you owe it to yourself to try something better.

Recipe of the Month Heather's Bacon We "borrowed" this recipe from a 2009 version of the City Palate. They've got lots of recipes on their website which are worth checking out. Even though, they refuse to 'like' our (potentially) award-winning Facebook page they're still (mostly) good people and know a thing or two about food.  
  4 Tablespoon maple syrup
  2 lb. pork belly, any ragged edges trimmed, rind on
  4 oz. kosher salt by weight (about 1 c.)
  2 oz. demerara sugar by weight (about 1/2 c.)
  1 garlic clove, minced
  1 teaspoon minced thyme
  cracked black pepper to taste
  Scallop and Smoked Bacon Risotto The Risotto recipe is also borrowed - this time from Nathalie Maclean. Ingredients:
  20 each 10-20 count sea scallops
  1 shallot, minced
  1 clove garlic, crushed
  6 oz. smoky bacon, minced
  4 oz. dry white wine
  3/4 cup superfino arborio or caranoli rice
  3 cups chicken stock
  2 tbsp olive oil
  2 tbsp butter
  2 tsp salt
  2 tsp pepper
  1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  1/4 cup sliced chives
Heather's Smoked Bacon City Palate - Nov/Dec 2009 Chef Heather Goulde-Hawke at District (editor's note: see Heather above at Baconfest. A picture which we have published in this newsletter completely without her permission), a new watering hole on 11th Ave. S.W., makes her bacon without nitrites. After curing, cut the bacon into useful-sized pieces and wrap well for freezing. Gould-Hawke likes the additional flavour that accrues when she leaves the rind on the pork belly (bacon comes from the pork belly). This recipe needs a smoker and a fruit wood, like cherry or apple.
Assemble your ingredients.
The pork belly!
Rub the syrup onto the pork.
Mix together the remaining ingredients - the cure - on a tray.
Dip the meat into the cure to coat all surfaces and shake off any residue that does not cling.
Put the meat into a waterproof plastic bag in the fridge for 5 to 7 days, turning daily.
On the final day, rinse well under cold water and pat dry. Let stand, uncovered, to air-dry in the fridge for up to 48 hours to develop the sticky texture that allows smoke to penetrate. Don't skip this step.
Smoke the pork belly for 6 to 8 hours over very low heat. Cool and wrap. Fry to use. Makes 2 lbs. We smoked it on the Broil King Keg for approximately 2 hours-ish at about 200 degrees. We used a thermometer and smoked until internal temperature reached 150 degrees. We used apple wood chunks. The whole yard smelled like maple syrup, apple smoke and bacon. We were surprised that the neighbours didn't come over the fence like a pack of orcs.
Ta-da - bacon! Now you've got to slice it and fry it up when you want to use it.
And this is what we decided to do with it. (thanks to Nathalie Maclean who writes an eerily comprehensive wine blog which you should visit if you haven't already).
Slice bacon to the thickness you prefer.
Start recipe #2... In a separate pot, heat the chicken stock to a simmer. In a thick-bottomed pot saute the bacon, shallots, and garlic in oil and butter until slightly browned. Add the rice and cook the grains over medium heat until translucent. This will take about 2 minutes.
Add the wine and stir until the wine evaporates. Slowly add the stock one ladle at a time, stirring constantly and each time allowing the previous ladle of stock to cook out. The grains will begin to soften and release their starch. This process will take 12-18 minutes depending on the type of rice you use.
When the rice is cooked yet still firm to the bite, remove from the heat and stir in cheese and chives. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
While the risotto is resting, fire up the infrared burner on your barbecue and sear the scallops on each side for 90 seconds until brown. Season with some salt and pepper.
Spoon the risotto onto a platter. Place scallops on the top and garnish with a little additional cheese and chives. Two thumbs up for this recipe and the bacon itself was outstanding.

Ask Dr. McGrillemup Question: Dear Doc, What was the underlying reason for the decline of Britain as a global power in the late nineteenth century? Signed, T. Chandler Answer: Dear T. Chandler,  
Regards, Doctor McGrillemup

The World of Barbecue
The Turnspit dog. While in a pub in barbeque-phobic England (see above) we came upon a novel idea for powering your rotisserie: hook it up to your dog! Put your pooch in a wheel on one side of the fireplace and have some gears set up to turn the rotisserie on the other side of the fireplace. Brilliant!  
The wheel.  
Domestic bliss (unless you're the dog).  
And now, the training begins...  
  We like Mike. He lives in the Niagara region and has many grills. Here, he's shown cooking on his Weber Performer charcoal grill.
  Barry from Calgary sent us a picture of his shiny new Broil King Signet.
  Andrew from Ontario purchased a new Broil King Signet from us this summer too. He wrote us a quick note to say: "The staff was truly interested in what I needed ( they did not push the big sale )" Thanks Andrew.
  One of our good customers at our South Calgary store has a buddy stationed in Sierra Leone with the Canadian Armed Forces. Together they worked with DHL to get a good-guy rate on shipping a barbecue all the way to Africa and we were pleased to be involved. The guys were nice enough to send us a picture.
We have a few Viking barbecues in our two Ontario stores that are currently being sold at a MAJOR discount. If you've always wanted a Viking appliance - now's the time. Only two units left as pictured to the right (Note: Barbecues Galore employee not included in the purchase - he's extra.) The list price was $5999.99 and the clearance price is $2,900. When they're gone - they're gone.  
Send us a picture of you using your barbecue and we'll send you a gift certificate for $25 that you can use in any of the stores in our massive, world dominating retail chain. That's like...free money. For example, this month you could run outside on Halloween in your costume and take a picture of you grilling as a giant Crayola crayon or a pirate or a zombie - then email us the picture. In our insular, short-thinking little world, that kind of activity is worth $25.

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 smokin bbq prize pack: Venessa Steel (Calgary South) Dwight Brymer (Calgary North) Ryan Spicknell (Burlington) Jason Miller (Oakville)  

Next Month's Issue  
Next month we're going to be talking about cheese on the barbecue. Stay tuned.

Contact Us  
We're in the service business and we genuinely want to hear your experiences so we can continue to improve. If you've got a problem or concern please contact us at query@barbecuesgalore.ca. If you've had a positive experience and want to tell others about it please tell others using this Google page (this stuff is important to us Canadian retailers in the digital age as we battle the big, bad, box stores). Remember, an archive of our past newsletters can be found at www.barbecuesgalore.ca  

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