· The Hot Line - Newsletter
Jan. 2012: Robbie Burns

January 2012
Welcome “Some have meat, and cannot eat, and some cannot eat that want it; But we have meat, and we can eat - And let the Lord be thanked.” Robert Burns Every January the Scots celebrate the birthday of their national poet Robert (“Robbie” to his friends) Burns. They do this to honour the memory of a great patriot. They do this to celebrate his ability to distill the Scottish spirit with words. They do this so they can wear plaid skirts and get right-hammered on single-malt. While we at The Hot Line are not Scottish, we admire the Scottish ability to throw telephone poles and will admit to being, at very least, curious about the skirt thing. And so, we dedicate this issue of The Hot Line to Robert Burns and the Scots. Here is what you need to know about Robert Burns:
  • Born to a poor, tenant farmer in 1758. Died, at age 37, in 1796.
  • Wrote populist, patriotic poetry and prose praising the everyday Scottish experience. He specialized in the commemoration of everyday life, environment and citizens. This includes his underrated “Cock up Your Beaver” (hey look, we don’t make this stuff up – this is historical fact).
  • Sometimes he wrote verse in some sort of gaelic, pixie, mashup language that made liberal use of the world’s apparently abundant stock of vowels and apostrophes. Hard to read these days but probably sounds great when you’re into your sixth Glenfiddich and you’re starting to speak like Mrs. Doubtfire.
And here is what we’ve been able to establish as Scotland’s contribution to world grilling culture: ~ ... That’s right: nothing. Oh well, they’ll always have whiskey. “The best laid schemes o' mice and men Gang aft a-gley; And leave us naught but grief and pain For promised joy” Robert Burns from “To a Mouse”

 
Meet the Experts  
  You’ve met Perry before in the binary pages of this newsletter. In fact, because he’s a bit of a camera-ham, you’ve probably seen him a few times. And, if you check out our cutting-edge Facebook page occasionally, you will also recognize Perry where his chiselled abs and movie-star good looks keep him in high rotation. So, you may think we’ve given Perry enough attention and, you may be right. However, his last name is “Macdonald” AND he’s the only one around here that was keen on grilling haggis so…here he is. Again. With a funny little Scottish hat for our Robert Burns theme. Perry works at our North Calgary store. He knows a lot about barbecues and is a whiz at estimating fireplace installation costs in your home (we have free in-home estimates so give us a call if you need a new fireplace). He is recently married, enjoys drinking other people’s scotch and collects dolphin-shaped air fresheners for his car.

Recipe of the Month Grilled Haggis At first we were like, “Let’s cook a haggis on the barbecue.” Then we were like, “Ooh, yuck, it’s got guts in it”. And then, we were like, “Let’s call Bon-Ton and see what they say”. And they were all like, “Oh, we do all the hard work for you, why don’t you just come and pick up a haggis that’s all ready to cook?”. And THEN we were like, “Super, let’s go over there and pick one up.” And so, off we went to Bon-Ton Meat Market to check things out:  
Where the experts are: Calgary’s Bon Ton Meat Market. These folks are serious about good food.
On the right: the filling. It’s…oatmeal. And some other things. On the left: the casing. Normally Haggis is made using a sheep’s stomach as a casing but, this being Alberta, Bon Ton uses beef bungs (look it up).
Stretching the lining with water.
Clayton expertly stuffs the casing with the filling.
Portioning the large casing into smaller Haggi.
The Haggis tradition is in good hands. Over the next few weeks, Bon-Ton is Calgary’s ground-zero of Haggis activity.
Some businesses paint their windows for Christmas, some paint their windows for Stampede…
We grilled the Haggis using indirect heat: we put a full water pan underneath the haggis and kept the heat very low. So, no direct heat could hit it. We kept the barbecue on medium heat for about an hour. Tip: you’ve got to poke multiple holes in these things so that the pressure doesn’t build up too much in them.
Delicious Haggis freed from its casing.
Some of our staff proved more ‘delicate’ and avoided trying this delicious culinary morsel. At worst it was described as “better than I thought”. At best it received a “delicious”. I thought it was great. Sort of like a pastry-free kidney pie.

Ask Dr. McGrillemup  
Question: Dear Doctor M, I know you can buy prepared Haggis but I was wondering about smoking or grilling one from scratch. Any suggestions? Thanks, M. Bitious Answer: Dear Mr. Bitious, As mentioned above, Bon-Ton in Calgary has lovely prepared Haggis. If, however, you’d like to start from scratch you should check out this link from the ‘Nose to Tail’ folks we’ve mentioned in the past. Apparently sheep’s stomachs are hard to find so make sure you have all your ingredients sourced before you get in too deep. Good luck. Doctor M.  

Gotta Have It
Scotland and oats go together like Lindsay Lohan and bad decisions. If, like The Hot Line, you like steel cut oats, you should try these, hearty, local oats from Highwood Crossing. They helped win ‘The Golden Spurtle’ don’t you know?

Tipster  
  Lots of foods (like Haggis) lose too much moisture in the hot environment of a typical gas barbecue. You can easily add moisture by filling a pan full of water and placing it overtop one of the active burners in the grill. This is what we did with the haggis and it worked like a bonnie, wee prince. Some people try to introduce flavour by filling the pan with beer or wine during grilling. In my mind this is a terrific way to waste perfectly good booze.

The World of Barbecue  
Mike was on a riverboat cruise in Europe and captured some interesting grilling pictures for the Hot Line. The original outdoor wood-fired oven. Impressive roof!
Never trust a skinny chef.
Bread rolls grilled over hardwood charcoal. Yummy.
We’re always keen to get pictures of grilling around the world from our readers. Send us your pictures of the ‘The Wide World of Bbq’ and we’ll send you a $25 gift certificate that you can use in any of our four, shiny, friendly 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 Lord prize pack: Dawn Schulz (Calgary South) Rick McCollum (Calgary North) Paul Ryan (Burlington) Derek Plaskon (Oakville)  

Next Month's Issue  
  Because February is the most romantic of months, we’re going to do our best to sweeten things up and talk about grilling with maple syrup. See you in a month.

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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