· The Hot Line - Newsletter
Feb. 2012: Maple Syrup

February 2012
WelcomeI think/believe/hope that the worst of winter is behind us. So, I don’t know about you, but my sap is definitely running. Accordingly, this issue of the always-free despite being once-complimented, ‘Hot Line’, is dedicated to the sweetest of saps: Maple Syrup. Have you ever seen a maple grove that’s all rigged up with contemporary syrup collecting equipment? No more buckets and spigots. They use these thin, plastic tubes to drain the tree-blood into a central collection area. So, the trees are all sort of ‘networked’ together with these tubes in an eerie sort of arboreal Borg. This gravity-powered system saves loads of labour hours once it’s properly set up. Here’s a grab-bag of interesting maple syrup facts (these are all quickly snatched from the internet so they are absolutely 100% true):
  • One mature maple tree will produce roughly ten gallons of sap. You need roughly 30 gallons of that sap to produce one gallon of maple syrup as we know it.
  • Only Canada and the USA produce maple syrup. A whopping 82% of all maple syrup is from Canada and an impressive 91% of all Canada’s syrup is from Quebec. (Remember our mustard issue from last March where Saskatchewan gave the rest of the world a big, mustardy smack-down on production? Well, now it’s Quebec’s turn.)
  • While Quebec is the heavyweight champ, there are lots of syrup operations in Ontario as well. Many of them offer farm tours. See a full list and schedule here.
  • It takes about 30 years for a tree to be old enough to be tapped.
  • Maple husbandry has given us many common words and expressions. Upon seeing a particularly ‘sappy’ (linguistic contribution number one) tree, the sap-sucker would often lean back, leer at the svelte Maple and announce to his or her co-workers, “I’d tap that”.
  • Canada’s biggest customer for maple syrup is the USA. Customer number two is Japan.
  • World’s all-time best movie scene involving maple syrup is here.
Maple syrup is a fantastic grilling ingredient and is used in thousands of barbecue recipes. Now here’s the important bit: currently honey is categorized as either “Grade A” (thinner, lighter in colour, more expensive) or “Grade B” (thicker, darker, cheaper). The catch here is that the darker “Grade B” maple syrup has more of that yummy maple taste. So, save some cash and get the tastier B syrup.  
  We’d be remiss in not mentioning Roger Miller’s take on this month’s theme. See what rhymes with purple here.

 
Barbecue TipsterThe tip of the month is...we’ve got a great way for you to save some money on some fireplace related products.  

Gotta Have It
Speaking of sweet; honey is like the Maple Syrup of the insect world. Due to overwhelming demand, Barbecues Galore is now the exclusive stockist (love that word) for Scandia Fields Honey. Stolen from hard-working bees in Southern Alberta, this all-natural, local product is the best honey in the world.  
 
  And in other news, we have also finally been able to get our hands on a simple timer switch that can be installed on your natural gas lines at home. If, like me, you regularly (through no fault of your own and CERTAINLY not because of the booze) forget to turn your natural gas barbecue off for an entire day (or two), then this gizmo is for you.

Meet the Experts
This is Becky. She is on what we call our “Ontario Team”. She has a self-diagnosed syrup addiction. Here is her maple syrup travel tip:  
  You should travel up the street to Mounstburg Conservation Area in Hamilton, like our family does every year, for my husband’s birthday to get the biggest, most awesome pancakes and sausages with maple syrup that is harvested on sight. They have a whole little maple town where kids can watch maple syrup being cooked down. Not only that, you can sample maple candies, and then listen to traditional Canadian folk songs while stomping in the mud, getting as messy as humanly possible. That is our weird and wacky maple syrup/birthday tradition. Now in light of the fact you already can see our family is a bit crazy, it would probably not surprise you to hear that I use the barbecue for something besides meat! We are a family that loves big breakfasts, so our tradition is actually cooking pancakes on the griddle, and then slathering as much maple syrup on top as is humanly acceptable. Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy! (and maple flavored sausages of course!) While barbecuing, one of our two cats, Tiger, inevitably escapes out the back door, so while my husband flips flap jacks on our Weber, my 2 kids are running around the backyard after our adventurous cat Tiger, who, unfortunately was stolen (but found) a year ago, so is forced to live a quiet life inside our happy house from now on. (it’s ok, he too enjoys maple flavored sausages, so he gets little bits of it from the big breakfast we are grilling up, once he gives in and lets the girls catch him.)

Recipe of the MonthMaple Brined Pork Chops
  • Some yummy bone-in pork chops (we got ours from Master Meats in Calgary – old tyme butcher, big time taste)
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 4 cups of water
 
Assemble your ingredients.
Combine and boil all your ingredients (except the pork chops – that would be gross). Make sure that the salt and sugar are fully dissolved.
Cool your liquid. You don’t want it warm enough to cook your pork chops at all. If it’s cold outside, just leave it out there for an hour or two.
Cover your chops with the brine and leave it in the fridge for a day or two.
Remove from fridge. Thoroughly rinse the brine off of the chops.
Grill on medium high direct heat until done.
Generously brush chops with maple syrup before serving.
A beautiful chop. I’ve eaten a lot of pork chops in my day. These were some of the best ever. That brine does wonders. This recipe should be on your ‘must try’ list.

Ask Dr. McGrillemup 
Question: Hi Doc, I love my wife but, when it comes to shopping for her, I am as lazy as a spotted dog. Valentines’ Day is around the corner – any ideas? L. Azias Answer: Hi L, Well, this year, if you’re in Calgary, you’re in luck. Karen with Calgary Food Tours has put together a perfect day for you. I call it ‘perfect’ because you get to spend all day enjoying the world’s best things (beer, booze, barbecue etc.) AND you get two experts helping you with some shopping for her that will make both of you happy. See? ‘Perfect.’ Details below. You can thank me later. Regards, Doctor M  

We are proud to present: The Manly Man’s Tour Pre Superbowl foodie-guy warm-up! Saturday, February 4, 2012, 8:30AM – 4:30PM Cost - $195.00 per Manly Man The Game Plan
  • Kick off time is 8:30AM - Chef Judy Wood will have fresh scones, coffee and mimosas ready and teach her secret bison chilli recipe. Every guy will take home a batch at the end of the day.
  • First down is at Wild Rose Brewery - house made flatbreads, ½ pint of ale, keepsake mug, guided brewery tour and a discount on “party pigs” for the big game.
  • Second Down is Barbecues Galore - How-to smoke and grill appetizers complete with a tail gate tasting
  • Half time private affair at Caesar’s Steakhouse in Willow Park - slice into steaks, sip wine and savour a visual feast when Knickers ‘n Lace Lingerie presents a very tasteful lingerie fashion show of everything hot for Valentine’s Day.
  • Coach’s time out - hosts Karen and Tilly guide the guys through the shopping plays they’ll need to make at Willow Park’s Papa Chocolat, Crave, & Knickers ‘n Lace.
  • Touchdown – Willow Park Wine & Spirits – tastings of Bubbly, red, white & port chosen by VP, Peggy Perry, discounts & gift wrapping included.
  • Hall of fame secured because our Manly Men have got grub and gadgets for Superbowl and their special gal’s desire for Valentine’s.
Tickets are available at www.calgaryfoodtours.com For more information call Karen Anderson @ 403-968-2783

The World of Barbecue 
Perry grilled a great lunch. Cheese stuffed chicken, planked potatoes and honey-boiled beets.
Radha brought Trinidad to the office. An amazing spread. Three types of homemade flatbread = roti heaven.
Faron planked some tasty chicken thighs.
George grilled some homemade hamburgers.
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.

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 sweet grilling prize pack: Erin Fairhurst (Calgary South) Todd Niemi (Calgary North) Karen Rivett (Burlington) Valerie Croswell (Oakville)  

Next Month's Issue 
  Next month we’re talking tiki. So, if you’ve ever worn a flowered shirt and cooked a pig in the ground or grilled some poi – we want to hear about it.Send us your pictures and we’ll include them in our newsletter.

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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