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Aug. 2012: Grilled Dips

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August 2012
Welcome As you know, we here at Barbecues Galore believe that almost all foods should be grilled prior to consumption. Oh sure, you're allowed to deep fry the odd thing but, in general, grilling is better. Weather permitting, boiling, baking and braising should be avoided in favour of grilling. It's tastier. It's more social. We even expect that it's healthier somehow -- although we haven't got any scientific proof of that yet. Because we want people to push the grilling envelope a bit harder every day. That's why this issue of the Hot Line is (slightly) focused on dips. That's right: dips. Some of the world's tastiest dips get their start on the grill. So, put down your plastic tub of bland, 'French Onion Dip' that contains 45 non-recognizable ingredients and start the backyard dip revolution in your neighbourhood. (Now, if we can just find a charcoal powered food processor...)  
In headline news this month is the announcement of this year's winner of our annual "Canada's Worst Barbecue" contest. Our team of inscrutable, diligent judges were once again subjected to photos from people that should have been in our stores buying new barbecues years ago. We had scores of terrific (albeit slightly unnerving) pictures to go through and you can see the champion for yourself below.

Barbecue Tipster  
  Don't sweat the small stuff but definitely sweat the peppers. As you can see in our second recipe below, we are using roasted red peppers. Once you grill a red pepper to within an inch of its peppery little life, you release a truckload of sugar and end up with an incredibly sweet, earthy flavour. The trick is that you have to get the skin off of the pepper before you serve it. Otherwise it's like eating something coated in burnt leaves. Yuck. The trick is to put the peppers in a sealed plastic bag and let them sweat for awhile so that the skin is easy to remove. A paper bag will work too but we've found that plastic is better. Also, the longer you can leave the peppers to sweat -- the more it loosens up the skin. Half an hour seems about right. For a real showstopper -- roast your red peppers inside in your wood fireplace in the winter.

Gotta Have It
If you're looking to add a little romance to your backyard, we've got heaps and heaps of firepits to choose from. Both gas and wood. The latest offering in store is from an outfit in Burlington names Gardenflame. Sleek, contemporary units with a big, chunky flame that looks great at night. The rocks are all the way from Peru where, I'm told, they grill Guinea Pigs on a regular basis. An appetite for guinea pigs is not required in order to appreciate one of these firepits in your backyard.

Meet the Experts In this section of The Hot Line we normally tip our spatula to one of our resident grilling experts, pros or aficionados. We are pleased this month to use this space to announce the winner of this year's "Canada's Worst Barbecue" contest (the ninth annual don't you know). Please join us in sending a hearty, grilled, congratulations to Darell W of Calgary. Darell's daughter Jen has this to say about his old barbecue: "If you notice the tire on the bbq is flat.... I am not sure how a plastic tire goes flat, but my dad's BBQ found a way. The grates are falling apart, as my dinner has currently fallen through the grates. Ha. Ha."
As a reward for turning a blind eye to the rusted wreck in his backyard and playing fast and loose with his family's grill hygiene (would you eat off of that thing?), we're giving Darell almost $5,000 worth of swanky backyard products from Napoleon. The new barbecue is a four burner masterpiece made right here in Canada by happy little barbecue elves that love barbecues so much that they grill their breakfast cereal and bleed barbecue sauce if you cut them. In addition Darell is going to have some luxuriously comfortable Napoleon patio furniture to sit on while he admires his new grill. Many thanks to all of this year's entrants. It was, as always, a privilege to wade through pictures of your embarrassing backyard grills. We will be reaching out to you in the next week or so regarding a terrific (we think) consolation prize. If you'd like to see all of this year's entries, head on over to our Facebook page where our motto is "Facebook content worth exactly what you pay for it".

Recipe of the Month Recipe #1: Baba Gonoush  
  My side of the family loves, loves, loves eggplant. Fried, baked, poached or boiled is good. Grilled is heavenly. The famous roasted eggplant dip 'Baba Gonoush' (closely related to Baba O'riley) is a quick easy way to satisfy the family's cravings for aubergine goodness.
  • 1 large eggplant (did you know it's a fruit?)
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 3 garlic cloves
Assemble your ingredients.
Grill the eggplants over high heat. About 15 minutes. (Sort of tough to overcook them, so feel free to wander about the property whilst they're cooking.)
Remove from the grill.
Remove the skin and stems so that you're left with an unappetizing pile of guck.
Put the guck and the rest of the ingredients into the food processor and whirl it round.
Voila - delicious Baba Ganoush! Our reviewer had this to say about it: "Actually, it's not too bad." Our egos swell.
Recipe #2: Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip  
There's a Greek restaurant near our north store (Calypso's -- it's good, you should go), that makes a super tasty red-pepper dip. We thought we'd try one of our own on the barbecue. Turned out great; easy, quick and tasty. Try it.
  • Four red peppers
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups feta cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic
Ingredients at the ready.
Roast the peppers directly over high heat. You can even put them on the charcoal if you want to freak a few people out. The idea is to get them heavily charred -- some would say "burnt".
Take the peppers off the heat and place them in a sealed plastic bag.
Let the peppers sweat it out like Chris Chelios after a major bender.
Remove the seeds and most of the blackened bits. This is easier than it looks.
Throw everything in a food processor. Then get all mixy-mixy with it.
A nice, rich dip. One diner described this dip as "easily the best dip I've had tonight". So, you see, it really is worth doing.

Ask Dr. McGrillemup Question: Hi Doc, My brother-in-law says that lava rocks are the best way to spread the heat in a gas barbecue. He's covered the steel plate under his cooking grills with lava rock and says that it works better. He is correct about little else in life; could he be right about this? Curious, George Answer: Dear George, Funny, we spend thirty years in the barbecue business trying to get away from an under-performing material and some people want to drag us backwards. Sure, lava rock does a fine job of spreading heat, it even does a decent job of incinerating the drippings that fall down from your food. Where lava rock truly fails is in its tendency to soak up the drippings like a sponge. Some of us older grillers will remember epic grease fires in our barbecues; not from the food we're cooking today but from the grease-choked lava rock that had been sponging up drippings from cookouts in the past. They become little grease sponges. Bottom line: your brother-in-law is an unsophisticated Luddite. Sincerely, Doctor McGrillemup

The World of Barbecue  
We have some big, red, CRP chairs in front of some of our stores. The little kids just flock to them.
We had our legendary birthday sale this past month. Thirty three years we've been doing this! Once again the studly, firefighters were on hand to raise money for the burn unit at the Foothills hospital. Many thanks to all those that donated (including Bon Ton Meat Market and the Calgary Italian bakery).
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 dippy prize pack: Rod Shnell (Calgary South) Glenn Saunders (Calgary North) Debbie Zimmer (Burlington) Joe White (Oakville)  

Next Month's Issue  
Next month we're going to have a barbecue brawl: Sean vs. Shawn. A Big Green Egg versus Broil King Keg cage match.

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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