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Vancouver Lee

BBQ Cooking Class Report

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Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending a day-long BBQ Cooking class taught by Ron Shewchuk (Canada's reigning BBQ Champion and author of Barbeque Secrets) and Michael Allemeier, the winery chef at Mission Hill Family Estates.

The class was held outside, under the shade of a grove of trees on the grounds of the winery. With grapevines beside us and a glorious view of Lake Okanagan in the background, it was a spectacular setting for the class.

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Ron's style is terrific - he's easy going, funny and extremely knowledgable. In his words, the class was "The French Laundry meets Bubba from Kansas City". He never takes what he is doing too seriously, but he knows a ton about how to cook great BBQ. He's an excellent teacher, and obviously loves what he is doing. Ron and Chef Michael had a great rapport together and kept the mood light and cheery.

Prep work for the class has begun the night before. Ron and Michael put the pork butt and brisket into the smoker on Saturday, and got the kitchen staff working on preparing the food for the Sunday class. Mission Hill's man in charge of the vineyards (I never caught his name) had prepared two large half-barrels full of hardwood charcoal by burning down one with local cherry wood and the other using oak from barrel staves that had been used to cellar Mission Hill wine.

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The first course was grilled asparagas with a chipotle & roasted garlic aioli. I was truly surprised to see how few people at the class has not cooked asparagas on the grill before - go figure. The asparagas was perfectly matched with a 2003 Five Vineyards Dry Reisling.

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Ron then moved from asparagas to quesadillas. I love quesadillas, but for some reason have never tried making them at home. Ron's demonstration showed me how easy it is to make them on the grill. He used jack and smoked gouda in his.... :wub:

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Following the quesadillas, Ron smoked some fresh tomatoes and made a Smoked Tomato Guacamole. Fantastic.

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Enough of the appetizers, on to the main course! Next up were cedar plank-cooked white salmon filets with a Jack Daniels/maple syrup glaze that was too die for. The salmon was paired with a 2002 Five Vineyards Pinot Noir.

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While the salmon was cooking, Ron spent some time showing everyone the ins and outs of using a smoker.

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Ron told us a great story about being at a BBQ competition in Tennesse. It seems that between tending the smokers and partying, people don't sleep much at these events. Ron's BBQ team (Rockin' Ronnie's Butt Shredders) has a tradition of marguerittas at dawn. They had just finished their dawn drink when a guy in a golf cart comes driving by, yelling out in his deep southern accent:

"Fried Pies" "Git Yer Fried Pies Here"

Someone on Ron's team, perhaps feeling the effects of no sleep and tequilla at dawn, called the guy over and asked him what the heck a fried pie was. The guy replied "Ma'am, these pies are so good, if you put one on yer head, yer tongue would slap you to death tryin' to git at it". :laugh::laugh::laugh:

I never did catch what a fried pie was.....

Anyhow, once the salmon was finished, Ron took the brisket and the bork shoulders out of the smoker. We all checked out the smoke rings, and watched Ron pull the pork:

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Ron made some fresh cole slaw for the pulled pork sandwiches and Chef Michael had whipped up some baked beans, and everything was served:

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By this point, we all started feeling a little bit full. No matter, next up was grilled rack of lamb with a balsamic reduction. The lamb was cooked over the wine-infused oak charcoal, and was simply stupendous. It was paired with a 2002 Reserve Shiraz.

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Next up were a trio of steaks: Italian, Asian and Southwestern. For the first two Ron used ribeyes and strip loins respectively, but the most interesting was the Southwestern. Ron used a pork blade steak coated with salt, dijon mustard and toasted cumin seeds along with his special rub and some olive oil. This recipe (along with a little bio of Ron) is in the June issue of Food and Wine magazine. I'd never had pork blade steak before, but I will definately be having it again. Nice and meaty with a strong pork flavour. A very nice change of pace when you feel like meat but don't want something as heavy as beef.

I was begging for mercy at that point, but Ron was not done. Up next were burgers with a herbed butter core.

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These were actually my least favourite thing of the day. These burgers are made by placing a frozen disk of herbed butter inside a patty made from fresh ground chuck and coated with prepared mustard and Ron's rub. The disk melts when the burger cooks and infuses the meat with butter and herbs. Not for the faint-of-heart or narrow-of-arteries. The burgers were topped with a generous dollop of Salt Spring Island goat cheese, roasted red peppers and carmelized onions.

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Dessert was pears that were grilled on a cedar plank:

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The pears were topped with a glaze made by reducing jack daniels and honey, adding icewine and reducing it further, then adding fresh lavendar blossoms. Chef Michael also used a new Mission Hill product, a rhubarb compote made with late harvest vidal. The pear was topped off with whipped cream and a small triple chocolate brownie. What can I say about such an over-the-top dessert? It was specatcular. Unfortunately it was very hot by that point in the day and the whipped cream melted before I was able to take a photo:

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This class was truly outstanding. By the end of the day I was stuffed, sunburned and my face hurt from laughing so much. The Mission Hill staff were truly excellent, and Chef Michael was the consumate host.

Ron is holding a two day class in Whistler over the long weekend that will be much more hands-on (i.e. he encourages you to bring your own smoker). If you are at all interested in learning to cook great BBQ, I can heartily endorse Ron's seminars. He's a great guy, very entertaining, and an excellent chef. MOre detail is available at Ron's Web Site

What a great way to spend Father's Day!


Edited by Vancouver Lee (log)

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Excellent pictures and write up - thanks for sharing. Looks like you had a great time. I am assuming that you brought back enough to share with everyone.

In particular the lamb and trio of steaks sounds tremendous. Mmmmmm.

Now, about the Clamshack...


Edited by canucklehead (log)

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Enough of the appetizers, on to the main course! Next up were cedar plank-cooked white salmon filets with a Jack Daniels/maple syrup glaze that was too die for. The salmon was paired with a 2002 Five Vineyards Pinot Noir.

Holy smokes that sounds awesome! Thanks a bunch for the pic and the sharing your day with us stuck in cityville (spent 45 in bridge traffic this morning :wacko: ).

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Lee - great post. Wondering how you did it with the food, the wine, the heat, the meat... Good on you for packing it all away.

For all that damned fine looking meat, I've gotta admit that the thing I was most curious to taste was the smoked tomato guacamole.

So what didn't you like about the burger? Sounded pretty good to me, although the height of the patty might have been an issue. Was it that you'd eaten so much by then that the thought of more meat was a turnoff? Or does "least favourite" still mean good, but everything else was very good?

Hey Other Lee, you know what would be the best thing ever: if that nice woman from the Clamshak cooked you this meal. Petit mort pour homme?

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Lee - great post. Wondering how you did it with the food, the wine, the heat, the meat...

I skipped breakfast. :biggrin:

For all that damned fine looking meat, I've gotta admit that the thing I was most curious to taste was the smoked tomato guacamole.

I agree. I thought I hated guacamole. It's usually this gross green paste, but the one Ron did was awesome.

So what didn't you like about the burger? Sounded pretty good to me, although the height of the patty might have been an issue. Was it that you'd eaten so much by then that the thought of more meat was a turnoff? Or does "least favourite" still mean good, but everything else was very good?

Well, for one it was a bit overcooked to my taste. I like burgers cooked medium, and this one was just shy of well done. That was accidental, I think, as I recall a discussion about not telling the food inspectors about how they were going to cook the burgers.....

I can't stand carmelized onions, so I removed those. The burger was big, to be sure, but the height wasn't so much an issue as a) everyone got 1/4 burger only, and b) I have a big mouth. :biggrin: It was just too much of a bland meat taste for my liking. I'm a big beef fan, nothing beats a good juicy ribeye, but this burger just doesn't do it for me. I've made the same recipe (from Ron's book) at home and it tasted exactly the same, so I know it wasn't just the day/heat/etc. Ron's lamb burger stuffed with goat cheese, on the other hand, is stupendous. :wub:

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Enough of the appetizers, on to the main course! Next up were cedar plank-cooked white salmon filets with a Jack Daniels/maple syrup glaze that was too die for. The salmon was paired with a 2002 Five Vineyards Pinot Noir.

Holy smokes that sounds awesome! Thanks a bunch for the pic and the sharing your day with us stuck in cityville (spent 45 in bridge traffic this morning :wacko: ).

It really was fantastic. Who knew Jack Daniels was good for something other than getting sloppy drunk in a hurry?

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Excellent pictures and write up - thanks for sharing.  Looks like you had a great time.  I am assuming that you brought back enough to share with everyone.

Not exactly. But I do have an extra copy of Ron's book.....

Now, about the Clamshack...

Road trip? :laugh:

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If you're interested in another chance to learn from Rockin' Ronnie, our own Edible Vancouver (Eric Pateman) is hosting a BBQ & Whisky Night at the Hamilton Street Grill. Details can be found HERE

A.

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If you're interested in another chance to learn from Rockin' Ronnie, our own Edible Vancouver (Eric Pateman) is hosting a BBQ & Whisky Night at the Hamilton Street Grill.  Details can be found HERE

A.

I wonder....can gingerbread pudding be grilled?

:laugh:

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If you're interested in another chance to learn from Rockin' Ronnie, our own Edible Vancouver (Eric Pateman) is hosting a BBQ & Whisky Night at the Hamilton Street Grill.  Details can be found HERE

A.

I wonder....can gingerbread pudding be grilled?

:laugh:

No...but it pairs amazingly with some scotch! :biggrin:

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We were the lucky giftees of a Weber smoker last summer, which I see in the photo of that fabulous post. I have never thought of smoking tomatoes, but will soon. We had a feast of pork - ribs, short ribs and country ribs yesterday while experimenting with marinade/no marinade. So delicious then and delicious again as leftovers at lunch today. Pumpkin the cat loved bits and bites, too. Yeah, Weber!

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