Tue, 30 September 2008
As long as I can remember, I have always loved animal fat. Whether it's the perfect, silken round of beef fat in a rib eye steak, the crunchy, greasy cracklings on the back of a pork shoulder roast or the glistening molten fat coating a whole lamb on a spit, I can't get enough of it.
Every morning these days I make two pieces of toast and smear each of them with a big dollop of Oyama pork and duck rillettes, which must be about 60 percent fat. I never skim the fat from a roasting pan before I make gravy (What's the point of that?). I always cook and eat chicken with the skin on. And I must be the only guy on the planet that likes to make burgers from regular ground beef mixed with ground pork.
So imagine my surprise and delight last week when I met with my doctor to discuss the results of my latest physical. All indicators from the blood work were positive, including an extremely low bad cholesterol level and a high good cholesterol count.
I am a perfectly healthy 50 year old whose diet consists mainly of fatty meat. Woo hoo!
With this in mind, I was further delighted to see an interview on salon.com with Jennifer Mclagan, author of Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes. Animal fat, it turns out, is good for us and has nothing to do with the health crisis facing North America these days. Thank you, Jennifer, for lifting the guilt that's been eating me for quite a few years. I can now tuck into that rib eye with impunity, and continue to ask my favorite question at the family dinner table whenever I see some fat that's been trimmed off a steak: "Are you going to finish that?"
Category:general -- posted at: 1:58pm PST
Wed, 17 September 2008
Saints be praised! The folks at Weber have finally decided to do a major overhaul of their Weber Bullet, which hasn't had a design change in many years. A comprehensive review on The Virtual Weber Bullet website reports that the new models are a backyard barbecuer's dream come true.
I'm particularly excited about the new, bigger 22-inch model, which features
• a built-in-thermometer (finally!)
• a two gallon water pan (it's about time!)
• a side door with an innovative bottom hinge that allows it to flip open (long overdue!)
• sturdier legs (right on!)
• a nifty extra handle on the lid (cool!)
• a heat shield at the bottom to protect your deck or lawn (great news!).
All that, and the sucker will fit three or even four pork butts or three full racks of pork ribs (lying down) on a single cooking grate.
Apparently they're coming out next month at selected dealers, with a full rollout expected before Christmas.
Don't tell my wife, but I gotta get me one!
Category:barbecue -- posted at: 3:13pm PST
Thu, 11 September 2008
A few years ago I launched Barbecue Academy. It's a day-long corporate teambuilding workshop that teaches participants about championship barbecue in a fun, relaxing atmosphere with plenty of room for socializing.
I think it's the only event of its kind in the world. There are lots of hands-on barbecue workshops for the public, and some of the big barbecue celebrities in the U.S. do corporate cooking demos and catered events. And there are even some corporate teambuilding workshops based on cooking contests. But, as far as I know, this is the only corporate workshop that creates a competitive environment for participants, who divide into teams, prep and cook real barbecued chicken and ribs, and vie for cheap plastic trophies just like the big boys.
I've done three of them so far, for energy companies in Calgary, with positive feedback.
Here's what some of the participants have said:
“You learn a little about smoking and barbecue, and a whole bunch about some folks that I don’t normally work with. We all had fun!”
“A great teambuilding event. The service was outstanding.”
“Lots of laughter, lots of concentration, great tastes, lots of enthusiasm from everyone.”
“An opportunity to mix in a creative environment.”
“It was a great day and I am full!”
“This was an exceptional workshop. It is filled with the science, the art and the lifestyle of barbecue. Ron is very knowledgeable and entertaining.”
“Ron’s team is terrific! Everyone is friendly, fun and extremely knowledgeable. I thoroughly enjoyed myself!”
“Fostered good camaraderie while incorporating some healthy competition. Highly recommended!”
Please forgive the promotional tone of this post. I'm doing this because I love putting on these workshops, and I want to do more. So far, I've done them only in Calgary, where I've found a great facility, but the concept is portable.
Here's a promo sheet: Download bbq_academy_promo.pdf
Pass it on to anyone you know who might be interested.
Category:barbecue -- posted at: 11:15am PST