Friday, August 13, 2010

Locavore BBQ

I was just reminded of the locavore's dinner in Hampton on Sept. 24 (advance tickets required, see the info at Hampton )and it made me think of how easy it would be, right now, to pull off an NB or NS or "Maritime" BBQ with almost all locally sourced ingredients. Now we're into high "Down Home" season and the weather is begging us to be outdoors, it's time to invite everyone over for a bbq. And if I had a bbq in the city where my friends are, I'd do it - but hey, thought I'd give everyone else ideas from my perch. So here it is:

To start, of course, you need munchies - which is the other thing that got me thinking about this. Covered Bridge chips are now showing up in a variety of locations. The company is run by the Albright family - 4th generation NB farmers - in Hartland,NB and they're really good (the chips I mean, although I'm sure the family is very nice). The chips are kettle cooked so they have that extra bit of flavour and they've come out with some great flavours like: Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper, Sweet Potato and Brown Sugar and the newest (and my personal favourite) Lobster (it's great, mild loberstery flavour). They also have really good tortilla chips. You can check out their products at: Covered Bridge. In Saint John you can find them at Baleman's (see the photo display above), and I've also found them at that little Bate's Landing convenience store (at the ferry) on the Kingston Peninsula. They show up unexpectedly in a variety of places, but they're hardest to find in the big grocery stores since either they're not stocked or they're off in some display separate from all the other chips (go figure - shelf space costs big time). So keep on the look out for them. Anyways, with your chips, of course, comes your beer, and on that front NB has no problem: Picaroon's and Pumphouse are easily available - or Moosehead if you're not a craft brew person - as are the NS independents. There's a new Picaroon's out "melon head", which oddly features a cat wearing a melon helmet on its label, that I'm dying to try but I need help since I often can't justify drinking an entire Picaroon's pint bottle on my own. So only a party where I could split a beer with someone would work (hint, hint...)For the non-drinkers, you could stock some apple cider from Gagetown.

Then there is the main feature: the grill. I'd feature things like buffalo sausage from Boutouche's Seawind Buffalo farm (Dieppe market) and wild boar sausage from outside Sussex (Kredl's, Sussex market, Shediac Coop) and some local grass fed ground beef for burgers (Kingston Market, Kuinshoeve Meats, Dieppe market, Goddard Farms in Berwick). Local chicken and seafood are other options of course (did you know we shrimp farm up Caraquet way?). And there's lots of great veggies now in that go on the grill beautifully: sunburst squash, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, the list goes on. So the grill part is actually quite easy - just go to your best source of local food and get some protein/grilling veggies.

What about the traditional bun and fixings for the meat products? Well, you could go whole hog and make your own from Speerville flour. But if you're not that ambitious there are a couple options I can think of: use pita bread from Mother Nature's (made in Saint John) or just go to your local independent bakery. Studies on salt in Canadian food showed that bread made in actual bakeries had lower salt than both commercial store bread and homemade. Go figure, bakers probably just know what they're doing.

Fixings? Well, believe it or not, Speerville has a marvellous organic old-fashioned mustard made right there in Speerville in "Nancy's Kitchen" - you can order it from them or look for it in markets etc. I picked it up from Dave Bunnett in Dieppe Market. Relish? Well that's just pickles right? So make your own with the pickling cukes that are now all over the place or buy some from the market or get them from friends who pickle (my favourite option). You can jazz it up with Lady Ashburn's and chow chow and all sorts of other homemade pickled goodies available in church basements and farm markets everywhere. Now ketchup I admit, I find disturbing. Mostly sugar no? So, just use tomatoes, or whirl some tomatoes with sugar and a little vinegar and voila! Ketchup.

Okay now really, salad is you only other issue and that is dead easy given local greens and veggies are everywhere. *And* like I said earlier you can now get organic canola oil both from NS and Quebec in a number of healthfood stores here. And Boates' organic apple cider vinegar from NS is really good... Or use those herbed vinegars from Erb's Herbs in Cambridge Narrows or Tansy Lanes near Moncton. Just think of the options here!

For dessert? Blueberries of course? Blueberry grunt, blueberry crisp or go easy on yourself, run down to Pennfield and buy youself a couple of those amazing pies from everybody's favourite blueberry stand... Oh, but don't forget to top it off with some icecream from Sussez Ice Cream.

Sounds good yes? So, if you try to pull this off, let me know how it goes. Or better yet, invite me....


  1. And corn! How could I forget corn! You can bbq it too - apparently you should leave it in the husk and soak it overnight or several hours then throw it on the grill. Or you could just boil it up the old fasioned way. Then just slather on the NB butter (I found Armadale butter at Cochrane's if you want some really, really good stuff).

    And I should remind those who are new to grass-fed meats, they're quite low in fat compared to grain fed meats, so make sure you bbq them "low and slow" and make sure you oil them up. Dave Bunnett recommends letting grass-fed steaks warm up a few minutes - ie leave them out of the fridge for about 15 minutes before you throw them on the grill. He also gave me a nice herb rub to put on them that puts Montreal Steak Spice to shame. So, just a few more hints for your local bbq feast...

  2. A BBQ sounds delicious! This post got us thinking about and calculating the sodium levels for each of our Market bakery items. Thanks for that inspiration. Of Bread and Sodium:

  3. Thanks Market Chef - a good reminder of the bakeries we have here: Glen's in Rothesay and Batch in Saint John (and artisanal breads by folks like Bounty of NB - at the Kingston market, hint, hint readers).