Bar­be­cue cham­pion to rise from the ashes

Event in­cludes kids’ crafts, culi­nary demon­stra­tions, food ven­dors

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - Satur­day, Septem­ber 1, 2012 JOHN GILCHRIST

When the smoke clears to­mor­row af­ter­noon at Eau Claire Fes­ti­val Plaza, the 20th An­nual Grand Cham­pion of Al­berta bar­be­cue will be crowned. Thir­ty­five teams from around the prov­ince and into the United States will have com­peted in a Four Meats Com­pe­ti­tion to de­ter­mine who is the best bar­be­cue chef in Al­berta this year.

Yes, it’s time once again for BBQ on the Bow, Canada’s old­est bar­be­cue com­pe­ti­tion.

The BBQ on the Bow event, like many oth­ers held across Canada and south of the bor­der, fea­tures four meaty cat­e­gories — chicken, pork ribs, pork butt and beef brisket — all slow-cooked over a low fire. It takes hours for the chefs to reach just the right tex­ture and level of smok­i­ness. Many will arrive some­time the night be­fore and tend their bar­be­cues and smok­ers through the dark hours, prim­ing their meat for the com­pe­ti­tion.

Most of the chefs and their teams — they’re al­lowed three as­sis­tants — have been work­ing on recipes and en­ter­ing com­pe­ti­tions for years. Their dream is to ad­vance to the Amer­i­can Royal World Se­ries of Bar­be­cue in Kansas City and the Jack Daniels World In­vi­ta­tional in Lynch­burg, Ten­nessee. All they have to do to move on to that level is win to­mor­row’s event.

It’s been 19 years since the first BBQ on the Bow was held on Prince’s Is­land. Back then, a hand­ful of fresh-faced bar­be­cue teams com­peted for the first awards, judged by a hand­ful of neo­phyte judges. Carol and Sandy Dougall over­saw the first few years of com­pe­ti­tion and es­tab­lished the BBQ on the Bow So­ci­ety be­fore hand­ing the grow­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion over to a new gen­er­a­tion of bar­be­cue en­thu­si­asts.

BBQ on the Bow has sur­vived the wonky weather of early Septem­ber — it’s rained more than once and even snowed on oc­ca­sion, a reve­la­tion to Texan com­peti­tors — and a move off the is­land to the Eau Claire Fes­ti­val Mar­ket. And it’s grown into a ter­rific event with en­ter­tain­ment all day long.

This year, the fes­ti­val part of the event in­cludes kids crafts and sto­ry­telling, culi­nary demon­stra­tions and food ven­dors in­clud­ing Holy Smoke BBQ pit, Big T’s, Toad ‘n Tur­tle Smoke Shack, Jelly Mod­ern Donut, the Al­berta Beef Tasting Trailer and Planet Foods. There will also be non-stop mu­sic in­clud­ing blues from Dar­ren John­son, Don­ald Ray John­son and Jack Sem­ple and his band.

BBQ on the Bow is free and runs to­mor­row from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Eau Claire Fes­ti­val Mar­ket. Rain or shine, it’s one of my favourite days of the year.

While one big Cal­gary food event cel­e­brates its sec­ond decade, an­other hope­fully big Cal­gary food event is about to be born. The Sun­down Chow­down, an evening of food trucks, night mar­ket and en­ter­tain­ment is set for Fri­day, Sept. 7 at the Cal­gary Farm­ers’ Mar­ket (CFM) at 510 77th Ave. S.E. The event runs from 5 to 9 p.m.

A dozen of Cal­gary’s food trucks will be sell­ing their wares in CFM’s spa­cious park­ing lot while in­doors, all 78 CFM ven­dors will re­main open for the evening. Live mu­sic from the likes of Trin­ity Brad­shaw, Rod Med­wid and the duet of Jo­ce­lyn Alice and Lisa Ja­cobs will fill the air. The CFM is also hop­ing to have Vil­lage Brew­ery pour a few brews that evening and ATB is spon­sor­ing a con­test that will al­low the win­ner to host a block party with their favourite food truck.

The trucks will com­pete for six highly cov­eted Golden Hub­cap awards. Each truck will sub­mit two dishes to a team of sea­soned food pro­fes­sion­als who will as­sess the foods and choose the win­ners. CFM ven­dors will also vie for their own awards — the Golden Spat­u­las. Us­ing the same cat­e­gories and cri­te­ria as for the trucks, the judges will as­sess the pre­pared foods sold at the mar­ket. Awards will be given to both the trucks and the CFM ven­dors for Best Meat Dish, Best Non-meat Dish, Best Sweet, Best Gut­buster, Best Use of Lo­cal In­gre­di­ents and Most Cre­ative Dish.

Sun­down Chow­down is free and should be a fun evening. For more info, in­clud­ing a full list of all par­tic­i­pat­ing trucks, check out cal­gar­y­farm­ers­mar­ket.ca.

Most of us think of Zin­fan­del as be­ing a rather ro­bust wine, a pow­er­house juice that can take al­most what­ever you throw at it. You knock it back with some bar­be­cued ribs. Or steak. Or a spicy sausage. What­ever.

Talty, how­ever, el­e­vates Zin to a com­pletely new level of power, com­plex­ity and, in­deed, el­e­gance. This small (only six acres!) fam­i­ly­owned win­ery was cre­ated in 1997, in Cal­i­for­nia’s Dry Creek Val­ley, a place that has long been fa­mous for Zin­fan­del grapes. A lit­tle less than 800 cases of this wine were pro­duced, from grapes grown on 48-year-old vines. Very lit­tle of it finds its way to Al­berta; con­sider your­self lucky if you get your hands on a bot­tle to try.

It’s about 90 per cent Zin­fan­del, with a wee bit of Pe­tite Sirah and Carig­nan added to the blend. Dark, de­li­cious, with soft tan­nins, and spicy notes of cedar and cher­ries.

Price: About $48 at High­lander Wine & Spir­its (16th Av­enue N.W. and Marda Loop) and Sil­ver Springs Liquor Store. Also on the wine list at Al­loy.

Drink: Now, with veni­son, bi­son burg­ers, steak or Spolumbo’s mild Ital­ian sausages. I’d love to try this wine again in four or five years. Cork clo­sure.

This is not a wine for wine snobs or — de­spite the name — rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies. This is a wine for the last camp­ing trips of the sea­son, for im­promptu fall camp­fires in the back yard, for rowdy Satur­day night par­ties and for those of us on a bud­get.

What to ex­pect? A very easy­go­ing red sip­per, with mild tan­nins and lots of juicy, fruity flavours. A “new school wine,” ac­cord­ing to the la­bel. In other words, it’s a fun vino for par­ents need­ing an af­ter-school break from the back-to-school chaos.

Price: About $13 a bot­tle at Bow Liquor on Bow­ness Road, BK Liquor on 16th Av­enue N.W., se­lect Sobeys Spir­its and Sobeys Western Cel­lars lo­ca­tions, se­lect Star Liquor lo­ca­tions, KJ Wines, High­lander Wine & Spir­its, and Wil­low Park Wines & Spir­its.

Drink: Now, with pizza, lasagna, burg­ers, steak, or just en­joy it by it­self. Screw cap.

John Rajic

Jon Lord, BBQ on the Bow Pres­i­dent, slices meat hot off his bar­be­cue.

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