Don’t cancel your Christmas Turkey people! Take it outside Artisanal Grill Style!!

So the weather in Toronto has left us powerless and cold.  Reports are in that people are canceling orders for their Christmas Turkeys because they are afraid their electricity will be off and they can’t cook their birds.

Really?

Hard times call for creative thoughts. One of the concepts that I have been dictating for some time now is that what you can do inside you can do outside. I’ve been planning a step by step on my Christmas bird from brining to smoking, but that’s to come when I start it tomorrow. But for now as a reminder to all you Canadians out there with BBQs, you can do your bird outside. Dust the snow and ice of the grill, get out your camping stove, and make the lady at the convenience store look at you funny when you ask if they have any charcoal while everyone else is buying salt! Make this Christmas the year of the Q!

Now don’t be scared. Transform your thoughts of grilling on it. Think of your BBQ as an oven. After all, it’s a heating source.

Step 1:  Prep your bird as you would but leave out the dressing (stuffing). It’s better to do it separately.

Step 2:  Set-up your BBQ for offset cooking. Meaning if you have 2 burners, only light one of them, if you have 3, keep the center on off and light the outside ones. You want to set up a cooking environment that has no direct heat underneath the bird. Think about it. In your oven there is no direct heat source underneath the bird. Hot air circulates around it. This is what you’re doing outside.  If you’re using charcoal, place the lit coal to one side so none will be under the bird. (Note. You’ll have to add more to keep the temperature constant so have a way to light more to add to the coals and minimize the open lid time.)

Step 3:  Place a pan on the unlit area to catch the drippings. This gives you a drip pan.  Add water, wine, and whatever else you would place around the bird in the oven. This gives you the base for your gravy.

Step: 4  Bring your grill to the proper temperature (350 degrees f). An 8 to 12lb unstuffed bird should take between 3 to 4 hours cooking time. Time can vary by 30 minutes so have a thermometer ready to check internal temperature (165 degrees f). Place the bird breast side down over the drip pan.

Step: 5  Rotate your bird every 45 minutes or so to brown and cook evenly. Every grill will behave differently so pay attention and remember if you’re looking, you’re not cooking. Take some of the juices that have accumulated in the drip pan and baste. To minimize open lid time, you can create a secondary baste liquid of heated chicken stock with sautéed bacon and onions. Have it ready to go. So open the lid, turn the bird, baste the bird, and close the lid.

Step: 6  Pay attention and follow your bird’s path. Outdoor climate will affect the overall time but with patience you can create a Christmas turkey that will astound your family.

The classic French rules say that your cooked bird should stand as long as you cooked it for. I can’t do that but I will let my bird stand for at least 30 to 45 minutes after it’s out of the heat. Cover with tin foil and let the juices work their way back through the meat.  If you do this and don’t turn off your grill you’ll have plenty of time to cook your veggies, stuffing, and make your gravy on the BBQ. Remember the camping stove I mentioned? Why not use it too!

We’re Canadian folks! Don’t let a little thing like a power outage or an ice storm to make you resort to KD or cold-cuts for Christmas dinner. Take the lead, put on a sweater and get outside!

Advertisements

Toronto Underground Market November 2013

I had the opportunity to visit, for the first time, The Toronto Underground Market (http://www.yumtum.ca) in November. What a great event! Foodies galore, new tastes, and like-minded people who truly believe in alternative foods, preparations, and good times. It’s a movement that likes to experiment, taste, and celebrate foods in a nontraditional setting and atmosphere.

I’m looking to participate in the next one and to launch The Artisanal Grill to the world. I have some idea that I think will rock the palate and show some smoking and grilling skills.

The greatest tastes to my mouth were the Molasses Braised Pork Belly from Little Tomato and the Pulled Jerk Duck from King Catering! Others were good but my taste buds did back-flips when I had their offering!

Craft brews were abundant and the music rocked the Evergreen Brickworks!

What a night!

I whole-heartedly recommend this event the next time around. Who know’s, you might see me!

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Sometimes when someone offers to take your picture, they don't run away with your camera! Thanks to the stranger that thought the shot was spectacular!

Sometimes when someone offers to take your picture, they don’t run away with your camera! Thanks to the stranger that thought the shot was spectacular!

Guy satisfaction!

Guy satisfaction!

Fidel GastroKing CateringCrossroads DinerBoots and Bourbon

Pork belly to die for!

Pork belly to die for!

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” Jane Howard

Turkey Shoot 2013A Canadian Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in Canada comes a month early compared to our friends in the US. Origins can be dated back to 1578 and the voyage of Martin Frobisher searching for the Northwest Passage.  Samuel de Champlain held many festival of celebration of thanks and established the Order of Good Cheer  in sharing their food with the First Nation.

At one point Upper and Lower Canada celebrated Thanksgiving at different times. After the American Revolution, refugees that remained loyal to Britain brought customs and traditions north to Canada. Its date fluctuated until 1957 when the second Monday in October became a national statutory holiday.  The theme became a celebration of the abundant harvest and thankfulness of all we are blessed with.

Our family gathering’s origin comes from an event long before my participation. During the 1960’s, my in-laws would have a fall party they entitled The Turkey Shoot. The day long party centered around the men target shooting for bragging rights and the prize of a turkey for

Thanksgiving. Its day had long passed and would have probably remained a memory if not for the creativity of my brother-in-law. We decided in 1989 to make Thanksgiving our event and resurrected The Turkey Shoot. Christmas would be for our immediate nest, but Thanksgiving would be the whole family, extended, girlfriends and boyfriends, friends, dogs, basically everybody that makes us who we are. There would be no presents and no expectations other than being together to be together. We would eat, and eat well, have drinks, tell stories and rehash laughs and tears, sit up too late around the fire and just be us. I have to say in 24 years I have no memory of disagreements, attitudes or fights. I am very proud of us all. Understand that some years have been good with new arrivals and life events; others have not been so good.  People, important people, loved ones that have been with us and should still be with us are gone in body but still sitting around the fire with us. Our Thanksgiving is about family.

We have our target competition, horseshoe pitch, archery, and have even taken to setting Chinese lanterns into the sky late at night with messages to those that we wish were there.

I can talk about the food but we’ll let the pictures do that. There’s not a lot of late evening photos because no one really wants to see us dancing to Journey or rolling downhill off an unbalanced chair. Actually you probably do but what happens at the farm stays at the farm.

To all my friends, I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. To all south of the border and anticipating yours, I wish you happiness and the warm embrace of your family and friends.Fall in Northern Ontario

The Farm
Juuust a bit outside!TailgateFire Good!Turkey Spit

Beautiful

“…A community needs a soul if it is to become a true home for human beings. You, the people must give it this soul.” Pope John Paul II

So what is The Taste of the Danforth (#tasteofthedanforth ) about? Food? Music? Fun? All of the above but in my mind it’s about community. That’s one of the best parts of living in Toronto. We are a honeycomb of different ethnicities and truly a melting pot of the world at large. But somehow we manage a blend of new culture while retaining our unique cultural heritage.

This past weekend Taste of the Danforth celebrated its 20th year of sharing the love and culture with not only Toronto, but the world. Its first year brought approximately 5000 people together, this year in excess of 1 million people graced the streets, shared the food, and danced with the exuberance of Zorba himself.  No drama, no incidents (well there was Rob Ford), just fun, love and sharing.

My highlights included an amazing gyro from Alexandros, Loukomades, and a cold beer at Dora Keogh. Watching impromptu dances and face painted children rounded up the day. There was also a Vulcan sighting! Thankfully I had my phaser with me.

Applauds and kudos to the organizers. Can’t wait till next year.

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Taste of the Danforth 2013

Taste of the Danforth 2013

Beautiful day at TofDanforth

Beautiful day at TofDanforth

Best Gyros!
Best Gyros!

Food glorious food!

Food glorious food!

Smile please!

Smile please!

Still hungry?

Still hungry?

A little Band from the band.

A little Band from the band.

Lunch please and thank you!

Lunch please and thank you!

Saving the universe one festival at a time!

Saving the universe one festival at a time!