This weekend I experienced pork nirvana. Pork sausages, ground pork, and bacon cooked several ways on the BBQ by an expert BBQ chef. This experience happened as I attended a class at Well Seasoned in Langley on how to BBQ for a Tailgate Party. Our instructor is Head Cook Andy Groneman, a 14-time Grand Champion and winner of over 150 BBQ awards including:
- 2010 Jack Daniels World Invitational – World Pork Champion
- 2009 National Champion—Chest to Chest Brisket Invitational
- 2009 New York “Empire State” Grand Champion
- 2009 KCBS – Team of the Year -5th place
- 2008—Reserve Grand Champion—American Royal
- 12x Grand Champion and winner of hundreds of BBQ awards
What is a tailgate party?
From Wikipedia, “In the United States, a tailgate party is a social event held on and around the open tailgate of a vehicle. Tailgating often involves consuming alcoholic beverages and grilling food. This is done in order for people to loosen up and have fun before entering the event and also to avoid paying stadium prices for alcohol and food… Tailgate parties usually occur in the parking lots at stadiums and arenas, before and occasionally after games and concerts. People attending such a party are said to be tailgating. Many people participate even if their vehicles do not have tailgates. Also, many people don’t even go into the game and just go to the tailgate to party…Popular tailgate party foods include picnic staples such as hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, and cold salads like coleslaw or potato salad…” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tailgate_party)
Andy’s creative culinary skills brought tailgate cuisine to a higher level.
What did Andy teach us to BBQ?
- Smoked nuts (no pork in this one)
- Beer Bathed Brats
- Pig Candy
- Smoked Sausage Fatties
- Atomic Buffalo Turds (It doesn’t sound nice but does taste good)
A nice way to start off any party is with some assorted nuts. The smoked nuts in this case were almonds and pecans covered with a honey/apple/soy sauce and sprinkled with a BBQ rub of your choice. Cooking this in the BBQ adds a nice smoky flavour to the nuts and the mix of sweet and a bit of spice enhances the nuttiness. I’d suggest a fino sherry or maybe a sparkling wine, such as a Spanish Cava.
Pig Candy is bacon that is coated in a mixture of brown sugar and cayenne/chipotle powder, then slowly cooked on the grill so that the sugar caramelizes, making a very addictive treat. Again sweetness with a hit of spice mixed with the smokiness of the bacon, plus the crunchiness from being on the grill. There are a few ways to pair wine with this. The first is to go with a Sauvignon Blanc which has high acidity, to cut through the fattiness of the pork. Another pairing could be to embrace the smokiness and pick a Fume Blanc (that is an oak barrel aged Sauvignon Blanc). If you prefer red wine, maybe a chilled Gamay or a Pinot Noir would be nice. Both have higher acidity and lower tannins, which should complement the sugar and fattiness of the pig candy.
Smoked Sausage Fatties are thick ground pork sausage rolls (maybe 10cm across) that are seasoned inside and outside with BBQ rub, then slowly grilled and at the end coated with a BBQ sauce. The rolls are cut into thick slices, and can be served with a salad. This could be a main course dish of your tailgate party. For this dish, I suggest going with an Alsatian-style Riesling or a Pinot Noir from BC or New Zealand.
Sausages on the grill are always nice. We enjoyed beer bathed brats. In this instance Heineken beer was used along with various herbs and spices to make a hot bath into which the sausages were placed in the BBQ. The sausages are taken out later and grilled before serving with fried onions on a bun, or by itself with some mustard. We had traditional bratwursts and as well one made with wild boar, which had a darker colour and more meatier taste. This was very nice with the herb flavour infused into the sausages. Pinot Noir, Gamay, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc all would work here.
Finishing off our evening cooking class was the atomic buffalo turds. This is made from jalapeno chiles cut lengthwise to make a “boat”. Seeds were removed to make it less spicy. A filling of cream and shredded cheese, crumbled cooked sausage filled each boat, then each was wrapped in a slice of bacon and then grilled. It was quite spicy, smoky and creamy. I think a Riesling here would be needed to cool the heat, or maybe a very fruity pinot gris. If you are adventurous, try a pinotage!
Well Seasoned has a wide range of BBQ supplies; spices, rubs, and marinades which I have had hard time finding elsewhere. Langley is a bit out of the way if you live in Vancouver, but it is not that far to go once you get onto the highway, plus you can then go and visit some of our Fraser Valley wineries!
Here is the link to Smoke On Wheels if you would like to read more about Andy and what he has to offer. Also, a link to Well Seasoned cooking classes. Enjoy with your Canucks or BC Lions tailgate party!