My friend Steve and I went to the Big Rig Brewery back in May and I had the Killer Bee Burger (with onion rings and honey bbq sauce), then last month we went to the Bier Markt on Sparks Street and we had the Candied Bacon Poutine. (For our international friends, poutine is french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy). For this long weekend I wanted to make something special for Canadian Labour Day so I decided to try recreating these dishes.
It was the first time I fired up the grill I found at Loblaws – one sale for $10! The recipes in the Weber cookbooks are great but the guides to setting up a bbq are not as detailed. I could not find how to tell if your BBQ is at the correct temperature. For that I flipped through my trusty old Betty Crocker Big Red Book. It tells you how to set up a pyramid style charcoal grill or the chimney starter method and it gives guidelines for when the coals are ready. (These methods can also be easily found online but I like having my cookbook right there when I need it.) Once your coals are coated in a light grey ash, hold your hand over the grill and count how many seconds you can hold it there.
2 seconds = high heat 3 seconds = medium-high heat 4 seconds = medium heat 5 seconds = low heat
To grill 1/4 lb burgers, cook over medium heat for about 5-6 minutes on each side, until the internal temperature reaches at least 160F degrees.
To assemble the Killer Bee burger, use your favourite burger recipe, then add applewood cheddar, bacon, beer battered onion rings, and honey-bbq sauce. I used old cheddar and regular onion rings instead. For the honey-bbq sauce I was inspired by this recipe from The Kitchen Whisperer so I added 1 part honey to 2 parts of my favourite Kansas City BBQ Sauce and simmered for 5 minutes. It was awesome!
For basic poutine, deep-fry your favourite straight cut fries as usual, then top with fresh, white cheddar cheese curds and top with gravy. For the candied bacon poutine, in addition to the cheese and gravy, add chopped candied bacon, a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream, and sprinkle with chopped green onion. The Bier Markt used gravy made with pan juices but I decided to try making classic poutine gravy. It ended up way too thick and I kept adding water to try to get the right consistency. I think next time I will reduce the cornstarch and water mixture to teaspoons instead of tablespoons. Maybe it’s because I used oxo instead of broth? I did halve the recipe because it was just two of us and 4 cups of gravy would have been a bit much! The taste was authentic diner gravy though. All and all the whole meal was soul satisfying my friends!
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound thinly sliced bacon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a broiler pan with aluminum foil, and position broiler rack on top of pan. Lightly coat the rack with the vegetable oil.
Combine the brown sugar and cayenne in a shallow dish, stirring to mix well. Press 1 side of each slice of bacon firmly into the spiced sugar to coat well. Arrange the slices of bacon on top of the broiler rack in a single layer, sugared-side up. If there is any sugar remaining in the dish, sprinkle it on top of the bacon slices evenly. Bake until the bacon is crisp and the sugar is bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, then to a plate or serving dish to cool. (Can be made several hours ahead) Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, 2002
Ricardo’s Poutine Gravy
1 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cans 10 oz (284 ml) beef broth, undiluted (or 2 prepared oxo packets)
1/2 can 10 ounces (284 ml) chicken broth, undiluted ( or 1 prepared oxo packet)
Pepper to taste
In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring until the mixture turns golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
Add the broth and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk. Stir in the cornstarch and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Season with pepper. Makes about 2 cups.