All About Family

The BBQ Culture is Growing in Ontario

I was thinking about the BBQ culture in Ontario and Canada as a whole today. In June of 2017 there is a BBQ competition every weekend.

So why does this matter?

I’ve always enjoyed a good BBQ, who hasn’t, but when I got involved in competition BBQ a few years ago, my real passion took off. The first competition I entered was with a friend in Listowell Ontario. We entered the amateur category and had to cook ribs, ground pork and the “open” turkey category. Now the thing you need to understand is there are some rules competitors need to adhere – one of the most important is that we must cook on BBQ’s that are real fire – wood, charcoal or wood pellets. This means your typical gas grill is not allowed. At the time we had 2 gas grills, a propane and electric smoker between us. Obviously we realized we were missing a critical component for our entry and came to the conclusion that we would build a smoker compliant with the contest rules. I ended up purchasing a 20 gallon steel drum in St. Jacobs. My father in-law helped convert the drum, previously used to hold apple cider, into a lean and mean smoking machine – we painted flames on it and everything. We were ready to go. Although we didn’t win that day, one thing I learned is that BBQ competitions were as much about community as they were the cooking. Teams were friendly, we received tips, we shared laughs and had a great time. I like being at the competitions, the people, the smell, the food – especially the people. BBQ brings people of all classes and cultures together. I have seen guys with money – big RV’s, fancy BBQ’s, big trucks – the whole deal and at the same time I see the very humble family that shows up in a pick up truck with a couple of tents and some tables. The best part? Everyone just blends and gets along and it is beautiful. I think for Canadian’s it is in part a right of passage to being Canadian. We have such a short “true” BBQ season, that we all feel privileged to be given the opportunity to partake. I love talking with people at competitions – other competitors, judges, the general public. Everyone has a different reason for being there.

Back to the point

I am a big believer in family. I always recall BBQ and family going hand in hand. Both immediate and extended, when I am at events that make this happen – this magic of where people from different backgrounds, different classes and with different purpose come together to build family and  community – I absolutely love it. How could this possibly be a bad thing. We actually need more of it. Marc LeBlanc


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