Posted in Notable Nosh

Notable Nosh: BBQ Duck Wings

Highlander Duck Wings

Aside from some Chinese Preserved Duck Wings, the only times I have ever had duck wings is when I have roasted a duck at home. For a while now, I have actually been seeing them appear with increasing frequency in eateries around Ottawa but I had thus far passed them up in favor of other things that caught my fancy. On my most recent visit to the Highlander Pub, however, I saw that they had some on offer as a lunch special and I finally gave them a try…

What I received is not what I expected. At home, the ducks I roast are generally fairly small and the wings are usually not a great deal bigger than chicken wings. Accordingly, I was rather expecting a small basket of smallish, deep-fried wings, and not the large ‘drumettes’ you see picture above.

Actually, I am sorry that I didn’t include a fork in the picture for scale purposes, but each wing section was pretty near as large as the drumstick from the ducks I usually roast. I even had to ask whether the pieces were in fact from the wing and, when I was assured that they were, it struck me that these had to be some pretty big-ass ducks…

I was also informed that the wings are not deep-fried, but rather slow-cooked in duck fat until very tender. The meat was, in fact, almost falling from the bone, but there was also a fairly hard crispiness in places. I suspect that the wings are cooked, and then cooled in their fat, and then finally given a quick flash fry in oil to reheat before tossing with sauce. In this case, the sauce was the same BBQ sauce the Pub uses for other dishes (Buffalo style was also available). I have had the sauce before (on ribs, I think), but, while it is nice enough, I didn’t much care for it here.  Something more savory, and not quite as sweet would be better, I think.

Anyway, I liked how the duck wings were cooked and would like to experiment with the technique myself…

Posted in General, Notable Nosh

Notable Nosh: Chinese BBQ Pork and Duck

Chinese BBQ

Not long ago, I posted a review of Gain Wah restaurant in Vancouver’s Chinatown. I mentioned therein that, as I was leaving, the very friendly owner who was manning the BBQ station offered some barbecued duck to try. It was absolutely delicious and I told him I would be back. Well… I did just that and ordered the plate you see above which, for the princely sum of just $7.50, gave me a generous helping of both duck and pork along with a little dish of plum sauce on the side. Now, though I have been tempted by Chinese BBQ on various occasions, this happened to be my first real experience (aside from the gratis sampling two days earlier). Now… I have to say that I am a convert. The duck was not quite as good as the first taste, as that had been freshly cooked and still piping hot, but both meats here were exquisitely succulent and flavorful. There was a slight hint of 5 spice powder here and there (which I can take or leave), but, otherwise, this was perfect and the plum sauce really wasn’t needed for either. I have had thin slices of BBQ pork tenderloin in fried rice and noodle dishes once in a while, but that cut is exceedingly dry and nothing like the lovely, slightly fatty portion here. I am going to have to experiment in my own kitchen…

Posted in Experiments, Recipes

Chimichurri Steak

Chimichurri Steak 01

While I was having lunch at a restaurant in Yellowknife a while ago, an interesting item on the menu caught my eye. I forget the name of it now, but basically it was a rib-steak marinated in a Chimichurri sauce and then given a Cajun style rub before grilling. It sounded terrific and I would love to have tried it but the steaks on the menu were only available after 5pm. In any event, the idea was quite intriguing and though I can’t really recreate it (not having been able to taste it), I thought I might try something along the same lines at home… Continue reading “Chimichurri Steak”

Posted in General

Fire-pot Stock Project Part 4- Barbecued Firepot Ribs

Barbecued Firepot Ribs 1

Months ago, I posted an experiment whereby I poached ribs in a Chinese Master Stock before cooking them further. Here, I am going to be doing something somewhat similar except that I will be using my Firepot Stock, which is now, as of the date of this experiment, about a month and a half old.

Simply tossing a large slab of ribs onto a very hot barbecue will often result in meat that is dry and overcooked, especially on the outside, and so more complex methods are often employed in which the racks are slowly cooked by indirect heat on a cooler part of the grill before being quickly finished over higher heat. Here, I am going to poach the ribs in my stock first as I hope this this gentle precooking will achieve a nice moist flesh while infusing them with additional flavor before the second cooking… Continue reading “Fire-pot Stock Project Part 4- Barbecued Firepot Ribs”

Posted in Restaurants

Review: Hard Rock Café

73 York St, Ottawa – (613) 241-2442 – Website

Hard Rock Cafe 1

Date of Visit: July 6, 2013

The Hard Rock Cafe in Ottawa’s Byward Market is just one in a huge chain of restaurants with locations around the world. Despite the fact that the general culinary theme reflects the American southwest, the empire had its beginnings, I was surprised to learn, in London, England.

The selection of food available in these places is generally family restaurant fare, with the obligatory nachos and Chicken wings, but they also do a bit of a line in smokehouse delicacies as well. In general, the menu is not one that would tempt me especially but the Byward Market  restaurant has a nice outdoor patio with a pleasant view and so, on a very hot and humid day, I decided to see what they could do with a steak… Continue reading “Review: Hard Rock Café”

Posted in Experiments, Recipes

Chili Cumin Jumbo Shrimp

Chili Cumin Shrimp 1

After sampling several Northern Chinese BBQ dishes at the Ju Xiang Yuan Restaurant in Ottawa some time ago, I tried reproducing one of their offerings and posted it as Grilled Squid with Chili and Cumin. The restaurant also does shrimp grilled the same basic way (which I didn’t try, but mean to rectify sometime), and I thought I would give it a try at home first. I am departing from the general method used by the restaurant (they dust with ground dried chili, cumin and sesame seeds), and instead used a chili paste that is first slightly sweetened… Continue reading “Chili Cumin Jumbo Shrimp”

Posted in Experiments, Recipes

The Sunday Gravy Project Part 8 – Barbecue Sauce Ribs

Recently, Carla over at Expat Chef in Barcelona ( a great blog, by the way, so please check it out), made some great comments to Part 6 of my Sunday Gravy experiment (The Pulled Pork Sandwich).  I was looking for something to do for part 8 and her BBQ sauce idea prompted me to cook some ribs in the gravy (thus adding yet more depth to the flavor) and then use them to play around with barbecue sauce ingredients she suggested.

I plan to update you on the status of the gravy shortly (we are now at Day 45, of the experiment), but, basically, Carla inspired me to use a little of the current result with some simple additional  additions in order to make a tangy sauce. There won’t be any actual barbecuing involved in this experiment, actually, but I am looking forward to seeing how her general theme works with the ribs cooked in the oven… Continue reading “The Sunday Gravy Project Part 8 – Barbecue Sauce Ribs”

Posted in Experiments, Recipes

The Pulled-Pork Sandwich

This is a bit of a departure from the usual sort of fare I feature here but this experiment will allow me to feature some of the ‘Pulled-Pork’ I had left resulting from my recent Sunday Gravy Project  post.

To be honest, neither my wife or I have been keen on pulled-pork the few times we have been served it but I have always wanted to give it a try in my own kitchen. Accordingly, in this post,  not only will I get to test my own version, I will also get to show you a use for the Sweet Onion Shreds I introduced you to recently and, as a little bonus, share a simple but interesting trick at the same time… Continue reading “The Pulled-Pork Sandwich”

Posted in Experiments, Recipes

Grilled Squid with Chili and Cumin

I was inspired to try this experiment after enjoying a similar Chinese BBQ dish at the Ju Xiang Yuan Restaurant in Ottawa last year. I actually gave it a try at home shortly after my return but, lacking a barbecue following the disastrous fire the previous summer, I tried to use my oven grill, which just didn’t produce the result I wanted. Now, however, I am the proud owner of a brand new barbecue, courtesy of my lovely wife, and this dish will be the very first to be cooked upon it… Continue reading “Grilled Squid with Chili and Cumin”