The Toronto Festival of Beer
TV host Ted Reader grills up a storm
At least one west-end Torontonian calls his area of town Etobi-smoke.
“It’s the barbecue capital of Canada,” says Ted Reader, well-known plank chef and barbecue specialist. “Because I’m here.”
It’s a point that’s hard to argue when his team of barbecue experimenters fire up more than 75 grills in his backyard daily — he says he hasn’t had a day off since Easter.
Known for his TV Show, The King Of The Q Grilling Adventures, and recent book The Art Of Plank Grilling, Reader will be in one of the main attractions at Toronto’s Festival of Beer this weekend — the Grill Tent — as he cooks with Ontario Craft Brewers. He’ll grill as fest-goers chill and sample from more than 200 beers at Old Fort York.
Today, the Etobicoke resident will be cooking up two things, mainly. The first are his enormous Extremely Ludicrous Burgers — two 8 oz. all-beef patties, caramelized onions, special sauce and four cheeses, topped with grilled sausage, balogna, bacon and eggs — all grilled, and served between two grilled cheese sandwiches.
That sounds, well …
“Yeah, it’s insane,” Reader says. He has it on his menu at his restaurant in the Dominican, which is called Teddy’s Island BBQ.
“Not many people finish it — because it comes with baked beans, coleslaw and fries,” Reader says. “(But) a six-year-old kid came in, and he ate everything. It’s just a fun thing.
“Some people say I’m a little bit heavy-handed. That’s my style.”
At the Festival, he’ll grill it with Amsterdam Brewing Natural Blond Lager and Wellington County Dark Ale.
“I’ll baste burgers with beer and use a little beer in the mix,” he says after looking through his blackberry to find out the beers he is set to use.
But don’t ask him for too many specifics on how he’ll use the beer today and Sunday. He says he doesn’t know yet. It’s all about the moment, and he cooks from scratch in front of audiences. “We’ll be grilling, glazing, dripping and licking.
“I start out with a thought or idea on my recipes, then things change. As long as your belly is happy in the end, that’s all that matters.”
Another item for today is Spinning Out of Control Meatloaf.
“It looks like a yule log if you were to describe it. All rolled up like a log and put on a cedar plank and baked.”
He’ll cook with Best Bitters Brewing’s Nickle Brook Green Apple Pilsner and Black Oak Brewing’s Pale Ale.
On Sunday, he’ll cook up peanut butter and jelly fish — planked salmon with peanut butter and pineapple rum sauce, with Glenora Springs Brewery’s McKinney’s Triple Chin Irish Dark Ale and Mill Street Brewery’'s Tankhouse Ale.
There’s also a serving of planked mashed potatoes and beef tenderloin and a blue-cheese fondue, cooked with Great Lakes Brewerys Red Leaf Smooth Red Lager, and J.R. Brickman Pilsner by Brick Brewing.
For a smokey dessert, it’s planked rocky road brownies, with marshmallows, chocolate chips, peanut butter, jelly and nuts.
“We’ll use beer in some way. I’ll figure it out as I’m going.”
Some culinary experts poo-poo pouring beer over your grill. But Reader says it’s a good idea for the meat because of the barbecue’s dry heat.
“Drizzle some beer on food as it’s cooking because it adds a little bit of moisture and flavour.”
Look for Reader in the grill tent — he’s the guy with the big grin surrounded by smoke, meat and beer.
Ask him a few questions, and you might get a free cookbook or barbecue sauce.
More about the Toronto Festival of Beer:
); 2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill.
PROCEDURE: Lay salmon into a dish large enough to accommodate the entire side. Pour over Mill Street Brewery Tankhouse Ale and marinate for 15-20 minutes. Preheat grill to high. Remove salmon from beer marinade, discarding left over beer. Lay salmon “skin” side down onto a long presoaked plank. Season salmon with steak spice pressing the spices into the flesh so that it adheres. Spread the peanut butter evenly over the entire surface of the salmon. Add a tablespoon of water to the pineapple preserves and stir to thin the preserves. Spread the pineapple preserves evenly over the peanut butter spread salmon. Place planked salmon on grill and close lid. Plank bake salmon for 15-20 minutes until just cooked through and the salmon easily flakes with a fork and the peanut butter is soft and the pineapple preserves are bubbling and lightly crisp. Remove from grill and season with chopped fresh dill. Serves 6.