There’s No Place Like Home For A Barbecue

The Wild Ox of the Celebes has long had an attractive, exotic sound.

If you close your eyes and concentrate, you can almost smell the actual wild ox cooking on a spit.

When you are successful hunting, always remember it is very important to field dress the meat cleanly and not get too many wild ox hairs that may taint the meat or give the meat a gamy flavour.

There are also bearded pigs, but we did not see one of those on the grill.

While mainly known for headhunting, the people of Malaysian Borneo also love to grill up fish for their evening meal. No shortage of wood for the fire. There are also very large prawns netted out of the Kinabantangan River and put directly on the grill, later served on garlic rice with a spicy sauce and vegetables.

At the Semporna night market, you can buy grilled squid and fish with rice and vegetables and the aroma wafting in on the evening breeze from the harbour can at times be almost overpowering. But the Dragon Inn’s restaurant has a unique item on the menu that, under the wrong circumstances, could be a real show stopper.

The Dragon Inn is a large wooden structure built on stilts out over the water. Everything in the restaurant is made out of wood, with the exception of the washbasins. The basins are sea shells the size of a sink, attached to the outside of a railing and emptying into the ocean.

“The Steamboat” selection on the menu comes with a variety of types of food you cook for yourself right at your table. The main course is fish or meat, a bowl of rice and a variety of vegetables.

Now the good part:

The waiter schleps out a 15-pound propane cylinder, six feet of hose and a large wok, puts all the stuff at your table and sets you up to get cooking. While your tasty prawns and fish sizzle in the wok, try not to set the tablecloth on fire or the entire building will go up in flames.

A little closer to home in the land of our neighbours to the south, The Heart Attack Grill, home of the Double Bypass Burger may make an 18-inch tall, two-pound hamburger, but that is nothing to compare with a good caribou or moose burger.

Normally it is a good idea to add bread crumbs to a burger mix, but with caribou or moose there is very little fat for the dried crumbs to absorb.

For one pound of burger, mix in a raw egg, chopped onion, a few dashes of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces, Montréal steak spice, mustard and ketchup. We have a paper bag full of dried homegrown herbs and I like to throw a pinch or two in the mix.

When forming patties, use the heel of your hand to make a depression in the middle of the patties so they are not flat. As the meat cooks, the centre will rise and when cooking is finished the patty will be flat. Refrain from pressing the patties with your super-chef spatula as this squeezes the juices out. These juices may cause flare-ups that can burn the meat (” black stuff”) and of course the burgers will be dry.

It’s that time of year when Yukoners are picking berries and this is a good berry year thanks to all the rain that fell during our recent summer, which I prefer to call our wet season.

A good cranberry sauce can be made using six cups of berries, four cups of sugar and about ¾ cup of water. Add a bit of grated orange rind or a splash of orange juice to zing things up a bit.

Combine in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil for approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until a little of the juice will jell on a spoon. Try it on your wild meat burger in place of regular old relish.

And save a little for your Christmas dinner. See you next barbecue season and, remember, buy locally when in season.

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