Ron Shewchuk Consulting Inc.

May 16, 2014 12:41 ET

Rockin' Ronnie to Reveal Barbecue Secrets at Free Calgary Public Lecture

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - May 16, 2014) -

Editors Note: There is one photo associated with this press release.

It's been 20 years since bestselling cookbook author, podcaster and barbecue evangelist Rockin' Ronnie Shewchuk first tried his hand at Southern-style barbecue in a friend's back yard on the outskirts of Calgary. A lot of blue smoke and barbecue history have been made since then. Ronnie is ready to tell his whole greasy, tangy story in a free public lecture at Calgary's Central Library on May 22nd.

"This is a kind of homecoming for me," says Ronnie. "When the folks at the Calgary Public Library invited me to deliver a lecture about barbecue, I jumped at the chance to celebrate this incredibly delicious style of outdoor cooking. I'm looking forward to sharing my favourite secrets and telling some memorable stories from my years on the barbecue trail."

Those stories include Ronnie's team, The Butt Shredders', historic victory in 2001 at the Oregon State Open BBQ Championships - the first time a Canadian team ever won a U.S. barbecue contest - along with tales from other big contests like the Canadian BBQ Championships in Whistler, the Jack Daniel's Invitational in Lynchburg, the American Royal in Kansas City and Calgary's own BBQ on the Bow.

Through annual barbecue workshops and three barbecue cookbooks, including his latest, Barbecue Secrets DELUXE!, Ronnie has helped train hundreds of Calgarians in the history, tools, techniques and philosophy of Southern-style barbecue - a style of cooking that features big, fatty cuts of meat like pork shoulder and beef brisket cooked "low and slow" with charcoal and hardwood smoke.

"Back in the 1990s, real barbecue was a relatively unknown style of cooking in Canada," says Ronnie. "I was lucky to be part of a small group of backyard cooks who sowed the seeds of what has become a vibrant and growing barbecue culture in Calgary and across Western Canada."

In addition to hearing Ronnie's barbecue secrets, everyone who attends the event will get a chance to win a fabulous Weber Genesis Gas Grill provided by Calgary's Barbecues Galore.

Ronnie's free public lecture is on Thursday, May 22nd from 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. at the John Dutton Theatre in the Central Library at 616 Macleod Trail SE. Calgary Public Library card holders can register through the CPL website, and members of the general public can register for the event here.

Attached to this news release is one of Ronnie's signature recipes for real Southern-style barbecue, Classic North Carolina Style Pulled Pork Sandwiches, from Barbecue Secrets DELUXE!, published by Whitecap books.

About Ronnie

Rockin' Ronnie Shewchuk is a die-hard Calgarian who moved to the West Coast in 2001 to be close to aging family members but continues to maintain a strong presence in the Calgary barbecue scene.

Ronnie has authored three bestselling BBQ cookbooks, including his latest, Barbecue Secrets DELUXE! Ronnie was named one of "America's greatest grillers" in Food & Wine magazine, and his competition barbecue team, the Butt Shredders, has a wall full of trophies. Ronnie is the host of the Barbecue Secrets podcast, available on iTunes and on the web. Find out more about Ronnie, including links to his Barbecue Secrets blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed and YouTube channel at

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Classic North Carolina Barbecued Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Makes 18-24 servings

Note: this dish is meant to be cooked in a charcoal-fired smoker, but you can emulate real barbecue on your gas grill. See the instructions at the end of the recipe.

The concept here is to cook a pork shoulder butt roast (sometimes called a Boston butt) for many hours in a smoky chamber until it is literally falling apart. In competition, one test for doneness is to see whether the blade bone can easily be pulled out of the roast; if so, the pork is ready to shred and serve. This is real barbecue the way we prepare it for competition, and the way it's eaten in the Southeastern states. You can substitute any good rub you have on hand if you don't have time to make some from scratch, but fellow Butt Shredder Kathy Richardier's Butt Rub is the best! This recipe calls for two butts because if you're going to tend the smoker for such a long time, you might as well fill it up. Pork butt freezes very well, so if you're not feeding a huge crowd, just serve one of the butts, wrap the other in an extra layer of foil, and freeze it for later use.

For Kathy's Butt Rub:
1 Tbsp - 15 mL kosher salt
2 Tbsp - 25 mL sugar
2 Tbsp - 25 mL brown sugar
2 Tbsp - 25 mL cumin
2 Tbsp - 25 mL chili powder (like
Chimayo blend, New Mexico, or ancho)
2 Tbsp - 25 mL ground black pepper
up to 1 Tbsp - 15 mL cayenne
1/4 cup - 50 mL paprika
For the pulled pork sandwiches:
2 pork shoulder butt roasts, about
6 to 9 lb - 2.7 to 3 kg each, bone in
1 cup - 250 mL prepared mustard
1 Tbsp - 15 mL granulated garlic
apple juice/maple syrup/bourbon
blend in a spray bottle
(see Barbecue Secret below)
2 cups - 500 mL or more of your favourite barbecue sauce
1 cup - 250 mL North Carolina-style
Vinegar Sauce (see recipe below)
2 dozen fresh, fluffy white buns
Tidewater Coleslaw (see recipe below)

Combine the rub ingredients in a bowl and set the rub aside.

Slather the butts with the mustard, sprinkle them with the granulated garlic, and then coat them liberally with the rub. Let the rubbed butts sit for half an hour, until the meat's juices make the rub look wet and shiny.

Prepare your smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature up to 200-220°F - 95-100°C. Line the drip pan of your smoker with a double layer of foil and fill it with apple juice. (If you want a more crispy crust on the butts, just line the drip pan and leave it dry.) Cook the butts for 11/2 to two hours per lb - 500 g (about 10-14 hours, or to an internal temperature of 185°F - 85°C), adding coals and chunks of hardwood as required. We use apple wood in competition.

About halfway through the cooking time, turn the butts and spray them with the apple juice mixture. Turn them over and spray them again at the 3/4 mark. Two hours before the butts are due to be ready, turn them over again and, with a basting brush, generously glaze them with barbecue sauce. At the same point, throw a couple of chunks of hardwood on the coals. An hour before the butts are due to be finished, turn and glaze them one more time and wrap them in a double coating of foil. One more hour in the smoker, then take them out. Let them rest for at least half an hour (in competition we'll let our butts rest, wrapped in foil, then wrapped in a blanket and placed in an insulated cooler, for as many as four hours).

Take the butts out of the foil and place them in a large roasting pan or heavy duty roasting tray. Pull apart the pork, using two forks or your hands sheathed in rubber gloves, mixing the exterior crusty bits together with the tender, juicy white meat. Drizzle the shredded meat with the vinegar sauce and mix it in. (These days I use equal parts vinegar sauce and barbecue sauce - Ronnie.)

To serve, pile the shredded pork on the buns, drizzle it with some more vinegar sauce and/or some of your favourite barbecue sauce, and top it with the coleslaw for a big, juicy, crunchy, messy barbecue sandwich. Take one bite and you will know what real barbecue tastes like!


Covered grill method: You can barbecue pork butts on your covered charcoal or gas grill. Follow the recipe above exactly, but use indirect low heat. Indirect heat means you put what you're cooking on a part of the grill that has no heat under it. This is easier on a gas grill because to maintain low heat on a charcoal grill means you have to add coals every hour or two for a whole day. Use soaked wood chips or chunks wrapped in foil and poked with a fork to create a bit of smoke. It won't be as smoky as barbecue made in the traditional style, but it'll still be good! The one advantage of this technique is you can probably get by with a couple of hours less cooking time.

North Carolina-style Vinegar Sauce

Makes a little more than 1 cup - 250 mL

This is old-school barbecue sauce at its finest. Drizzle some of this into pulled pork just before serving to give it some classic heat and tang, or use it to baste pork butt.

1 cup - 250 mL white vinegar
1 cup - 250 mL cider vinegar
2 Tbsp - 15 mL brown sugar
1 Tbsp - 15 mL crushed dried red chile flakes
1 tsp - 5 mL Louisiana-style hot pepper sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients and stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved. The sauce stores indefinitely in the fridge.

Tidewater Coleslaw

Makes 8-10 servings

My dear friend and fellow Butt Shredder Kathy Richardier discovered this slaw many years ago and I have substituted my favourite toasted cumin seeds for the celery seeds in the original recipe. This pungent, high-sugar slaw is best as a condiment, piled high on top of a pulled pork sandwich or burger, or on the side of a few slices of barbecued brisket.

11/2 cups - 375 mL mayonnaise
1/2 cup - 125 mL white vinegar
1/3 cup - 75 mL white sugar
1 Tbsp - 15 mL toasted cumin seeds
1 small head cabbage, finely shredded
2 carrots, peeled and finely grated

Whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and cumin together in a bowl. Toss it with the cabbage and carrots and refrigerate it. You can make this slaw a few hours ahead of time. Toss it just before serving to redistribute the dressing.

Barbecue Secret

Spray your meat periodically to give it a sweet shine. Starting about halfway through the cooking time, spray chicken, ribs, brisket, or pork butt with a mixture of 2 parts apple juice, 1 part Jack Daniel's, and 1 part maple syrup.

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