Sunday, June 3, 2012

Farmer's Market Season!

Hi there!

Spring has (finally) sprung here in Ottawa and that means the Farmer's Market is back in action! This year, it's moved locations from Lansdowne Park to Brewer Park in Ottawa South. I personally think the change in locale is a welcome change that allows for a bit of a more natural setting, with lots of grass on which to sit and relax while stuffing your face and perusing your purchases.

So, for those who might be asking what the heck goes on at a Farmer's Market as opposed to a regular seasonal market like Byward or Parkdale? Well, first of all the Farmer's Market operates once a week (Sundays from 8 am to 3 pm in this case, but there are lots of Farmer's Markets across the city with various operating hours), while others are open week-round. They also are much bigger and more of an 'event'. You can stroll in, buy various bits of yummy prepared food goodness and then shop around for any number of ingredients. Also, the produce and meat being sold at the Farmer's Market are almost invariably locally produced. That isn't always the case with the Byward or Parkdale markets.

Stalls full of goodies!!!

On our first trip, we managed to pick up Elk Sausage, Organic Eggs, Potato-Onion Bread, Red Onion Jelly (great on toast), Ground Beef from happy cows who had names, and finally, Wild Boar Back Ribs from Trillium Meadows farm.

But all this only happened after we snarfed some Back Bacon on a Bun from Bearbrook Farm. Yay alliteration!

Mmmmmmm back bacon...
So, a couple of days following our outing, I did up the Boar Ribs (they'd been frozen, but thawed quite quickly in the fridge - we were at the Market on Sunday and I made the Ribs the following Tuesday).

While the ribs weren't necessarily as meaty as what you might find in the supermarket, I chalk that up to them not being pumped full of hormones! Now, as you may know, I've been trying for a while to perfect the art of smoking ribs. The first few times , I've used the '3-2-1 method', where the ribs are rubbed, left overnight in the rub, then smoked. I'd had mixed results with this method. A later attempt incorporated the use of a mop sauce during the cooking process and the ribs turned out more tender, but I could do better.

So, with these lovely Boar Ribs, I decided to add yet another step to the process: brining. In case you forgot, brining, in the context of smoking and/or BBQ, is when you soak a piece of meat in a solution of water, salt, sugar and seasoning for a period of time in order to impart lots of moisture to the meat, making it tender.

Now, this is a long process. You'll need a couple of days prep time to get it right. That being said, let's see how it turned out!

Wild Boar Ribs

- 2 lbs. wild boar back ribs, membrane removed


- 8 cups water
- 1/4 cup kosher or sea salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. crushed juniper berries
- 1 tsp. coriander seeds
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 4 bay leaves

- Mix all ingredients in large non-metal container.
- Submerge ribs in solution and place in fridge for 8-12 hours (overnight). If necessary, cut the ribs into smaller sections to ensure they can be submerged. You may have to put a plate or some other weight over the meat to keep it submerged.

Once you've brined your ribs, remove from the solution and pat dry. Set aside in the fridge while you make your rub, if it isn't already prepared.

I put this rub together on the fly mainly due a lack of both cayenne and paprika. Turns out arbol and guajillo chilis fill in more than adequately!


- 2 cups brown sugar
- 3-4 arbol chilis
- 1 guajillo chili
- 2-3 allspice berries
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3-4 star anise pieces (NOT the whole pod, just the seeds and/or fragments of the seed casing)
- 1 tsp. black pepper,
- 1/2 tsp. white pepper
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp coriander

- Grind all spices that need it, mix all spices together and mix into to sugar.
- Coat the ribs with a thin layer of oil or prepared yellow mustard and coat with the rub, ensuring you 'rub' the spice into the meat well. Return to fridge for another 8-12 hours (overnight).
- Remove from fridge and let warm up for an hour.
- Mix together Mop Sauce (1 1/3 cups apple cider vinegar; 2/3 cup olive oil; pinch of rib rub if any remaining)
- Start fire in firebox using lump charcoal (maple). Place handfuls of wood chips in bowl of water while fire is starting. I used a mix of cherry and hickory chips for this recipe. Worked great!
- Once fire is going, set ribs on grill and create smoke in firebox using soaked wood chips. You're looking to smoke the ribs at about 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 hours.
- Apply mop every 30-45 minutes - don't apply during last hour of cooking.
- After 5 hours, rubs should be cooked through and tender. Wrap in foil and let rest for 20 minutes.
- Serve with Blueberry BBQ Sauce, Apple-Carrot Slaw (see below) and Cornbread.

Apple-Carrot Slaw

- Shred 1 apple, using the large holes of a box grater.
- Peel and cut 3 carrots into thin matchsticks.
- For dressing, mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise with 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp tarragon vinegar, and 2 tsp maple syrup. Stir into slaw and let sit for 30 minutes to blend flavours.

Smoked Wild Boar Ribs - Yup, you heard me right...

And the verdict? By far the best smoking job on ribs I've done up to now. I don't really know if it's because of the meat or the method, but my God they were good ribs! Nice and tender and moist and full flavour. RIB WIN!

So, there's just one example of the tasty goodness that awaits at the Farmer's Market. Trust me, there's plenty more where that came from!



  1. If I could reach through time and my screen, I would eat those ribs right now. Need a close-up shot!

    1. Next time! Still earning my foodie photographer chops...