“Wally BBQ: competitive meat
Competitions such as the World Food Championship or the American Royal are often referred to as culinary “”sports””. You have to witness a barbecue competition to understand how true that is. Wally BBQ invited us to spend a few hours with the team earlier this month on the occasion of the 514 BBQ, the first Montreal contest certified by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS).
Caravans, tents, and tent demountable, the site of the competition organized in the industrial sector of the arrondissement of Saint-Léonard resemble a racing paddock. The difference is that they are barbecues and smoking rooms that are taken out of trailers.
“”To cook four six-bites, I come up with a 30 ‘trailer,”” explains Wally BBQ’s Dany Tremblay. I use six barbecues, two of them with high-end granules, and I have a third one in spare parts in the truck, in case of trouble. Luckily I managed to get sponsors this year, and it costs me a lot less. I went to the elite in my first full year of competition; I no longer need to knock on doors, I can concentrate on cooking techniques.”
On their arrival, the members of the Wally BBQ team first do some spotting. Since you have to hand over the dishes to the judges at a very precise moment, every moment counts. So we calculate how long it takes to get to the judges ‘ marquee. “”We then adjust our cooking and preparation schedule,”” says Tremblay. You should see the exhaustive list that Dany prepares for each competition; everything is recorded according to a schedule set like music paper, brines, rinsing, preparation of presentation boxes, reduction of sauces, nothing is left to chance. Sitting in their caravan in the colors of their sponsors, Dany and Stefan prepare the meat, which they then grill and smoke.
We also determine the flavor profile that the team will follow, depending on where the competition is held. “”I’ll look at who the judges are, and we’ll adjust the recipes according to their age and profile,”” says the pit master. We will also take the local pulse by going to the restaurant and tasting the popular sauces in the grocery stores. We will adjust our recipes and even the species of wood for our pellets. When we do a competition for the first time, like here, we try to establish the basic level on which to build. We can’t afford to do something incredible; a “”wow”” for me may be offensive to some judges, and I can’t afford to get a bad score. »
One thing that doesn’t change from place to place is the quality of the meat. Wally BBQ supplies almost exclusively in Quebec; her poultry comes from Roxton Pond and her pork from Saint-Patrice-de-Beaurivage. As for the Ox, he swears only by the Wagyu, and he is still looking for sufficiently strong animals raised in our country. “”I couldn’t afford to work with the Wagyu at first, so to bring my meats to the same result, I had to give them more love,”” Tremblay explains. In Quebec, we have it in our DNA to work hard; work pays all the time. Now, I’m making the same effort, but with premium meat. If you want to be in the top 20, you don’t have a choice, even if a beef breast tip costs up to $ 400 a piece! »
Wally BBQ almost exclusively cooks meats produced in Quebec. His pork comes from Saint-Patrice-de-Beaurivage, in the Chaudière-Appalaches.
On the spot, before the start of the competition, the atmosphere is relaxed, the competitor’s joke with each other while sipping a few beers. Still, we take this seriously; we usually keep our recipes to ourselves. The secrets of seasonings are like the settings of a racing machine. Dany Tremblay even admits to being a bit Machiavellian.
“”Our spice tray is hidden, and we put decorative products on the top. Similarly, we leave bottles of generic sauce lying around to confuse our opponents. »
On the other hand, Dany admits to having already searched the trash of a leading American team in the hope of uncovering its secrets!”