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"We celebrate local producers. We love good food. Drink too much. We cook with fire. We travel and live like there is no tomorrow."

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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Cabin Fever in the Ou Transvaal - Cowboys Cooking with Acacia BBQ

Cabin Fever Remedies


January and February are cold months in Canada. By the time late-February rolls around, Canadians are grumpy. Cabin fever sets. Children and old people go missing. Ice Hockey referees resign, and parents get violent. Strange things that happen in the winter lands of ice and snow.

We've been living in Canada for 12 winters now. Every year we are still astounded to see just how much of an influence the winter blues have on people around us. Many lucky ones escape to warmer climates. Popular destinations include Mexico, the Southern United States, and a few lucky ones make it Downunder or to our homelands - Southern Africa.

This year we stayed home under our blanket of white. To counter cabin fever, we relied on our diligent preparation and applied remedies that didn't involve children, violence, sticks, or rock hard rubber disks. We saved items and happy thoughts for the occasion. Some things we used as crutch included a little Mieliepap, Old Brown Sherry, a few vintage Peppermint Crisps, Dry Wors, Jelly Tots, and some frozen slivers of Biltong.

Then we remembered our African lump charcoal from Acacia BBQ. Willie, one of the owners, left us a stash in the Fall with a mini-braai before he himself escaped to warmer climates. What a happy discovery!


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The Bushveld Smell



Why bring Charcoal from the other side of the world to Canada?

Honestly, unless your first breath in this life was that of a Bushveld Braavleis fire, you will be hard-pressed to follow the logic. In reality, charcoal is a lightweight black carbon residue produced by removing water and other volatile constituents from plant materials (Wikipedia).

Charcoal is usually produced by slow pyrolysis - the heating of wood or other organic materials in the absence of oxygen. The advantage of burning charcoal, compared to burning wood, is the absence of water and other components. This allows charcoal to burn at higher temperatures, and give off very little smoke ("...regular wood can release a significant amount of steam, organic volatiles, and unburnt carbon particles - soot - in its smoke when it is not burned completely."). The end result is the solid-state of the one thing that drives the hysteria and New-World religion - carbon. Burn it, and you have pure carbon monoxide - plant food!

The charcoal you buy for your local BBQ or Braai at your supply store is close to, but not pure lumps of carbon. Where the mass and weight of the material is concerned, one chunk of plant material-derived carbon is much like the next. However, not all plant material is destroyed in the manufacturing process. There remains a faint memory of the origins of the wood due to some unburned content and volatiles. These are the remnants that impart the particular characteristics that differentiate Oak derived charcoal from Muskeet, Applewood, or in the case of Acacia BBQ, African hardwoods.

That is why a bag of Royal Oak differs from Kingfords, Canadian Maple, and the rest. The mass and density set the temperature, and the time it burns (hence briquettes are very similar in performance). The unburned material and volatiles impart the flavour. It is this flavour of the Bushveld smoke that took us home when we lit our first box of Acacia BBQ charcoal on a little Easy Grill.

Acacia BBQ charcoal is a product of HB’s Premium Char Imports Ltd. It is available in Canada and the USA. The charcoal they import is the result of 10 years of trials and tribulations to realize the dream of a family business.  Acacia BBQ searched all over Southern Africa to find producers that would bring the “braai” (BBQ) experience of Africa to North America.  They are conservation-minded and source the materials sustainably while remaining sensitive to the socio-economic issues and opportunities of Africa.

Observations


If you haven't breathed the Bushveld, then you will be forgiven for considering the Acacia BBQ product, just another premium lump charcoal. Burn-time and temperature don't set it apart, and you will be forgiven for thinking it is expensive. Remember, it did come from halfway around the world.

It is the flavour that sets it apart! We consider the profile baby perfume-like. Yes, we are biased because our memory receptors are triggered to take us to our happy place - a bushveld fire, the sun setting, jackals howling in the background, and a "tjoppie" sizzling on the braai (grill), fueled by African hardwoods.

We thank Willie and Acacia BBQ for this huge present at a time we needed it most. He gave us another glimpse of heaven and reminded us of where we came from. This is our Valhalla!

It made -25C a little bearable this time around. We escaped Cabin Fever for another year. If you want the smell of Africa for your meat, then cook with Acacia BBQ. That is why we do it.

Hendrik
Cooking Cowboy

Photos


Christmas Box!

Little Fire!

Eazy Grill

Wors!

Cooking with Fire

Monday, November 25, 2019

Two Cowboys Cooking in 2020!

Cooking Cowboys


Today marks the start of a new chapter in the lives and the stories of the Two Cowboys. We are embarking on the Two Cowboys' "Cooking" adventure.

"What will be different?" We are glad that you asked.  



The Two Cowboys Experience



We live the Two Cowboys Lifestyle, exploring local producers, small towns and celebrating great food. We film it and showcase our experiences through our online content. However, this time, we will also have an open invitation for people to participate. Come and do it with us. 

You've seen the movie, now drink the milkshake, pull the pork, rub the butt, bite the brisket, lick the sauce, and share in the adventure.



We will cook, cater, and eat our way through tremendous food experiences, and we invite you to enjoy it with us. You will be able to learn, cook, sample, and feast with the Two Cowboys and our partners.

The Two Cowboys Cooking adventure will be in three parts.
  • The Two Cowboys HQ and Milk Bar: This Spring, we are launching the Two Cowboys Cookhouse (HQ) and Milk Bar "pop-up concept" in Greenwood, British Columbia. It will be our new home base where we will have our kitchen, cookers, and smokers on display as we cook because we love it. At this location, we will redefine what it means to hang out around a fire with friends. During the special events, we will sample-serve traditional hearty to-go fire-cooked favourites and unique and amazing gastronomical marvels. On special occasions, and by invitation, be prepared to bite into delicious apple smoked pulled pork, creative and flavourful arepa creations, boerewors, porchetta, ribs, lamb shoulders, and much, much more. We will complement it with locally sourced cheeses, ice creams, milkshakes, custards, cakes and chocolate dessert creations. We promise that there will always be something new, top quality, and out of the ordinary to savour from the community in Greenwood, BC, on Highway 3.
  • Two Cowboys Exclusive Catering Events: With our partners, we are also taking the show on the road. We will be hosting exciting food events in unique and unusual locations in celebration of producers and seasonal local produce. During these events, we will be showing off our gear, instructing, cooking local ingredients, tasting, and enjoying exceptional dishes with our guests and supporters. You will find us at local craft breweries, vineyards, campgrounds, in a tent, on a vacant lot, at a food festival, parking spot, in a forest, or on a beach - wherever we can share the gospel of fire cooking local produce.
  • Two Cowboys TV and Blog: All the time, we will continue to produce online content to showcase, chronicle, and entertain you with the adventures of the Two Cowboys lifestyle. 

DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Our travels and the time we've spent with many producers over the last three years made us realize one significant fact. Just how right we've been to celebrate the makers and producers in our communities. 

In particular, we marvelled at the dedication of our farmers and food producers to persevere in a world where quality and authenticity remain under threat. It is why we are motivated to showcase and celebrate even more of their work by preparing, cooking, serving, and sharing their products and those of our partners that allow us the opportunity to do it. 



There is a profound reward for makers in the simple act of creating and adding value. In its purest form, we've recognized how people change for the better in health and outlook when they embark on something as simple as regularly finding, cooking and sharing food. By doing it over a fire, it becomes even better - no matter the weather (Yes, we are cooking in the middle of the Canadian Winter). 

We continue to pursue and share our passion online and offline, for this highly rewarding and sacred ritual. We also endeavour to bring even more people into the fold of preparing and eating real, locally produced, and self-cooked food. We hope you can share the journey with us as this unique adventure continues and promises to become something impressive.

See you on the road!

P.S. If you want to partner with the Two Cowboys on any of the above, then please get in touch. We are on the lookout to feature produce, partners, chefs, hosts, and unique locations for the festivities.

Hendrik
Cooking Cowboy


Photos

Two Cowboys

Cooking School

Flame Grilled

Two Cowboys H-Q


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Off the Desk and Into the Sauce with House of Q in Vernon, BC

Share It


If you are tired of mixing the same seasoning spices every time you cook a steak, then you have to meet Brian Misko. If you are not up to making your own BBQ sauces from scratch, when quickly needing to grill a pork chop, or slow smoking a butt, then House of Q is your home. You have something in common. If you are in need of tasty BBQ seasoning spices and sauces for your cooking hobby, there is a Q solution.

Brian built a business from it. He created base seasoning and saucing for his out-of-control hobby and then shared it with other like-minded BBQ and grilling enthusiasts. It quickly became the go-to for customers pressed for time, with no appetite for compromise. People that require award-winning foundations for their love of meat. He called it House of Q.

Successful companies come from innovative entrepreneurs that invent products or services out of necessity. People who take their products to market for others to also enjoy. Brian is one of the best examples of how to start such a business. He is selling something he made, like, and use regularly. By doing it, he is adding value with his products, advice and support, to other like-minded enthusiasts in his BBQ industry.

This is part of the TWO COWBOYS' EPIC GLOBAL TRAVEL & CULINARY EXPERIENCE - 2019! 


Episode 1 - Cooking with Yoders



Episode 2 - Cooking with Q

DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Escaping the Pod


It is an all too familiar, yet, still an inspiring story. According to Brian, it started around 2004. His cubicle in the software industry became too small. His escape was the discovery of his love for cooking. More and more of his time went into this passion. BBQ competitions followed. Before long, a little media attention, and voila! House of Q was born as a byproduct of this drive for award-winning food.

BBQ'ers have few choices for making a living from their passion. Some will call it art. Many cater to functions. A few start restaurants or smokehouses. Even fewer become entertainers. Starting a manufacturing business and launching a consumer brand with the name "House of Q" is probably one of the hardest and gutsiest ways to earn a living.

Brian escaped his pod. Today he spends his time honing his competitive cooking streak, developing new products, promoting them where he can, and inspiring others to discover their own food passions.

What he makes, promises to deliver a little help on the way to BBQ salvation. It includes a cookbook, seasoning spice blends, and sugary smokey spicey sauces - the necessary base ingredients for old-fashioned low and slow Southern BBQ. In his free time, he is generous with his advice and his commitment to inspire healthy living through good eating, and the art of cooking with fire.

Observations


Here is where the House of Q meets the Two Cowboys. We eagerly promote something we enjoy.

The Cowboys likes using Brian's products. It saves us from assembling our own beef pepper seasoning, which mostly contains the same ingredients. Q's all-purpose seasoning works equally well on pork ribs and chicken. We cannot decide if we like the Rocking Red or the Apple Butter Sauce more. We guess it depends on our mood and the amount of beer lubricating our cook. All we know is that our pork has never tasted more "Appelly" and "Zingy" when combining the two.

When it comes down to it, we share a passion for cooking with Brian. We agree about the need to advocate for more people to cook, grill and BBQ at home. You eat better that way. We both buy from local food producers, sourcing in-season ingredients for our cook, and include more fresh vegetables and meat protein in our diets.

Above all, we love sharing our passion with the people we call our friends. There is nothing better than to cook with fire, doing it for, and with the people we love, and findings innovative ways of telling the world about it. That is why we like a little House of Q. It comes from the same place.

Enjoy!

P.S. Get your House of Q products here.

Hendrik
Cooking Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.

Photos


Getting the Sauce

Quality Control 
Recognize it