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Monday, December 26, 2016

Two Cowboys: Adding Some Sophisticated Sauce and Missing Link Seasoning With Bow Valley BBQ in Canmore, Alberta

Boere Braai

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In our unique, little-known and often misunderstood Boere culture we take our meat and meat preparation, very seriously. If you know anything about South Africa's Boere identity and heritage, you will be aware of a right of passage called a "braai". If you don't, let me introduce you to this fantastic way of life.

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The word braai (pronounced “bry”, rhyming with the word “cry”; plural "braais") is Afrikaans for “barbeque” or “roast” and is a social custom in South Africa. “The word braaivleis is Afrikaans for “roasted meat.”

Only trusted friends are ever invited to a Boere braai. If you manage to get an invitation, then be aware that you are allowed into the inner sanctum of culinary privilege. A braai is our happy place. With a beer in hand, an open fire, good company, and something slowly roasting away we savour life. This is living.

When you ever make it to a braai with the Two Cowboys or any other South African Boer, then there is some important advice you should heed. Whatever you do, never ever criticise the way the meat is cooked. There is no bigger insult to a Boer than interfering with this sacred rite. Ever! Here's another piece of valuable advice. Never recommend sauce for the meat. It shows you are self-destructive or even suicidal. There is a good chance you won't live to tell about it.

It is highly irregular and unlikely to find any store bought sauce worthy of a Two Cowboys Boere braai. However, without admitting it too publicly, I think we've found one that we may tolerate. Jamie Ayles from Bow Valley BBQ told us more about it.

In 2013, Jamie and Bow Valley BBQ was accepted into the Self Employment government program for new entrepreneurs through Community Futures Centre West. In utilising the network and resources made available through the program, Jamie and Marie, his partner received a Growing Forward Government Grant to scale up and develop five products.

They then moved their production from a modest commercial kitchen setting in Olds and began producing 400 kg formulations at the Alberta Food Processing and Development Centre in Leduc, AB.  Bow Valley BBQ is now providing federally inspected HACCP certified products for both retail and food service.

Currently, Bow Valley BBQ Inc. products can be found in over 20 Restaurants and Retailers throughout Alberta and B.C. with more to come. They have since grown their monthly production demands to 2,400kg batches and a storage facility in Canmore is housing their inventories from where they ship it nationwide.


Most commercially manufactured barbeque sauces are molasses laden, fake smoke-induced, MSG-enhanced bottled concoctions. It is what you put on meat if you don't know what you are doing or when you have the in-laws over for dinner. If you do put it on your meat, you end up with a sugary, charcoal resembled, burned bitterness that serves no purpose other than make you look mean and stupid.

With the Boq Valley BBQ Blueberry Merlot Steak Sauce, we've found something much different. It enhanced our work. We used it as a basting sauce, and it made the meat flavour better, instead of destroying or masking it. We used it in combination with the Missing Link Spice Blend on sirloin, pork ribs, prime rib, and so far just could not fault it. It left us enough room for our own flavour additions.

We keep a high standard when we braai. There are reputations to protect. Jamie and his creations are helping us take it to the next level. We are glad we gave it a try. It is now a regular condiment in our arsenal of gourmet braai secrets.

P.S. Jamie is in the process of launching the Canmore Co-Packing Collective. He promised to work with the Two Cowboys to help package and bottle our own famous Monkey Gland Sauce. More about that later...

Hendrik van Wyk
Boere Cowboy

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