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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Second Grand Party in the Street in Downtown Grand Forks, British Columbia

Good Grand News


On Saturday 2 May 2018, the news stated: 

“Catastrophic floods in parts of southern British Columbia have forced nearly 2,800 from their homes and warm weather expected in the coming days could worsen the problem. In Grand Forks, B.C., a community about 520 kilometres east of Vancouver, homes are submerged in brown, murky water. 

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary said fire rescue technicians have rescued more than 30 people by boat in the town. Two days of heavy rain caused flooding in Grand Forks. It’s the worst the region has seen in 70 years, roughly two feet (0.6 metres) higher than ever recorded.” (CTV News)

On Sunday 21 July the news read: 

“The citizens and business in Downtown Grand Forks are showing tremendous resilience and perseverance as they slowly recover from the flooding of 2018. It is a little over 1 year, and businesses are opening again. New businesses are moving to town. 

Look out for a new Craft Brewery, Ice Cream store and others are planning to locate and build their futures in the town as well. They are all discovering and coming for the small-town charm, better lifestyle, and slower pace of this oasis in British Columbia’s Boundary Country. 

To demonstrate how attractive the community of Grand Forks is for business, the Downtown Business Association hosted its 2nd Annual Party in the Street. They invited people from the Boundary, Kootenay's and Okanagan Area to celebrate the rebuild and rebirth of Downtown Grand Forks, after the floods. It was a grand party! Grand Forks is open for business, again.” (Two Cowboys News)

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




DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Party in the Street


The Cowboys were fortunate to get an invite to the Party in the Street. We celebrated with the people of Grand Forks. While there, we wanted to find out what the business outlook is after a hard year of cleanup and rebuilding. Are there people who are positive about the future? Is there an opportunity for existing businesses and new business to rebuild and grow?

What struck us was how welcoming is the Grand Forks community. They want people to move to the area, to establish businesses, and to open stores in the downtown business district. Grand Forks is not just open for business. They are using the events of the past year as an opportunity for the rebirth of the sleepy town. They are hosting events to celebrate and promote the opportunity.
We’ve seen that significant news events attract attention to places that people may otherwise not think about. Canmore in Alberta received global attention with the flooding of 2013. We were there. The publicity built momentum for growth.

As a result of the attention, more people were charmed by the attractiveness of the location and visited. Some even relocated, even though Canmore has one of the most expensive real estate markets in Canada. Some will agree that the town is still benefiting from this momentum almost 5 years after the event. While Alberta is in an economic downturn since 2014, new businesses are being established in Canmore. More and more people are moving to the area for the lifestyle, natural beauty, and proximity to Alberta’s big business and tourism markets.

We predict, similarly, that Grand Forks has an opportunity to mine gold from the unfortunate events of 2018. Through the ongoing publicity of the flood recovery and the positive developments related to the circumstances, they help people discover and appreciate that there are still places in Canada like Grand Forks. Places where small businesses are embraced and encouraged to start or relocate. Where the economics of the area still make it possible for small entrepreneurs to live and work and have a lifestyle location. It offers excellent infrastructure, a great climate, and proximity to larger markets such as the tourists of the Okanagan.

Grand Forks is open for artisan butchers, bakers, growers, makers, retailers, and related services. The Downtown Business Association is keen to see more people open and operate their businesses in Grand Forks. Even the City Council is making it easier to do it. Property is still affordable, and the lifestyle is superb with trails, sunshine, and shorter winters.

Observations


We are glad we could meet some of these remarkable people during the Party in the Street. We look forward to bringing you more stories about the businesses and people of the town and of the Boundary Country of British Columbia.

We too succumbed to the charms of the "old frontier" and want to help promote it as the “new frontier” for artisans and lifestyle entrepreneurs. That is why we decided to live here and make the Boundary Country our community and our people.

You should come and see it for yourself!

Hendrik
Boundary 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


Open for Business!

The Road to Grand Forks

Monday, July 29, 2019

Do You Want A Healthy and Fulfilling Life? Start by Making Toast or Frying an Egg

The permutations and cultural preferences in food preparation are colourful as the people of the world. Every corner of the planet is full of uniquely regional ingredients. The way to prepare ingredients for a meal also uniquely developed with, and lead to the way people are living and working in a particular area. Our cultures, tastes, rituals and preferences developed around our food and meal habits. 

The best way to maintain and celebrate our identity is thus with our people’s unique foods. Our food not only feeds and nourishes but also directs our mental state and determines our physical health.

Catalysts


There are two ways we can grow or change. Either, life does it to us, or we do it to ourselves. In both these cases, a catalyst is required to get things underway. A catalyst is a person or thing that precipitates an event that leads to a change in circumstances or behaviour. If you want to have a healthy and fulfilling life, with good friends, you need a catalyst. 

There is ample evidence that because of the relationship with our food, we as humans developed into the uniquely dominant species that we are. When we prepare food, we learn, we share, and we make friends. When we are involved with our food, we are more likely to eat better, and as a result, live healthier and happier lives. Unfortunately, in our “modern” world, this involvement is fast becoming a casualty as the majority of people are losing the opportunity or the interest to cook. 

In this blog post, we are making the case that it is time for us to start cooking again. Our food is the catalyst for our health, fulfillment and we are likely to have more good friendships. It is as simple as starting with making toast or frying an egg.

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


You Need a Yoder!

More Yoder!

DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Make It


Our development and evolution are directly influenced by our relationship with our food. Consciously or unconsciously, a lot of what happens in our lives still have some connection with what, how, when and with whom, we eat. It is evident from the amount of information published about our diets, and about the ongoing conversations, we have with the people around us about what we choose to eat. Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Meatatarian are now commonly used houshold terms and pops up often in day-to-day conversations. This blog is not about defining our relationship with food, but rather, making the case that our food is the catalyst for a whole lot more meaningful living. Let me walk you through the logic.

Our unique approach to nourishment turned us into responsible learning organisms. The best learning we can do is to discover how to feed ourselves. Knowing how to hunt, grow, prepare and enjoy our food was always the basis for our survival. Unfortunately, this knowledge is increasingly in short supply in a society where it became easier to UberEats or HappyMeal than to crack an egg or fire up a grill. Heaven forbid we find out where eggs actually come from or visit a pig farm for bacon!

Our fulfillment as human beings suffered when Google Search replaced hunting, opening the fridge replaced foraging, and the submit button on a takeout app or the on button of the microwave replaced food preparation and cooking. When we are no longer directly involved with what we eat, we deny ourselves the most primal and uniquely human opportunity for intellectual development - learning about our food and how to prepare it. Our chance and ability to learn through sourcing and preparing a meal is lost, and with that, a whole lot of personal value eliminated.

Yes, we are learning organisms. Our position in the food chain and dominance on planet Earth came about because of the energy we've put into building our intellect around food. It also influenced the development of our social structures to help us source and maintain our food supply. Even our physiology developed to make our minds our most dominant survival feature. Instead of physical strength, speed, or agility, our best tool to survive and evolve became our ability to learn, reason and remember how to stay safe, what to eat, where to find it, and how to prepare it.

To have a more fulfilling life, we should cherish the opportunity to learn about our food while preparing a meal. It starts with something as simple as making toast or frying an egg.

Share It


Our species' first priority for our intellect was and still is, to learn how to survive. Our survival depends on how well we can procreate, protect and nourish ourselves. We quickly learned as humans that we share this as a common goal with those closest to us. We learned a long time ago that it is easier to cooperate with those that have the same needs. It is more valuable to do it with those we care for most, like a spouse, parent, child, or sibling.

With this as a priority, our intellect developed to enable us to maintain and benefit from cooperation. The way it started was with our need to eat and survive. To meet this need, we learned to foster relationships and cooperate. The way we relate and interact with others followed a similar logic. It means that when we forage together, prepare and share a meal, we are more likely to have things in common and successfully cooperate as a result.

We are better able to foster meaningful relationships with those that share in the task. It satisfies another of our critical primal urges - our need for acceptance. It is how good friendships start and is maintained. People that cook and eat together are more likely to develop and foster healthy, meaningful relationships.

Love It


Preparing food is work. Not knowing what and how to prepare food makes it even harder work. Yet, herein lies the opportunity to learn and discover what makes each one of us healthy and unique. We have to eat. We may as well eat with a purpose and do it with the people we love.

The permutations and cultural preferences in food preparation are as colourful as the people of the world. Every corner of the planet is full of uniquely regional ingredients. The way to prepare ingredients for a meal also uniquely developed with, and lead to the way people are living and working in a particular area. Our cultures, tastes, rituals and preferences developed around our food and meal habits. The best way to maintain and celebrate our identity is thus with our people’s unique foods. Our food not only feeds and nourishes but also directs our mental state and determines our physical health.

When this alignment is violated, a delicate balance is destroyed with dire consequences for society. It has health consequences and ultimately contributes to the disruption of culture and identity. For example, societies not accustomed to high carbohydrate intake and sugary foods become diabetic and obese. It's been happening all over the world. The best model can be found in the Pacific Islands, where diabetes became an epidemic because of the change in the food supply. Where dairy isn’t a staple, people are lactose intolerant. This is the case in some Chinese populations. Yet, they are consuming more and more dairy because it became more readily available, and in some cases, even fashionable regardless of the health consequences. The biggest offender of them all, processed foods, introduced carcinogens that destroys unique and essential gut bacteria. Our gut bacteria help with digestion, and it has been proven that it also has a link with a person’s mood and mental health. Processed food leads to increases in the occurrence of gastrointestinal disorders like gluten intolerance, autoimmune diseases, and even depression. The Inuit needs their seal blubber not only to survive, but to be healthy, and to be Inuit. The same with the Bushmen hunting in Africa. They need their meat and to celebrate every hunt. It is who they are.

It is far too easy for us in our global convenience-driven societies to abandon cultural and meal conventions. Many of us cannot remember what and how our people used to eat. We have to revisit the cookbooks of our forefathers to rediscover our preferences and tastes. These conventions developed over thousands of years. It made us what we are physically, mentally and culturally. By abandoning it, we are not only risking our health. We are risking our mental state and who we are. It is becoming quite apparent that we are unfortunately too eager to embrace new meal conventions, and there is a price to pay for doing it.

The bottom line is, regardless of the improved availability of all kinds of ingredients and foods, thanks to globalism and large multinational food producers, we remain captive physiologically and culturally to what is our diet. If we violate this accord with a BigMac or SugarySlurpee, we risk physical and mental health.

When we prepare our own food, it is easier to pay attention to what is good for us to eat. We can source the right ingredients and cook it in a way that aligns with our preferences, cultural identity and, with our physiology. Not only will we be eating better. We will also be healthier and happier as a result.

Observations


I started this blog post with the statement that a healthy and fulfilled life, with good friends, begins with making toast or frying an egg.

It doesn’t have to be toast or eggs. What it should be is a daily dedication to source ingredients and prepare meals to share with those we love. The result will be a lifelong learning experience as we learn not only how to prepare our food, but also how our food brings our friends and family together for healthier and more rewarding lives. It is what we’ve been doing for thousands of years. We should do it again. At our very foundation, it is who we are.

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


Camp Cooking

Thirsty

Pork Chop

Foodie Friends

Food Love and Dedication

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Two Cowboys are Pulling Some Pork with No Sleep at Porkapalooza in Edmonton, Alberta

Father's Day


You are a Dad. Where would you like to be on Father's Day?

There is a happy place for the Cowboys on any given day. It is right next to a cooking fire, with a cold beverage in hand, surrounded by our favourite people. It doesn't matter what day of the year it is, the weather, or what we are supposed to be cooking and eating. Simply, there is no fun in cooking or drinking alone. We treasure barbecuing, braai or merely preparing and sharing food. This ancient social ritual and tradition come naturally to us. 

When it is Father's Day, the one day we as fathers can choose what it is we want to do, then it is only logical for us to look for the biggest celebration we can find of our primal right of passageDuring 24 hours, we want to congregate with well-lubricated bacon and smoke-reeking fellow devotees around open fires, and our favourite cooking machines. These are folks, that know what it takes to patiently savour every moment tenderizing Pork Butts, melting Briskets and crisping Pork Ribs. 

It is a bonus if we can also have our families with us on the day. That is why we salute Alberta Pork and Porkapalooza's organizers for making our Father's Day an extra special day for us this year. We attended our first ever Porkapalooza, which included all the above, and we lived to tell the story.

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


Porkapalooza Ep1


Porkapalooza Ep2

DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Porkapalooza


The festival was a free two-day event that celebrated all things BBQ with one of Canada's largest KCBS sanctioned BBQ competitions. Porkapalooza is one of four Alberta Cup BBQ competitions taking place year.

Anyone was welcome to attend (even the Vegans), and it included plenty of activities for families and food lovers to enjoy. Guests were invited to check out guided tours of the competition area and cooking demonstrations from professional chefs. While the parents submerged themselves into the BBQ underworld, the kiddies were kept busy in a play area and a Kids’ Zone.

The competition featured over $15,000 in prize money with almost fifty teams vying for the prize money. It also included a chef’s challenge and special young chef event.

The festival is organized by the Porkapalooza BBQ Festival Society, a non-profit organization, with generous financial support from Alberta Pork and other amazing sponsors.

Observations


Everyone in Western Canada BBQ land has their own reasons why Porkapalooza is the highlight on their annual calendar. For many, it is a chance to learn, catch up with friends, hang out with mates, be serious about cooking, have fun, or compete to win. Vendors bring their latest BBQ gadgets to try, and producers showcase their meat, sauces and other ingredients. Teams compete to validate their skills, test their equipment, eat good food, and generally solicit favour with the KCBS gods.

We are glad that we had a chance to be part of Porkapalooza 2019. Even though we've been hanging around the Alberta smokers for a few years now, we could never fit this pinnacle event into the calendar. We are glad we finally did.

We are also glad we got to know more of, and about, the people passionate about BBQ. We are thankful for the new friendships and appreciate the support they've shown for the Cowboys. We feel like we succeeded in getting a seat at the smoker!

Enjoy the highlights of the event as we introduce you to a few of our new BBQ friends and catch up with others. Sincere thanks to Darcy and Porkapalooza that made it possible for us to be there. We look forward to seeing you all back in 2020. Who knows, maybe the Cowboys will compete and win a few prizes next year. Maybe we should also throw a hat in the ring...

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


Hot Hot Hot

Love Affair

Happy Man!

Wors Cowboy

Precision!

Two Cowboys Sinks a Put for the Canmore and Area Healthcare Foundation in Canmore, Alberta

More Than Expected


Communities are defined by how well its people take care of each other. However, we don't always appreciate or is aware of who these "caretakers" are that we rely on so leisurely. 

In our "modern world", we've become so far removed from the people that make our civilized lives possible that we no longer appreciate who they are, and what they do. How well do you know your neighbour? Do you know the name of the kid behind the coffee machine that served your Espresso this morning, or your fries for your poutine last night? Dare you ask and care about how your pharmacist's day is going?

Let's make it serious. Do you know who paid for the heart monitor used when your wife was at the hospital's emergency room? Who bought the chair in the waiting room you slept on outside the maternity ward while waiting for your son to be born? What is the name of the Doctor who treated your daughter when she fell off her bicycle, on her way back from school?



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Community for Community


We go through our days often unaware of the people behind the scenes that make a difference to our lives. Sages are touching us and shaping our every day, positively. We will never meet them.

It is easy to take the little things for granted. Marriages and friendships fall apart when we no longer pay attention to the value of what is often considered trivial. Relationships suffer when we stop saying "good morning" or forget to ask, "How was your day, my love?". In the same way, it is even easier to just assume that someone else is taking care of the big things. Our roads, water, hospitals, schools, sanitation and our safety. Isn't it is the Government's job? People are getting paid to do it. I pay taxes, that is why it is there. That is why I am entitled to it.

Herein lies the problem. Government, our taxes, and public servants don't always take care of things. It becomes quite evident when the system breaks down. The world is full of examples where bureaucracies misbehave, fall apart, or abuse their role with catastrophic consequences for the societies they are meant to serve.

In South Africa people in towns are no longer safe, no longer have clean drinking water or electricity. Municipalities no longer remove garbage and streets and sidewalks haven't been maintained in years. The "system" fell apart. Public servants became more interested in serving their own bank balances and exorbitant mortgages, than serving the people that are funding their purpose and existence.

With towns in peril, local community members came together to take care of each other. Neighbours are now patrolling streets and keeping each other safe. Areas are generating their own electricity and neighbours are collecting each other's garbage. People are taking care of each other. They know who is making their town livable and they take responsibility for each other.

Canmore Community


In Canada, we are fortunate to have public healthcare. There is a massive system of bureaucracy somewhere in Edmonton, Vancouver or Toronto, with Billions of Dollars responsible for being there when we get sick or have a health emergency. We assume that the Government fits the bill for our much needed and essential health services. We certainly pay a fair chunk of our income in taxes with the belief that our public servants have our best interest at heart and will be there when we need it most.

However, there are cases when our system fails us, and much-needed resources are prioritized elsewhere. This is when the luxury of leaving our salvation to someone else costs us personally and our community in much-needed services or resources. It simply leaves us with two tasks. To put pressure on the health care system to prioritize resources our way, and coming together as a community to take on the responsibility of taking care of each other.

The Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation is a community organization that is tasked with these two crucial asks for the people of Canmore, Alberta. Their mission as a community-initiated organization is to obtain and provide charitable financial resources for the continuing improvement of the health facilities and services of the Canmore General Hospital. They encourage philanthropy and guard these financial resources to benefit the community's health needs.  It is the people of Canmore taking care of each other where the public health services don't meet requirements or fall short.

Observations


Soulafa Al-Abbasi invited the Cowboys to be part of this year's Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation's annual charity golf fundraiser. The goal was to have fun, entice more charitable giving, and more importantly, to tell the story of the Foundation's existence and the vital work they do.

We were residents of Canmore for eleven years. All this time, we used the Canmore Hospital and its facilities not knowing about the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation. We've always assumed that thanks to generous public funding through our taxes, of Alberta Health Services, that Canmore has an excellent healthcare facility. Now we know that we also benefitted from the work of the Foundation. More importantly, we benefitted from the charitable contributions of our neighbours towards access to better healthcare.

Every resident of Canmore is likely to come in contact with the Canmore Hospital sometime during their lives. Here is the ask, when you know that the hospital is in your future. Don't you want to be sure that the Canmore Hospital will be ready and able to treat you, as you would like to be treated when you need it most?

If you do, then make the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation part of your charitable contribution. If it is not a monetary contribution, give your time. You will get back much more than you give thanks to your neighbour, who is also contributing for your collective benefit. This is the community looking after each other, in its purest and basic form.

We thank Soulafa and the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation for the opportunity to share this positive story. We thank them more for the heart monitor they bought for my wife to use when she was in the Hospital's Emergency Room on Friday, 20 July 2019.

It reminds me of a sign I once saw on the wall at one of our best clients. It said, "When you learn, teach. When you get, give." We implore you to give generously!

Hendrik
Canmore 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


Perfect Day

Sinking a Put

Canmore

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Good Food is Food You Cook Yourself - BBQ and Grilling is as Basic and Easy as it Comes in Alberta, Canada

What You Are Eating


"Fast food" is everywhere. It means, unfortunately, that bad food is too. 

Because it is easy to get cooked food fast, many people are forgetting how to prepare it themselves and are probably unaware of what they are really eating. I know this is a gross generalization. It may upset some people. These may be the very people that never paid attention to how grandma boiled potatoes or pulled a roast chicken from the oven. I bet they can't even fry an egg.

There is a whole generation of Millenials that think milk comes from a factory and burgers should be made in laboratories. Most of what they regularly consume comes from an oil fryer, and they have their local restaurants, and food establishments on speed-dial through technology like "Skip the Dishes" and "Uber-Eats". No wonder they gravitate towards veganism! They are unlikely to be eating enough good food.

Here is the revelation. Whatever you order from a restaurant is probably sub-standard. You can buy better at the supermarket, cook it yourself, and it will ultimately taste better, and perhaps be even cheaper. By cooking for yourself, you may learn something. You will definitely also make a few friends along the way when you also share your work with those around you. 

If you don't cook your own food, you are probably not eating well. Let's take a closer look at the economics of a food establishment in today's world.

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


Heritage Heat Ep1

Alberta BBQ Ep2


DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Buy vs. Cook


This is the scenario. It is a case that will probably be out of reach for most people. However, it will put in context what good restaurant food may look like. What will be a fair price at an upmarket downtown establishment, when we order a 450g rib steak, scalloped potatoes, another green vegetable and a salad?

Without the trimmings, side dishes and drinks, and excluding tip and tax, the steak alone will probably set you back around CAD$45 - CAD$50. How did they get to this price? Consider that you have the cost of the slab of beef, the skill of the chef/cook, some seasoning, the overhead of the facility and the margin built in as cost to the price of the meal?

According to "Forbes" magazine, the average gross profit margin for a fine-dining restaurant is around 60% with a food cost percentage between 38% to 42%. Because we are looking a premium piece of produce, there is a good chance that the portion of meat that is served in this scenario set the restaurant back around $21.

Remember that the meat is the star of the meal, and clearly, it is the most expensive part of what is served, so everything else should contribute to pay the rent and wages. The potatoes, vegetables, salad, wine, etc. must deliver substantially better margin than the 60% (charged over and above in this case).

Here is the surprise. The price the consumer is willing to pay ultimately determines the profit a restaurant can squeeze out of a meal. If you and I are eager to slap down $50 for a steak, then a good restaurant will creatively engineer their food and overhead costs to maximize the return from that $50 of wallet spend, without diminishing their brand or upsetting customers with a sub-par experience.

The question is, what can they get away with?

This is where creativity starts in the restaurant business. Either they have a heck of a deal to get prime produce really affordable (because they buy vast quantities, know the farmer, grow their own beef, blah, blah, blah, or let's just say it is where the cook/chef's talent come to shine. They likely take an average (or below-average) cut and dress it up to be served as a prime cut for a top dollar.

Now, think what you get served at a fast food restaurant. Where is the margin coming from in a $10 Happy Meal? Not so happy anymore, are we? No wonder, they try their best to obscure what you are really eating from the fryer.

You can cook for yourself. Visit the grocer or butcher and buy a prime piece of meat. Drop it on a hot grill for 4 minutes a side. Slap it with some garlic butter and a little S&P and another couple of minutes in the oven. See how that compares to your $50 barely adequate rip-off restaurant steak.

I cannot fathom why I would choose the restaurant's steak over my own unless I have money to burn or masochistically feel like tendering for a round of prime indigestion. The point is, you may ultimately spend the same money if you want to (if you pick the 90-day, dry-aged, prime cut that is actually the 90-day, dry-aged, prime cut). However, you will be eating better, because you know what you're cooking, and you have no incentive to cheat yourself out of a perfect meal.

Which brings us to barbeque and grilling.

Observations


We cannot wait for the BBQ season to start. Granted, we BBQ, grill and cook year-round. We are die-hard braai boere from South Africa. Before we came to Canada, we didn't know there was another way to prepare food!

The good thing about BBQ season is that there is a season for it. As with most things in Northern America, there is no half-measure. It is done with complete commitment, enthusiasm and dedication. Rain, snow or shine, the cookers will be running with brisket, pork, sausage, chicken and for the really adventurous they even do baked cheesecake, bread, and desserts, in what is really just a big woodfired oven.

The best part of the BBQ season is that you get to do something primal with good friends. You gather around a fire and prepare food as it was done for thousands of years. It is where every cooking adventure should start and where it ultimately provides one with better eating and a better quality of life.

If you cook your own food and do so with friends, you will be a better person. You will enjoy life more and likely to be happier and healthier. This is the Two Cowboys guarantee.

Come along. We'll show you how we do it.


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


Pork Chop

Steaks

Original

Beast

Salad!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Brewing Craft Beer in a Lucky Camper Van While on the Road with our Partners Black Rock Brewing and iKegger, New Zealand

It Should be Simple


We've set ourselves a challenge. Can the Two Cowboys brew craft quality beer while on the road in a campervan? We tried it out this summer in New Zealand with mixed results. We've learned a lot and saved ourselves quite a bit of money not having to buy beer in New Zealand.

We enlisted a group of beer friends to take the beer-show on the road. Brewers Coop provided us with our favourite Black Rock Concentrated Wort, Hops and the right Yeast for a juicy Riwaka IPA. iKegger New Zealand provided the gear to show how simple it is to pressure ferment and serve beer in simple kegs and we travelled with Lucky Camper Vans

We have three installments documenting our journey below.

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


Ep1


Ep2


Ep3

DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Some Background


Riwaka Hops (Riwaka™) is a real standout. It has powerful grapefruit “citrussy” characters that are literally breathtaking. If you want to say “New Zealand Hops” in your beer, then this variety says it all. The pure weight of the oil character experienced during selection carries right through to the glass. It is a punchy addition to the new world styles of Pales Ale and  New Zealand Pilseners.

We combined additional Riwaka Hops with Black Rock's specialty crafted Riwaka Pale Ale kit as if it didn't have enough of a hop kick already. Black Rock Crafted Riwaka Pale Ale is already dry-hopped with Riwaka hops. This kit is quite scarce to get because the hop is so in demand all over the world and it means if Black Rock can get their hands on it, then they brew a batch. Usually, all the kits are sold long before it comes out of the brewhouse.

We brewed the recipe with a specialty US ale yeast, Safale US-05. To get closer to the hazy ale style and a creamy finish with more volts, we also added a kit of unhopped concentrated Wheat Wort.

Our strategy was to use two Cornelius kegs with a spundling valve similar to our Beer Cowboys Brewing Kit bundle. Obviously, these are in Canada, so Andrew from iKegger stepped up with the gear, taps, connectors and whatever we needed to get on with the job. He runs a neat business that brings people closer to kegging and transporting their beer, which is in our opinion a much better strategy than bottle maturation. It also means you can drink your beer as soon as it is done fermenting. It stays carbonated.

We knew at the outset that temperature control was going to be a challenge. Lucky for us, it is summer in New Zealand with mild sunny days, and it turned out not to be too hard to get the beer fermented and carbonated under pressure. The fact that it was an Ale that wasn't too sensitive to hotter temperatures also helped to speed up the process. To do the cold-crash we had to borrow a fridge for a few days, which meant we could pay a visit to some good friends in Onemana with a promise of fresh cold beer at the end.

Observations


New Zealand is not just the land of milk, honey and sheep. It is also a hotbed for craft beer. We are amazed every time we visit just how passionate kiwis are about their beer and about making their own beer. We would be too if we were charged up to $25/litre for beer. Thanks to astronomical excise and overbearing duties Kiwis stepped up to liberate their beer by finding all kinds of ways of making it themselves.

We see the taxation burden grow in our country (Canada) too and we cannot be happier than to introduce our friends all over the world to making one's own beer. As we've discovered, making your own beer actually also means creating a better beer. We've had misfires. It doesn't always go to plan. Most of the time though it is pure deliciousness.

Thanks to our partners we can continue to push the boundaries of excellent beer brewing and our travel experiences along with it. We thank them for it.

Hendrik
Beer 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


Hop Shopping

Beer Machines 
Cowboy Growlers



Blankies!

Best Place to Bew!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Hacking All Grain Brewing with Kiwi Ingenuity and Simple Affordable Tools at Bevie in Auckland, New Zealand

Hacking Our Beer


How do you take the beer brewing process, and make it accessible to the average Joe? Simple, you hack it!

The processes for brewing quality beer have been refined over centuries and continues to evolve even today. From an outsider's perspective, it appears to be safeguarded by an eclectic club of weird scientists set on excluding ordinary folk from the inner circle. They mumble of gravity, sparging, yield, steeping and other incomprehensible nomenclature. They keep their brewing secrets close, their recipes even closer, and their influence as wide as it can go within their brewing circle of friends. 

While brewing good quality beer used to be a regular kitchen affair, a couple of hundred years ago, it slowly evolved into dark science, out of reach for ordinary people, like the Two Cowboys. Now, with the help of some simple equipment like a kettle, a pump, some tubes, and good ingredients like grains, yeast, hops and water, a company called Bevie, in New Zealand, managed to apply modern-day control-flow systems, and a mobile app, to unlock the highly complex all-grain brewing processes for ordinary people.

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



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


They call it the Grainfather. It takes the best brewing practices from craft breweries and puts them into a simple to use, all in one system, to ensure anyone can brew a professionally produced craft beer, no matter their brewing experience.

You can also turn the Grainfather into a microdistillery by changing the top parts and adding the Still Spirits Alembic Pot Still Attachments. It is highly illegal to distill liqueur without a license in Canada, while pot smoking is now allowed (...go figure!). We are just saying that you can make fuel for your car or truck from your Grainfather brewing activities if you should ever need it. If you store the fuel in an oak barrel lying around, to keep it safe, it is between you and the RCMP to work out who gets what share when they come knocking.

There are many all-grain brewing equipment manufacturers and lots of equipment for brewing beer on the market. If you buy quality, it is expensive. People are spoiled for choice if they know what they are doing. Herein lies the problem - you need to know what you are doing! Short of learning from an expert or enrolling in beer school, it takes time, trial and error, and lots of learning to work out the best way for brewing beer from grains.

The innovation of the Grainfather is that it is a highly affordable, all-in-one system, for producing an excellent quality wort that you can ferment in the ways you prefer. It also drastically reduces your learning time and eliminates many costly brewing mistakes.

The one-pot brew system may not even be the most innovative around because there's been many that copied the approach and tried to improve on it. Some may also claim that not even Grainfather can be credited for coming up with the approach, although Kiwi's have been known for their innovation in all kinds of industries.

What struck us about the Grainfather is the innovation that Bevie put into the control of the brewing process. The smarts are in the software, not the pot! It offers the ability to a brewer to dial in an exact recipe and then execute it flawlessly, with a built-in controller, and the help of a mobile app on their phone or iPad.

Good brewing's foundation is precision and repeatability. Couple this with good ingredients, great water, and perfect fermentation, and you are on your way to consistently delicious craft-style beer and the envy of the neighbourhood. Not only do you get to execute the brewing tasks flawlessly, but you can also collaborate with other users, all over the world, on recipes and outcomes so that you have a massive database of brewing information on hand for your perfect beer. It gives new meaning to brewing with your mates!

Apparently, Bevie also has an answer for fermenting and serving your beer and provides you with another shortcut by having portion perfect fresh ingredient packs ready for a variety of standard brews. That is a story for another time.  

Observations


The brewing process is getting hacked. People are now liberated to brew their own craft quality beer consistently from grains with simple equipment and software that not only dramatically reduces the learning curve but assist in controlling the quality of the execution.

I don't want my beer to be made for me. If I did, I will just go and buy it from the next brewery or liquor store. I want to make my own beer, simply, affordably, consistently, and deliciously from available ingredients. That is what true beer liberation is about.

There are no gimmicks with the Grainfather offering a "one-push button dark magic beer brewing box". It is old-fashion grain brewing done right. They should have called it the "BigBrother" of beer. The whole solution comes in under $1,000 with free support and an ever growing database of brewing/distilling knowledge and beer recipes. It allows you to make a batch of 23 litres of beer with the ingredients of your choice.

Herein lies the problem. We want to brew more during the few weekly hours we can dedicate to this delicious hobby. Apparently, Bevie is working on a system that can do three times the volume of the existing Grainfather, and it will likely still be an electric system you can use in your shed. Yeehaaa!

The Two Cowboys has been on a journey for the last three years to liberate our beer. Bevie is giving us another option with the Grainfather to get closer to drinking what we make ourselves. We cannot wait to tell you what more they have installed for average people like us, on our beer and do-it-yourself journey.

Hendrik
Brewing 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


Smart Pot! 

One Pot

Learning Fast!



Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Hot Chefs, Cool Beats, and a Good Cause with Alberta Pork in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Ode to The Chef


"My happiest place is when I am "in-the-moment". The world can go by when I am in the kitchen. Cooking makes me whole. It is my passion and purpose. It is what I am and what I do.

I am amazed by the chemistry and the intricate processes that take place when food ingredients are combined with energy. My knowledge and skill transform it into culinary perfection. I have no care in the world other than to watch steak grilling, sauce thickening, cake rising, and pork crackling transform into golden crispy bits of sunshine. 

My moments are complete when I witness precise olfactory, taste and visual symphonies of well-plated food. It becomes a magnum opus of culinary glee to see it, an experience that is only topped by the primal moans of pleasure coming from a loyal patron as they bite into a course I carefully prepared. 

This is what I am dedicating my life to. It is my vocation."

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



DO YOU WANT YOUR BUSINESS OR COMMUNITY FEATURED?


Hot Chefs Cool bEats


We recently attended the "Hot Chefs Cool bEats" event in Edmonton, courtesy of our partner Alberta Pork. It featured interactive food stations from Edmonton's top culinary talent. Attendees could also sample wine, beer, & spirits from Canadian wineries, local craft breweries and distilleries. If that wasn't enough, it included performances from DJs, dancers, street performers, and live musicians.

The initiative began in 2011 as a fundraiser for The High School Culinary Challenge's Canadian Culinary Fund, and after a short break, it was back with a new home at Edmonton's Mosaic Centre and a restricted guest list of 200 privileged patrons. It meant that not only was the food top-class, there was also enough so that you didn't go home hungry or thirsty. Most importantly, it introduced you to some of Edmonton's more innovative chefs and their talents. You could sample a variety of the best creations like litchi moose, mini ice cream cone tacos, pork on a bun, and more.

Some of the highlights for the Cowboys were the Pork Coppa and Prosciutto made by the young chefs Peter Keith (himself an alumni beneficiary of the scholarship) and Will Kotowicz of Meuwly's Charcuterie, Sausage and Preserves. They promised us it was only BertaPork! Then there was Scott Downey from the ButternutTree's deep-fried Canadian moss. If we knew that these vegetables were so delectable, we would forage our forests until they are empty! Apparently, the moss was from Back East.

However, the start performance of the evening was Paul Shufelt's (The Workshop Eatery, Edmonton) collaboration on a Wagyu Holstein Beefetta. It wasn't pork. However, it was BertaBeef, and so they were forgiven for rekindling our love for meat on a stick. You just needed a large stick for this one and a massive appetite! They did promise us a suckling pig for next year, to honour their loyal sponsor, Alberta Pork.

All proceeds from ticket sales and silent/live auctions benefitted the Canadian Culinary Fund and its main program, The High School Culinary Challenge, so it was all for a good cause.

Observations


Being a chef is not an easy job, and to venture into the culinary industry requires guts and you to be a little bit crazy. It is a lifestyle and a vocation that continues to draw attention for its opportunity, but also for the harshness, low wages, and extreme physical and mental demands on the individual.

Contrary to the glitz and glee of television programs like MasterChef, it is far from glamorous. Most of what chefs do is monotonously droned behind the scenes, in hot holes, spending long hours with equally weird and crazy people feeding the masses with basic fair. Only a few become "rock star chefs". Even less survive as small businesses and entrepreneurs.

However, the culinary industry provides endless opportunity for creativity, learning and mastery. These are the opportunities that the Canadian Culinary Fund attempts to unlock for young people when they introduce and lure them into the possibilities in preparing food.

We salute them for it and congratulate them on a Hot Chefs Cool bEats event that set the bar high. We look forward to the next one. We travel the world for food, and we are entitled to our opinions. Edmonton's chefs should get more attention. They surprised us. It will get more from the Two Cowboys for sure if this is the standard we can expect.

Now, if only there were more pork...

Hendrik
Alberta Pork's Cowboy

P.S. We thank our partner Alberta Pork for making this work possible. Now, go eat more pork!

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


On a Plate

Moss Discovered

Canadian Ceviche

Double Trouble

Epic!