Recipe: Chef Brochu’s Porchetta with Black Pepper Relish


Chef Steve Brochu has shared his passion for Alberta Pork with us on several occasions, and at the Taste Alberta food stage at this year’s Porkapalooza BBQ Festival, he handed out tips on tricks on how to season and roll a slab of pork belly into beautiful porchetta. Chef Brochu sliced and served his porchetta on the food stage with a sweet and sour black pepper relish and locally baked fresh bread, but the base porchetta recipe can be topped with your favourite homemade jam, jelly, mustard or relish.

Chef Brochu, who recently opened MilkCrate coffee and sandwich shop in EPCOR tower, serves MilkCrates’s signature porchetta sandwich weekdays along with several rotating daily features. Pop in weekdays for a taste of the original:

10423 101 Street NW, EDMONTON AB
MONDAY – FRIDAY 6:30AM – 4:30 PM

What you’ll need…

Porchetta stuffing  / rub
Pork Belly – skin on 
3 tbsp thyme leaves
3 tbsp rosemary leaves
6 tbsp parsley, chopped roughly
1 cup sliced red onion
150ml Saskatoon berries, pureed
4 tbsp paprika
1/2 cup Chopped Garlic
Salt / Pepper


  1. Combine everything but salt and pepper in a bowl.
  2. Season the inside for the pork belly with Salt and Pepper. Spread the rub all over the inside of belly.
  3. Roll the belly tightly on itself , and using butchers twine, tie off the belly so it looks like a tightly wrapped log or sleeping bag.
  4. Place Porchetta in 250F oven for 8 hours or until the skin is golden and breaks apart easily.
  5. Slice and pile on top of a fresh crusty roll and accent with red pepper relish. Enjoy.


What you’ll need…

5 tsp canola oil
1/2 cup minced garlic
3/4 cup minced ginger
30 green onion
20 button mushrooms chopped
2 tbsp crushed black pepper
3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 cup  granulated sugar
1/3 cup lime juice fresh
1 cup Saskatoon berry
1 tbsp salt


  1. In a pan over medium-high heat, get oil hot but not smoking. Sauté garlic, ginger, onion until they are golden.
  2. Add pepper and mix until you can smell pepper.
  3. Pour in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 10 min or until it is thick enough to cover the back of a spoon.
  4. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a blender, and blend till smooth in texture. Once completely cool, store in a jar and refrigerate until use.

Recipe: One-pot white bean pork cassoulet

Many Alberta Pork producers across the province also grow pulses, which are high in protein and fibre and low in fat; growing pulses are profitable for our farmers and an essential element in a sustainable cropping system.

Alberta Pulse Growers represents 6,000 growers of field pea, dry bean, lentil, chickpea, faba bean and soybean in Alberta. In addition to being great for the soil and for our bodies, pulses pair deliciously with pork!  Over the past few years I have been trying to introduce more Canadian-grown pulses to my diet, but I often get stalled in the kitchen with pulses because of the need to soak dry pulses overnight.

Debra McLennan, food & nutrition coordinator with Alberta Pulse Growers, is a registered dietician who made my life a little easier recently. I asked if there was a nutritional difference between dry beans, lentils, chickpeas, and those that are in a can.

The major difference is the sodium in canned pulses. Canned pulses are convenient as they are pre-cooked and ready to use, but be sure to:

  • Always drain and rinse well before use.
  • Drain and rinse regular canned pulses to reduce the sodium content by 40% or try No Salt Added canned pulses.

With that knowledge, along with a cupboard packed with canned white beans and a fridge containing sausages (Fuge Meats Italian Fennel) and some Irvings Farm Fresh side pork I was able to create a one-pot cassoulet backed with Alberta Pork flavour and Alberta Pulse Producers fibre.

One-Pot White Bean Pork Cassoulet

What you’ll need…

500 g side pork or pork belly, cut into cubes
2 large pork sausages (e.g. Italian)
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans of white beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
1 can diced stewed tomatoes
1 cup soup stock (chicken, pork or vegetable)
1 cup white wine (or substitute with more broth if you prefer)
2 tbsp of mixed dried herbs (such as thyme, parsley, oregano, rosemary)
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs, divided


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large oven-proof pot or Dutch oven, brown sausages over medium heat for four to five minutes. Remove to a plate until cooled and cut into 1 cm slices.

Using the fat left in the pot from the sausages, add the side pork and onions and cook until the onions are translucent, approximately 5 – 7 minutes. Add the garlic and herbs; cook for 2 minutes more.

Add the tomatoes, beans, broth and wine. Bring to a simmer and add in one cup of bread crumbs and the sliced sausage. Stir to combine. Top with remaining 1/2 cup and transfer to preheated oven.

Cook for 1 – 1 1/2 hours and the bread crumbs have browned. Enjoy!

* Other combinations of canned pulses would also work with this dish, so get creative with any cans of Canadian beans, lentils or chickpeas you have in your cupboard.

4th Annual Porkapalooza BBQ Festival Heats up June 10 -11, 2017

Porkapalooza has found a new home; this year, Edmonton’s meatiest festival will take over Northlands June 10 – 11, 2017!

Danielle Dimovski of Diva Q

This event is a great opportunity to learn about BBQ culture. As an official Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned events, teams competing in the festival’s BBQ competition have a chance to win $16,000 in prizes as well as an entry to compete in Kansas City.

Food Demonstrations

Back for her 4th year at Porkapalooza, Diva Q will be on hand to share tips and tricks to cooking Alberta pork on the grill over at the SERVUS Credit Union Food Stage at 3 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

If you love food competitions, you won’t want to miss chef Paul Shufelt of Workshop Eatery and chef Andrew Cowan of Northern Chicken going head to head in a BBQ black box challenge. Check out this line up of great local chefs and butchers, and meat specialists on the food stage:

I’ll also be joining the food stage with The Spaniard to show how he makes paella on the grill. Each session will not only be tasty and informative, there is also a chance to win prizes from Taste Alberta, chefs products, restaurant gift cards, and even a paella pan courtesy of The Italian Centre.

Meat, Meat, and more Meat

Visitors will have a chance to taste some BBQ at the Porkapalooza Experience tent, as well as indulge at the incredible line up of food trucks and vendors.

While Porkapalooza is a food festival that explores the art and culture of BBQ, it is also supports some great charities in Edmonton. This year, Porkapalooza is working with three hard-working local charities: Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern Alberta, Youth Empowerment & Support Services (YESS), and AdaptAbilities.

Porkapalooza encompasses all the components of a festival: local food trucks, beer gardens, food demonstration stage, a Kids Zone playground and plenty of entertainment. Grab some friends, collect the family, and be sure to bring your appetite. For more information visit and follow @PorkapaloozaYEG on twitter for event updates. 

Smokin’ Q BBQ Competition – Lynnwood Ranch

This past weekend the hubby and I had the pleasure of attending a Smokin’ Q Barbecue Competition at Lynnwood Ranch – Aldersyde, Alberta.  A beautiful ranch style venue situated riverside just minutes south of Calgary.

This is their 2nd annual event (sat-sun) beginning with a ‘Feast and Frolic’ on Saturday evening where folks get to vote for their favourite competitor then devour a sensational southern style meal prepared at the ranch kitchen followed by dancing, live entertainment and a cash bar.


It wasn’t long after we arrived, the room was buzzing with chatter and I’m guessing there must have been at least 300 people in attendance to this sold out event.

At our table, we were greeted with a display of masterfully assembled appetizers by some very talented pit masters whom travelled from BC and all over Alberta and Saskatchewan to compete in the event. Voting for my favourite was not easy, each tasty bite offered a unique and distinct flavour. Admittedly, I quickly learned there are more levels to smoking than I’d experienced before.


The smell of smoke and bbq was everywhere and lucky for us, we were chosen first up for dinner! We filled our plates while chefs carved up some tender and juicy protein which consisted of tender AAA applewood smoked brisket along with our very own Alberta pork in the form of sweet and savoury baby back ribs (To which I happily helped myself to two!)


Sides were house made caesar salad, a delicious blend of roasted pepper medley baked beans, sweet grilled corn on the cob, perfectly roasted savoury carrots and green beans and country slaw. And I certainly will not forget their loaded mashed potatoes with double – smoked bacon!! Yum!



To tell you the truth, I didn’t even have dessert because there wasn’t all that much room left! BUT rumour has it, the warm apple crumble and ice-cream was pretty darn good!

Sunday was hopping when the family and I showed up early afternoon for the second event – ‘Smokin’ Q‘ Now it was competition time! Crews gave their samples of various categories to the judges while the public sampled some fresh, smoky pork, chicken and beef. Nothing beats a warm summer day with cold drinks, amazing food and the company of others. Just check out this view from the top of the hill…


There were other vendors, attractions and activities such as; hay rides, classic cars, drone demonstrations, 4H club and of course Lynnwood’s very own Ranch BBQ Food Truck serving up some of the best pulled pork around!

IMG_1860 IMG_1853 IMG_1850

Of course the day would not be complete without some recognition and prize money. The competition was fierce and I congratulate all the competitors in this event. A special shout out to Arrowhead North BBQ, as they were this years overall Grand Champion!


For the full list of competitors and their rankings in each category: Event Winners – Smokin Q

Despite a slight case of the meat sweats, I have to say, it was a smokin’ good time had by all. Thanks again to Gus and Wendy Leduc of Lynwood Ranch, I’ll definitely be back again next year!