Three to eat: Meaty treats to beat the warmth at Style of Edmonton
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Taste of Edmonton’s paw-sized servings are really meant to be carried around, or eaten while standing, ideally with a tasty beverage and the right crosswind.
Patrons have to be able to navigate the crowds, eat, speak and carry a drink without making a canvas of themselves. It’s not a ribfest, where a mess is expected. Thus are the challenges laid out before the pit and grill masters of Sir Winston Churchill Square. Brisket may be a no-brainer, but it isn’t easy.
1. Brisket cheese sandwich, Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse, (4 tickets, Booth 16)
There’s only one question that has to be answered: can you fit this entire slider in your mouth at once, or is this handful of umami a two-banger? There’s actually no wrong answer, and it’s a nice choose-your-own-adventure moment I’m loathe to prescribe for you. The bun is a little chewy and the contents are more than a little juicy, so line up your wrist with your elbow and follow your heart right to the nearest AED.
2. Pork Sisig with white rice, Joanne’s BBQ Truck, 3 tickets, Truck C
One wonders about portions at such a shindig, and some dishes deliver more per ticket. The portion I received from Joanne’s for just three tickets is a definite steal. The sisig, loaded with sliced jalapenos, delivered on the heat I was so desiring when I walked on the grounds, and which I dearly missed on my visit to St. Louis below. And the rice was nice, but I can do rice at home. I would have gladly handed over four tickets for a dish with more, well, meat.
3. St. Louis pork ribs, Smokehouse BBQ (4 tickets, Booth 26)
This brings us back to the mess of the human hand food experience. The cook on these ribs is unassailable, make no mistake. The caramelization and eye candy is there, as is the texture and mouthfeel. These ribs are neat and nicely presented, tender and moist. And there’s more than enough pork here to make even the tightest ticket hoarder happy for handing over four of them. But St. Louis is said to consume more barbecue sauce per capita than any other city in the United States (by a factor of two if St. Louis Magazine is to be believed.) There has to be a reason for this. A neat handful of meat does make a modicum of sense at a festival like Taste of Edmonton, but if your ribs come without a wet nap, are you really in flavor country?