Chef's Choice: Summer barbecues at Portobello 

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - SUMMER SIZZLE The barbecue is grilling up a summer dinner menu @ The Fairmont's Portobello Market
  • Photo submitted
  • SUMMER SIZZLE The barbecue is grilling up a summer dinner menu @ The Fairmont's Portobello Market

Sometimes when private functions are held at the Fairmont, the enticing aromas of barbecue or other succulent dinners begin to draw a crowd.

"We've found that in the past when we've done private functions and barbecues we have so much interest with people stopping by and saying, 'oh, where can I get this?'" says Fraser Carey, manager of the Fairmont's Portobello Market and Fresh Bakery.

"So we ran with it for the summer."

Beginning July 1, Portobello — which traditionally sticks to made-to-order sandwiches and coffee — is offering a summer dinner menu for the first time.

"We're basically playing on peoples' senses in the upper village," Carey said.

"Nobody can resist the smell of a barbecue right? So it's going to draw a lot of people out."

Portobello's new dinner offerings are designed around the sights and smells of summer — sizzling barbecue, bright, tantalizing vegetables and freshly prepared salads.

"This menu is designed around the senses," Carey says. "You smell it, you want it."

In terms of putting the summer menu together, Fairmont executive chef Kreg Graham said the idea was to keep it simple.

"We try to keep it fairly simple and very fresh and summery," Graham says.

Before you get to the main event, you can warm up with one of Portobello's summer salads — apricot and arugula or chickpea and cauliflower.

"And then we've got a really, really nice refreshing watermelon salad that goes with tomato and feta cheese and some watercress," Graham adds.

But of course, it's the meat on the grill that got you in the door.

"I think it's the smell. It's unmistakable," Graham says, of the enduring appeal of barbecue.

"You know exactly what it is when you smell it, and it's very familiar to people. Throw some steak or some chicken on there and their mouths start watering."

Summer diners at Portobello can expect mouth-watering samples of chicken, pork and beef — whatever their stomach's desire once they enter the door.

"The service is very similar to what we normally do," Graham says. "So you walk in, you see the food right in front of you, you order from the chef. Then it's very quick service. The food is ready to go, it's fresh off the grill."

Barbecue offerings include a choice of two different skewers — wild pacific salmon or hanger steak served with an assortment of vegetables — as well as ribs or a half chicken.

"And then after that we have a big barbecue pork shoulder. It's a whole pork shoulder that we slow cook," Graham says.

"We brine it overnight and then we marinade it and then slow cook it in the smoker for a good three hours, and it's almost falling apart. Super juicy and tender, and that's fresh every day."

All entrees come with your choice of salad, as well as some grilled corn and a baked potato.

True to the casual, carefree vibe of summer, the Portobello summer menu is also keeping things family friendly.

"We've got a kids menu as well," Graham says.

"We've got macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, pizza and a quarter chicken as well for the kids.

"The price point is definitely more affordable and family friendly. It's simple service, sit down and have a quick bite."

Prices for the Portobello summer dinner menu range from $17.95 to $25.95.

Check them out in the upper village, or try your hand at Chef Kreg's pork shoulder using the recipe on the next page.

For more on Portobello check out

Barbecue Pork Shoulder

Yield: 12 portions


6 lbs pork shoulder (Boston Butt)

3L water

1 cup kosher salt

1 cup brown sugar

3 bay leaves

2 sprig thyme

1 tbsp onion powder

Dry Rub

1 cup brown sugar

3 tbsp kosher salt

1 tbsp ancho chili powder

1 tbsp Spanish paprika

1 tsp toasted ground cumin

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp garlic powder

Dry Rub

1 large chopped Spanish onion

1 head crushed garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

1⁄2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup ketchup

1⁄2 cup cider vinegar

2 tbsp lime juice

1 fresh red chili chopped


1. Combine the ingredients for the brine and let sit refrigerated overnight.

2. Remove the pork shoulder from the brine and pat dry, then rub with the dry rub ingredients and let sit refrigerated for another three hours

3. Meanwhile, over medium heat in a sauce pot, combine the olive oil, onion and garlic sautéing until tender.

4. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until a saucing consistency is attained.

5. If cooking on a gas bbq, turn on one side of the grill as low as possible and place your choice of wood chips which have been soaked overnight in water, in a tin foil pouch over the hot grill.

6. Place the pork shoulder on the cool side, close the lid and smoke at 275-300 degrees F for three hours.

7. Let the pork shoulder sit for 20 minutes to rest before slicing.


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