Epicurious 

Gather ’round the campfire

Consider this "Fire up the barbie, round II." I wasn't quite done with the subject last week. See, while longtime locals have probably already experienced Whistler Blackcomb's Mountaintop BBQ and the annual BBQ Championships, I bet they haven't tried out the new BBQ joint down in Squamish.

The Campfire Grill is tucked away behind Brennan Park Rec Centre, located on the Eagle Vista RV Resort and Campground (it's so tucked away that I didn't find it on my first trip.) I'm a bit surprised that it's taken me so long to discover this little gem, which opened over the May long weekend, as I've been spending a lot of time on the ball fields this spring. (Go Hammers!)

Their location is actually pretty perfect for a BBQ joint: they've got instant business from the RV park and can recruit all the hungry athletes from the neighbouring fields during the spring and summer months. They prepare food in a big, modern, shiny trailer and people can choose from take out, delivery or "hang out." Since it was the first day of real summer weather we'd had in a while, and their dining space is pretty cool - with a fire pit and benches, picnic tables and enclosed gazebo - we decided to hang out.

According to their website, The Campfire Grill prepares all of their food (even the desserts) on wood pellet barbecues, which is a "more natural, healthier way of cooking." They make all of their sauces, rubs and side dishes from scratch and smoke, grill and bake the signature menu selections - pork ribs, BBQ chicken, pulled pork and slow roasted beef - to capture the real flavour of an open fire. Mmmm... sounds like perfect summer food!

After staring at the menu for what seemed like an eternity I finally settled on the Smokin' Threesome ($10.95), a selection of three mini sandwiches topped with pork, BBQ chicken and roast beef and coleslaw, served with a choice of "fixin's": BBQ baked beans, creamy coleslaw, salad, BBQ potato salad, wheat berry Waldorf salad, seasonal BBQ veggies and smoked macaroni & cheese. After a few more moments of deliberation, I select the macaroni and cheese. We also ordered a half rack of ribs ($13.95) prepared with their Bourbon BBQ sauce, which comes with two sides (we chose the baked beans and potato salad) and a "stuffin' muffin."

All of the meat - pulled pork, chicken, roast beef and ribs - is tender, juicy and flavourful, not drowned in over-sweetened sauces or seasonings; you could actually taste the meat. But their selection of sauces - Chipotle, apricot, bourbon and honey mustard - all sound so good that next time I would be tempted to ask for a little side dish for dipping.

The BBQ baked beans were delicious and the macaroni and cheese, a traditional Southern barbecue staple, has been given an interesting, subtly smoky flavour, though it's a slightly off-putting pale shade of yellow. The BBQ potato salad tasted a bit strange, but I think it was just because the potatoes are roasted, not boiled, which is what I'm used to. After a few bites, Campfire's version was starting to grow on me.

Campfire Grill is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (they even do a "Campfire-style" breakfast on the weekend mornings.

I'm certain I'll be making a trip back at some point this summer, and next time we'll have to order one of their four Campfire Feasts, and try to leave room for dessert. I've never had a dessert baked on the barbecue!

An extra scoop

Organizers have upped the ante on this year's Slow Food Cycle, which is set to take place on Sunday, Aug. 15 at Pioneer Park in downtown Pemberton.

They've decided to host a dinner the evening before the free cycle, with dishes prepared by Araxi's James Walt and Grant Cousar of Whistler Cooks. Much in the same way that the Slow Food Cycle is designed to bring consumers together with producers, the new Farm to Fork Dinner will be an intimate event hosted on a second-generation family seed potato farm 35 kilometres up Pemberton Meadows Road. There, in a timber-frame open-air gazebo, 80 guests can dig into a four-course feast prepared by two passionate ambassadors for Pemberton's produce.

The Farm to Fork Dinner will be held on Saturday, Aug. 14. Tickets are $125 through the Pemberton Chamber of Commerce. For more information or to reserve a spot at the dinner, contact info@pembertonchamber.com.

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