Winter BBQ An ice cold adventure
What do you do when you get the opportunity to make a Winter BBQ book? Right, you hit the snow! For the fourth BBQ book in the popular Smokey Goodness series Fiery Chief Jord Althuizen and his smokey wingman Rokus de Jong travelled to Finland where they had the BBQ adventure of a lifetime. Join them on their quest to find ice cold BBQ inspiration and the coolest BBQ settings for making their book.
You are going for a BBQ trip, so what do you pack? Fat chance that thermo underwear, arctic style coats and snowboard boots are on your list. But when your destination is the ideal Winter BBQ setting, you better dress warm. To ensure that each and every page would feel like you are holding a pack of frozen ribs most of the shooting for the Winter BBQ book took place in Ruka Kuusamo, Finland. An ideal setting close to the arctic circle full of unique landscapes and ice cold adventures. So out with the swimming trunks and in with the extra thick socks, and off we went.
Winter BBQ Paradise
We had chosen Ruka Kuusamo for various reasons. It was certain it would be snow loaded around the time we could be there; the nature is of unseen beauty and this region had a secret ingredient in the form of Matti Hurtia. A local chef who knows his way around the local outdoor kitchen. Because despite the fact that temperatures here in the winter go as low as -20 °F (-30 °C) adventurous chefs such as Matti can be found cooking outdoor year-round to roast there local and sometimes unique ingredients.
“adventurous chefs such as Matti can be found cooking outdoor year-round”
Matti showed us around various outdoor cooking places, taught us many preparations of reindeer and showed us the traditional Finnish way of cooking salmon alongside a warming campfire. He introduced us to local berries, sweet water fish and even fixed us up with a big brown bear steak that made it into the book as a recipe.
We went to this ultimate Winter BBQ wonderland to capture the food for the recipes in the book in full winter glory. Seems like a great idea, right? Lovely winter landscape, cooking in nature and making picture perfect recipe photo’s that just breath winter BBQ. But let me tell you, this lovely idea certainly had some interesting challenges for us. First of all, getting your food, cooking equipment and photography gear to the spot where you want to shoot isn’t always easy. Having to load everything on a sled, pulling it through the knee-high snow whilst getting lost in the white forest is the first hurdle you have to overcome. Second challenge arose short after we started cooking when the snow underneath our smoker started to melt. This resulted in the smoker sliding of the hill straight into that picturesque river that served as a great backdrop. Having fished the smoker out of the water and recooked the food another challenge came to light. At minus 20 food freezes in front of your camera lens whilst cooking and making the recipe photos. Despite the extra challenges we loved working in this amazing environment and the result in the book shows it.