Get a ‘cue | Adamson Barbecue

Get a ‘cue

When John Lattuca opened his Montreal smokehouse last year he tried to be as literal as possible with the name. Some of Canada’s modern barbecue restaurants get cute with theirs – Calgary’s The Palomino, Barque in Toronto, Boneheads in Halifax – but he went with, simply, Lattuca Barbecue.

Yet customers still come in and expect him to cook them a hamburger. “We don’t grill. We barbecue,” Lattuca says, explaining that this is a uniquely Canadian mix-up. “There’s a problem with the definition of barbecue.”

In the United States, using a gas grill to cook burgers or steaks is called grilling, or “grilling out.” Southerners, especially, reserve the term “barbecuing” for the practice of cooking for a long time at a low temperature, using smoke from a wood fire.

Here in Canada, it’s the rare diner who knows to appreciate the differences between Lattuca’s Texas-style brisket (self-basted, salt-and-pepper crusted), North Carolina-style pulled pork (doused in vinegar-based barbecue sauce) and Kansas-style ribs (tomato- and molasses-based sauce). Canada is a country of grillers, confusing the smoky perfume, melting fat and gentle pull-apart tug of carefully barbecued meat with hot dogs and hamburgers thrown on the grill.

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