Even more choices for BBQ lovers

Although he immersed himself in the world of barbecue nearly 15 years ago, Pier-Luc Trudel has seen interest in this culinary art grow in only eight years in Quebec.

The person who manages the Théo BBQ restaurant and shop in Berthier-sur-Mer remembers that there were only propane barbecues on the market at the time. Some hardware stores kept coal-fired appliances in stock.

“But it stopped there,” he lets fall.

The picture is completely different now.

Electric smoker, plancha, pellet barbecue or even pizza oven: hardware stores and specialized stores have a wide range of products. And each device has its specialties.

“[Les amateurs] are able to find what they need, what they want, what they are looking for in terms of taste,” rejoices Mr. Trudel.

Several invested, during the pandemic, to set up an outdoor kitchen, he observed. Those who have immersed themselves in this hobby like him can have around fifteen different units.

“Apart from the barbecue that hung out a bit on the balcony and the patio set with little pink flamingos, everything was pretty good. But today, we are talking about people who invest $80,000 to $100,000.”

>>>The popularity of planchas continues this summer, say barbecue enthusiasts who spoke with The sun. (Caroline Grégoire/The Sun)>>>

Although increasingly technological models are coming onto the market and generating interest, including the Regal iQue series from Broil King, some classics remain. The Original Kettle from Weber is among the products that have stood the test of time.

A little “revolution”

According to Pier-Luc Trudel, we owe this little “revolution” in the industry to the Lavoie brothers, the faces behind BBQ Québec.

In interview with The sunMaxime Lavoie says he can count on the fingers of one hand the number of smokers he sold in the early days of his business in 2014.

“I wanted to get lots of marks. But, in the end, the business couldn’t afford it, because she was just starting out. So, we just kept what we really sold,” he says.

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An entire economy has been built around cooking appliances, whether accessories, sauces and specialized magazines. (Caroline Grégoire/The Sun)

After 10 years of hypergrowth, BBQ Québec had no choice but to slow down last December. Since then, the company has been under the protection of its creditors. Three out of four branches are still open, including the one in Quebec.

In the last decade, however, Mr. Lavoie has put his two cents in to increase the number of amateurs by participating in festivals and seeking to democratize the different cooking methods through offering courses.

“It’s easy to understand: people want to be outside and feel like they’re serving more than one person at a time,” underlines the man who believes in the unifying nature of barbecues.

“It’s much more than a way of cooking. Barbecue is a way of life.”

— Maxime Lavoie, co-founder of BBQ Québec

Groups on Facebook, which have up to 70,000 subscribers, have been formed to exchange tips, share product discoveries or request recipes.

Once word got around, Théo BBQ saw it, for his part, in the days that followed.

“When someone gives a new cue, it’s going downhill. It’s not uncommon for the phone to ring on Monday morning. Everyone wants to have this kind of spice, because they heard about it in groups on Facebook,” admits the manager of the establishment.

Inspirations from everywhere

Often, trends originate in Montreal. They will only reach the greater Quebec region a few years later, notes Pier-Luc Trudel.

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If it was just a food truck located at the Berthier-sur-Mer river park, Théo BBQ now sells its own spices, cuts of meat and barbecue accessories. (Theo BBQ)

“Montreal is the precursor, with communities from Brazil and Argentina. During festivals, people discover new cuts of meat,” he says, giving the example of the cut of Picanha beef of Brazilian origin.

“With the saltiness of restaurants, people have become chefs by developing their own BBQ experience at home.”

— Pier-Luc Trudel, manager of Théo BBQ

While the basis of culinary culture in Quebec is very “Americanized,” Mr. Trudel points out that it is enriched by influences from the four corners of the world.

“A barbecue becomes an oven depending on how you work with it. The recipes are unlimited. There is no end to this,” he whispers, listing the gazpacho, halloumi cheese and fruit clafoutis he prepares on the grill.

You have questions or suggestions for the Consumption section of Sun? Write to us now at [email protected].

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