When it comes to serving up more delicious meals, the best place to start is to shop where the chefs do. Most of Ottawa's great restaurants have the freshest ingredients arriving daily on their doorsteps, and now home cooks can enjoy the same service thanks to Slipacoff's Premium Meats. As Ottawa's modern-day, full-service butchery, you can order from Slipacoff's online or by phone and have exceptional beef, chicken, pork and more delivered right to your door; you get all the quality of a traditional butcher, with the ultimate in convenience. With barbeque season in full swing, Ottawa At Home asked Ian and Amanda Slipacoff about making summertime cooking as easy and flavourful as possible.
DO YOU USE LOCAL SUPPLIERS? The concept of terroir is real when it comes to meat. Ontario lamb is among the best in the world, for example, so we do work with local farmers for that. And while there are some great local beef farmers in this area, the majority of the best beef in Canada comes from Alberta. Our goal is to consistently source out the freshest, most flavourful products possible.
AMANDA, WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS ON COOKING FOR A CROWD? I always like to make sure I am working with similar sized pieces of meat. With our steaks, chicken breasts, pork chops, burgers and other products, they are all sold by weight and individually cryovac packaged so you know you are getting consistent portions. This not only makes it easier to cook them, they also look nicer on the serving plates.
DO YOU GET MANY PEOPLE WHO LIKE TO STOCK UP FOR SUMMER ENTERTAINING? It's funny, we do have people who will order in a couple of dozen steaks, for example, knowing they can just freeze them and then cook a few at a time as needed. But because there's no minimum order, we also have a lot of customers who really enjoy working with fresh product so they prefer to just order once or twice and have it delivered in insulated packaging to their home or cottage at their convenience.
WE'RE HEARING MORE THESE DAYS ABOUT DRY-AGED BEEF - WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Just as with wine or cheese, dry-aging transforms and concentrates the flavour of beef, giving it an unusual, more intense taste that can't be replicated any other way. Most supermarket beef is wet-aged for seven to 14 days, whereas our dry-aged beef hangs in a temperature and humidity controlled environment for 60 to 70 days - allowing moisture to evaporate and enzymes to break down the connective tissue, making the meat more tender and giving it a deeper, richer flavour. Dry-aged beef is now a huge restaurant trend, so it's fun to be able to offer home cooks the same opportunity to work with these tastier cuts.
WHAT CAN YOU OFFER PEOPLE WHO ARE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING REALLY SPECIAL? Among our most popular, unique items are semi-boneless Cornish hens, Frenched pork chops, hamburger patties made from Japanese Wagyu beef, and 36-40 ounce dry-aged beef Tomahawk chops. You're guaranteed to get a wow reaction when you serve these exceptional products to your guests.