Rob Siewert’s Olympic training regime is…unorthodox. While most Olympians are up at dawn to run, stretch, lift and leap, Siewert is relaxing in his backyard, smoking. Not cigarettes, mind you. You see, the Olympics Siewert is training for are the Alpine Sausage Meat Olympics and his gold-medal performance this past August was a smoked Asian miso bacon.
#AlpineSausageMeatOlympics is a monthly amateur meat smoking competition hosted by Alpine Sausage, a family-owned and operated butcher shop in the SW Calgary community of Glamorgan.
“We came out strong with bacon as the first submission,” says Janeen Norman, of Alpine Sausage. “And the creativity in that one was just mind-blowing.”
The ball just went out of the freaking park. I double smoked it and it was just the thing.
Starting in August with 30 amateur competitors, and more joining each day, contestants are refining smoking recipes to create the ultimate smoked meat, and win the monthly competition. The contest will run until June 2021, after which Alpine Sausage will select contestants to join its sponsored competitive smoking team.
“I used to be a chef years ago, and there’s still a twinkling of that in the back of my brain,” Siewert explains. After experimenting with flavour combinations, Siewert took first place with his submission of Asian Miso Bacon.
“I did a five-spice, a chai, a roasted garlic chilli and then I had this brain (wave) about this miso thing. And the ball just went out of the freaking park. I double smoked it and it was just the thing.”
Dan Domanko, a chemist in oil and gas, won second prize for his Creole bacon made with his own spice mix. Domanko started a line of spice rubs specific for smoking and after tasting his Creole rub, Alpine Sausage is now carrying his line of rubs.
“I’m a chemist by trade but also by foodie,” Domanko said.
The competition encourages new smokers to challenge themselves and their creativity while also building community.
“This is an opportunity to work with some pros to help you refine your craft,” Norman explained. “And let you play with your food, and go beyond what you thought you were able to do with smoked meats before.”
The competition encourages new smokers to challenge themselves and their creativity while also building community. September’s’s third-place winner for Montreal smoked meat was Jon Carston.
“I was born on John Baptist Day and over in Montreal that’s when they do a huge celebration with Montreal smoked meat,” Carston said. “I made a honey and cinnamon smoked meat. It balances a big salt bomb and eases it off with the honey and cinnamon to make it a bit sweeter.”
The other goal of the contest for Alpine Sausage is to select a competitive meat smoking team. This team would enter meat-smoking competitions on behalf of Alpine Sausage.
Each month people are hearing more about it and getting excited. I always call it the ‘call of the meat.
“We are hoping to wrap up who will be on our team in June and everyone gets graded,” Norman said. “It gives (the amateur smokers) the opportunity to stretch their legs and see whom we would like on our team.”
The #AlpineSausageMeatOlympics has challenged contestants with bacon, Montreal smoked meat, and for the month of October they’re tackling smoked pork hocks.
“Each month people are hearing more about it and getting excited. I always call it the ‘call of the meat.’
“Especially when smoking meat, typically, people are doing it their backyards and the flavour and scent of it carries across your neighbourhood.
“It’s like watching gophers pop up their heads over the fence. All over people are trying to source where the delicious aroma is coming from.”
If you’re interested in joining the Alpine Sausage Meat Olympics, call the store at (403) 242-4884 to enter. Alpine Sausage provides the submission cut of meat for contestants; practice cuts are available at a discounted price. Submissions are due the last Sunday of the month by 3:00 PM.