Smoke in the North III

The Smoke in the North is a competition that has a special charm and which attracted our curiosity since its first edition. So participate in it was a particular satisfaction. The unique location, inside the Golf Club where Thomas and Jenny from Flaming Pig manage their Barbecue Restaurant, the unmistakable cool and clear context of the Scandinavian countries, the pride of being the first attending Italian team are all factors who have helped make this a unique experience.

Of course, this is a journey neither simple nor economic for people who come like us, from the opposite part of Europe but it was absolutely worth it. For the first time we did the so-called “Trolley Barbecue”, the plane ride, taking the bare essentials and then find what is missing on site, primarily the Smokers and the gazebo through purchases, rentals, or the help of the BBQ Family. In this sense we were more than pampered: with the help of the same Flaming Pig, the European All Star, our likeable friends and site neighbors, the Pure BBQ and the fraternal support of Scott and Lyndz of Miss Piggy ‘s BBQ, we were able to compete in conditions very similar to those that we would have as we move with our midst.

Another new feature (at least for us) was the Lucky Pot Dinner, traditional refreshments reserved by the organizer to the teams on Saturday night. For the first time it happened to attend a very clever formula as well as emotionally engaging: all the teams at a preset time bring their own favorite preparation to the outside patio of the restaurant and then you share everything together. Very beautiful. We have shared the preparation with our friend Petra: a giant sandwich containing strips of flat iron steak, caramelized onions and cheddar.
In this competition as it happened other times in the season, our barbecue was not happy with us fully. We therefore embrace very positively our eighth place overall but especially the third with Brisket by the good Fausto. The race ends with the deserved success of the extraordinary Bad Byron from and the RGC for Free Range.

We greet you with a list of ten things that we bring home from Gunnilse :

  1. We knew about a Nordic culture where the barbecue is more present but did not imagine so much: even the smallest supermarket has two meters of refrigerator dedicated to packed Ribs and Pulled Pork with freshly processed barbecue sauces. In the delicatessen department then you can find freshly-cooked ribs, ready to take away.
  2. Usually referring to a golf courses there is talk of “green carpet “. After having seen and touched it, we find the expression is very reductive: the level of compactness and uniformity of a Green is really hard to describe in words.
  3. Thomas and Jenny restaurant defines a format that in Italy does not exist: it is some way a bar , some way a living room, some way a restaurant, some way a bbq shop, some way a self service. It calls to mind with the proper proportions, the feeling of those London’s books stores in which you can read the books before buying them, comfortably seated in an armchair drinking a cappuccino
  4. The myth of the sun that never sets in the Scandinavian summer is a bit exaggerated. In fact it is a long and late sunset and sunrise rather early. For the rest of the night, it is not very different from ours, only much shorter and colder.
  5. Logistics distances make many Scandinavian teams not so present in the charts. But we saw very well-equipped teams, which make excellent barbecue and we think they deserve the best stages
  6. Many teams (including us) have requested logistical support to Thomas especially regarding the provision of smokers and he was able to satisfy everyone. It happened to see the same thing at other times but hardly with the variety of devices put on the field at Smoke in the North. Thomas has just about everything: cabinets, gravity, bullet smokers, pellet smokers, also with pieces of some value.
  7. The stay of Friday night before the competition, and of Sunday made us rediscover the hostel experience with a couple of decades of delay. We must say that the proverbial attractiveness of the local female population has made it more than bearable the experience of dormitories with shared shower. In their simplicity, the standard of cleanliness and organization is still amazing with input codes and electronically controlled rooms doors.
  8. If you go to Gothenburg you have to do the gastronomic experience of visiting a fish market. In addition to the classic fresh fish you will find on the shelves many variations of ready to eat meals, some really special as the fish cakes in different variants. Obviously you will find a great selection of smoked fish. We highly recommend to taste the morsels of smoked salmon in all its versions: champagne, chily, onion, pepper, served strictly in the streetfood husks.
  9. To thank Thomas and Jenny for their hospitality we thought to give them the excellence gastronomic products of the Italian tradition and we fell on a Reggiano 30 months old and a Ligurian extra virgin oil. We’ve purchased, shipped and stored them until our arrival on Saturday at the competition venue, only to discover with surprise that oil and Grana (as well as many other Italian products) can be found very easily in Sweden, even on selected labels with quite competitive prices paired to ours. Paradoxical in particular the grana that we brought: the exact same product was available at the neighborhood small supermarket at few euro more than we had paid it. What a poor figure for us!
  10. The Nordic approach to the nightlife is something that a southern European really finds hard to understand. After 8PM it is virtually impossible to find a restaurant with the kitchen still open. The restaurant keep on being open from then on and until late hours but just to serve drinks. It is not uncommon to see children under the age of 10 years, lively and cheerful walks with parents during times which for us would be inconceivable.

And even Sweden is successfully archived. At the next stop the competition journey will take no more than two hours from home. It’s the turn of the Brixia!

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