Restaurant media events are usually planned to advertise something new or celebrate a mile marker. Thus, it is very rare that we are invited to an event which is created for the sole purpose of bringing together friends and family. So, when we were invited to the Nguyen family and friend BBQ at their amazing smokehouse restaurant le bOucan, we were incredibly honoured and excited. As we have previously reported, le bOucan’s food showcases that smoking meat is an art form. On that small backyard terrace, we were treated to Jonathan Nguyen’s masterpieces. But even more importantly, we were welcomed, as though family, into one of the nicest and most generous groups of people.
Talking to Chef and co-owner Jonathan Nguyen was like talking with any other friend. He told us about his hopes for new and interesting projects for le bOucan and beyond, such as a potential brunch. Just imagining the possibilities this smoke master might create for breakfast has our mouths watering. Anyone could tell that he was proud of his creation and put a lot of emphasis on the fact that le bOucan has worked very hard on consistency. They make sure that each and every plate of pulled pork, ribs, or chicken is equally delicious. Instead of staying static in their techniques, they refined procedures so that every person that eats at le bOucan is satisfied. And who wouldn’t be with all that delicious food?
On this particular night, Chef Nguyen invited his friend Matt Jones who happens to be the bourbon ambassador for products like Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek and Basil Haden’s. He was generous enough to share with the twenty or so people present a bourbon tasting accompanying each of the bourbon inspired dishes that Chef Nguyen planned out. Like an uncle with a history degree, Matt delved deeply into the past of each product as everyone listened and enjoyed the warmth of overhead heaters. The beer and spirits flowed and so did the conversation. Sarah Nguyen, sister to the Chef and restaurant coordinator, pointed out how proud she was of her brother, who started out competing and dominating BBQ competitions until he was convinced to share his craft with the masses in the form of bOucan.
Of course, beyond the heartwarming family that hosted us, we also had one of the best meals in recent memory, topped with hands-down the best hot dog ever. Upon arrival we were treated to cold beer and decadent pulled pork nachos. We have already mentioned that le bOucan has one of the best pulled pork in the city and we stand by that statement. Next, Jonathan Nguyen, on his Green Egg BBQ, created the most ludicrous combination of all things unhealthy and delicious. First, start with a big beef hot-dog wrapped in bacon and then smoked. Then, grill it on the BBQ and top it with a spicy tomato salsa and crumpled jalapeño chips. Finally, add a white barbecue sauce highlighting a deep bourbon flavor. If that does not make your mouth water and your stomach growl, what about a bourbon infused peach and jalapeño macaroni salad? His family assures us that such creations are common and with the thorough flavour overload, it seems probable. He also made an incredible bourbon infused pork burger topped with a shrimp chutney and the works to go with the mint julips that Matt Jones prepared for us. Suffice it to say, when we crawled away from le bOucan’s backyard terrace, we quickly fell into a beautiful food coma.
The family feel to the event is exactly what the restaurant delivers on. Well, that and incredible food. On the summer days forthcoming, you will definitely be able to find us out on le bOucan Smokehouse’s tree-shaded terrace enjoying an ice-cold beer and delicious food with our new friends.