Salty, cheesy, fatty – many of our favorite comfort foods contain these elements, fulfilling us in those moments we crave ultimate indulgence. Is there any wonder, then, that poutine — perhaps our favorite Canadian food export — is so incredibly popular?
A mix of crisp fries, savory gravy, and cheese curds, poutine is a simple dish. But there is genius in that simplicity. “Being Canadian, everyone knows poutine. If you went to a diner, a fast-food restaurant, or even a big-box retailers you can get poutine. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and KFC have poutine. Costco has poutine that you can have with their common hotdog. In Vancouver there are poutine restaurants just like you would find in almost every Canadian city,” says Brian Misko, also known as “BBQ Brian,” the pit master and chef for House of Q, in Langley, British Columbia. Misko’s first cookbook, Grilling with House of Q, was released in May 2015.
The art is the “sauce” or gravy, and even the ingredients along with your fries, says Misko. “The choice can be Montreal smoked meat poutine or chili poutine or poutine with coleslaw. There’s a restaurant with duck confit poutine right beside the braised beef short rib poutine!” says Misko.
As with most comfort foods, poutine exists at all ends of the food spectrum. “There’s comfort, there’s familiarity, there’s originality, there’s high-end, and there’s simply ‘I gotta eat right now and I don’t care what it is’ poutine,” says Misko.
Eat poutine. It will make you happy, guaranteed. Misko’s tip? “Make sure it’s real cheese curds in your poutine and not just shredded cheese. That’s the sign of a knockoff!” Misko says.
And if you want to shake things up a bit, try to bring your poutine to an even higher level with these five expert spins on the traditional favorite.