Get to know Steve Cylka, and his love for food smoking!

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Posted on: February 21st, 2014 by BradleySmoker



Can you tell us something about yourself/family/living situation?
I was a pastor for 15 years and a couple years ago we decided to make a change. My wife went back to teaching and I started the food blog and recipe development full time. We live in Toronto and have 3 kids. Our lives are filled with hockey, football, dance classes, piano and drum lessons. In between those, we strive to sit around the table for some meaningful family time while we eat some tasty food, that was probably smoked!

What is your most embarrassing food/cook story?
Wow – I have a few! There was one time that we had a bunch of people over for dinner and I was grilling some ribs (before I owned a Bradley!). I set them up on the side of the grill for indirect grilling, or so I thought I had. When I went back, the ribs were completely charred and totally inedible. The meal quickly turned into a vegetarian dinner.

So you have this great blog, can you tell us how and why you started this?
I have loved to cook for years and I always enjoy creating new recipes. There were friends and family members who asked for my recipes, so I decided to start a blog and post up the recipes. It was just a hobby back then and the photos of the food were atrocious. HAHA. But, over time, I fell in love with blogging about food and sharing my creations with the readers. It has been great to see it develop and the readership grow and I love developing partnerships with companies like Bradley Smokers.

What is your goal for this blog? What do you want to accomplish with it?
I remembered when I first got into smoking, I spent a lot of time looking all over the web for tips, spice rub and marinade recipes, smoking temperatures, times and more. There is a lot of information out there and sometimes it can even seem overwhelming for people new to smoking. I want this blog to be a resource centre providing lots of information for the new smoker. Along with that, there are many veteran smokers out there who have lots of experience and I hope that this blog is relevant for them as well. Modernist cooking is changing the way we prepare food and even smoking is evolving. I want to explore how we can integrate smoking into foods that we might not traditionally think to smoke. It should be fun!

Where/how did your passion for food originated?
When I was young, my family went on vacation to New Orleans and Biloxi. On that trip I had so many new food experiences, things like oysters, crawfish, gumbo, jambalaya and other Cajun/Creole dishes. I remember once we were home, there were times that my dad would be in the kitchen, cooking some of those dishes I ate on the trip. I never cared much before, but after our vacation, I found myself looking over his shoulder more frequently learning how to make some of those memorable dishes.

What do you like about food smoking?
I think that it is the combination of the flavours and the tenderness of the meat. Smoking imparts a wonderful flavour into the meat that is complemented with spice rubs and various bbq sauces. Along with the flavour, smoking is often done at low temperatures and over a long period of time, which results in tender, fall off the bone meat. I also love how smoke can add a new flavour profile to a dish. I remember the first time I smoked some tomatoes to make creamy tomato soup – the smoke flavour totally transformed that soup. It was so delicious!

What is your favorite thing to smoke?
Pork! That is probably broader than you were asking, but it is hard for me to narrow it down more than that. I love to smoke pretty much anything pork including ribs, pork butt (pulled pork – oh yeah!), tenderloin and even ground pork for some tasty smoked fatties. A close second is salmon. Jalapeno poppers are great as well. Oh, yeah, chicken wings too. Okay, I think I should stop now.

Why do you like Bradley Smokers?
I love the Bradley Smoker for their ease of use. They truly have a ‘set it and forget it’ functionality which is outstanding for low and slow cooking. I smoke lots of pork butts and brisket that require hours and hours of smoking. It is amazing that, with the Bradley, I can set the temperature, fill the smoker tower with lots of wood bisquettes and they advance automatically. I do this all the time for long overnight smoking. I can go to sleep with total assurance that the Bradley Smoker is working away, keeping the temperature steady and smoke flowing. On top of the ease of use, I am really impressed that the Bradley Smoker is able to produce consistently great results each time from everything including meat, fish, cheese, nuts and more!

What message do you want to get across to all those food smoke fanatics out there?
Keep smoking! Smoking is continuing to grow all over the world and units like Bradley Smokers make it more accessible than ever!

Visit my website : www.theblackpeppercorn.com