For the sake of a good steak
Nunavummiut take to the grills

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

Iqaluit ( May 29/00) - Freezing rain, high winds and the occasional spring blizzard all do their part to keep more delicate Nunavummiut indoors.

But for the North's hardier guys - like Iqaluit's David Wilman - it takes more than a little spring chill to keep him from donning his barbecue apron and grabbing his tongs.

"We were out before the end of April this year," said Wilman, who has been known to stick with his grill until November.

With a bevy of barbecue tricks up his well-seasoned sleeves, Wilman has a hard time deciding what his favourite outdoor dish is.

"I like steaks barbecued, chicken barbecued, char is great, shish kebabs. I do a great butterflied leg of lamb, anything," said Wilman, adding that a good glass of red wine, foil under the char and pre-cooking the chicken all go the distance when looking for tricks to improve the smoke-flavoured fare.

Wilman's barbecue buddy John Clay also likes to sample the pleasures of the grill.

"We just go for it. Sometimes three times a day we barbecue," said Clay.

Citing ribs and garlic sausage as his personal faves, Clay also threw something new and unusual into the fray.

"I like desserts," said Clay, "fresh fruit with marshmallows, sweet potatoes or yams we've done. We do anything and everything."

Except that is, straying from the modern convenience of the gas grill.

"Charcoal, who uses charcoal?" he asked.

Not Iglulik's Jacky Kublu, who, other than sampling a pig cooked over an open pit, has confined his barbecue experience to a Coleman stove while camping.

That's not to say that he doesn't have a few likes and dislikes under his chef's cap.

"Cooking inside is faster, but when you're out camping, cooking meat tastes good. Especially when it's fresh-killed caribou," said Kublu.

Ditto, said Myna Ishulutak. Raised in Qipisa, an outpost camp located outside of Pangnirtung, Ishulutak hasn't really had the opportunity to become a grill fiend.

"I never really got used to it," said Ishulutak, who has gotten used to caribou fried in oil and onion on, you guessed it, the Coleman stove.

"I never grew up with barbecues. I grew up on the land."

Make no mistake though. The summer employee of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. has a ready answer to the question of whether or not she'd attend a cookout if invited.

"Oh yeah."