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Side Dishes: Barbecue teams and invasivores

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John Delpha, chef at the Belted Cow in Essex Junction and barbecue master, leads a double life as member of the barbecue team IQUE. He and his pitmaster, Chris Hart, will appear on at least one episode of the Food Network’s “Best in Smoke,” a series premiering May 8 that pits barbecue teams from around the country against one another.

Delpha appears in an episode filmed last August at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, which overlooks New York Harbor and Manhattan. While the chef can’t reveal if his team moved forward on the first day, he has this to say about barbecue cooking in the dog days of summerin New York: “It was definitely challenging. If you’re not getting heat stroke, you’re getting rained on. But it was awesome.”

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How do you combine local food-sourcing ideals with a concern about botanical intruders on Vermont’s terroir? By becoming an “invasivore.”

That’s the premise of an unusual cooking demo from chef Cathy Aikman. Invasive plants such as garlic mustard are edible but unwelcome in Vermont. On Saturday, April 30, volunteers will converge to pull the plant from the shores of the Winooski River in Richmond. Afterward, at 4:30 p.m., Aikman will transform the plants into pesto (to be served over pasta) as part of an invasivore cooking demonstration at the Richmond Congregational Church. To take part or find out more, visit signupgenius.com/go/garlic.

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