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Pork Ninjas Jason Rees Brings Award-Winning BBQ to Wenona Craft Beer Lodge

This is the media release we sent out last week.

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Pork Ninjas Jason Rees Brings Award-Winning BBQ to Wenona Craft Beer Lodge

November 17, 2015 – Wenona Lodge is pleased to welcome Pitmaster Jason Rees to its kitchen. Rees has rolled out a new menu featuring his signature Farm-to-Table BBQ, as “Kitchen By Pork Ninjas”.

Rees’ fusion of Kansas City, Carolina and “Competition Style” BBQ has earned him wins at the New England Barbeque Society and the Kansas City Barbeque Society, where he sits as a member and judge. He brings over ten years of experience and success in a number of arenas, including catering, pop-up dinners, and most recently, a ten-month stretch running the kitchen at Baju BBQ. During that time, Now Magazine declared that Rees might “put Toronto on the International barbecue map.”

“We’re elated to have Jason join our team at Wenona Lodge. He is widely regarded as one of Toronto’s top BBQ chefs, his passion and creativity in the kitchen will have Wenona in the conversation for top BBQ restaurant in the city”, raves Wenona Lodge’s Phil Cacace.

Rees and his dedication to ethically-raised meats and seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers will be at home with Wenona Lodge’s craft-focused, neighbourhood vibe.

“I feed my customers the same food I would feed my friends and family, and happy animals taste better,“ says Rees.

Kitchen by Pork Ninjas serves food at Wenona Lodge 7 days a week from 4:00 pm until close. Delivery service will be available via Hurrier and DoorDash. Take-out is available and reservations can be booked from Sunday through Thursday.

Menu highlights:

The menu at Kitchen By Pork Ninjas includes favourites such as farm-fresh pastured Ontario side ribs, hickory & apple smoked pork shoulder, and hickory-smoked beef brisket. Vegetarians aren’t excluded either; new dishes to look forward to are the Porky Poutine and Mess of Greens, a seasonal spin on his classic Collard Greens. For more details visit

In this new kitchen, Rees incorporates beer into signature Ninja Scratch Sauces. With several Ontario craft brews flowing from Wenona Lodge’s 10 rotating taps, Rees has a lot of inspiration to work with.

Wenona Lodge opened in Bloorcourt in June 2015. It offers up a curated list of Ontario’s tastiest craft beers, signature cocktails, and a growing lineup of bourbon to match its new smoky BBQ menu. In its first few months, Wenona Lodge has been named one of Now Magazine’s “Best Beer Bars” and Blog TO’s “Top 15 Bars on Bloor”.

Images available via Dropbox here. Please credit Faye Blais for all photos.


Jason Rees, Pork Ninjas – – 416-843-9025
Faye Blais, Wenona Craft Beer Lodge – – 416-841-9779

PDF version of this news release

New improved Thermapen Mk4

Alton Brown has called Thermapen “The best instant-read thermometers on planet earth.” That “best” has just gotten even better.

There’s a brand new, improved Thermapen and it’s pretty insane – in a good way. The pre-launch announcement came just days after we received a shipment of four of the old ones. We’re both geeking out about this new one.

The new Thermapen is called the Mk4.

thermapen MK4

Key Thermapen Mk4 improvements include:

1. Patented auto-rotating display. Hold the Thermapen Mk4 in either hand or any angle and the display intuitively flips right-side up. Switch hands while cooking and read the Mk4 without cocking your head.

2. Intelligent­ backlight. The Mk4 knows when it’s dark and runs on the backlight for you, making it easy to read at dusk or complete darkness while preserving battery life. Touch the light sensor window anytime with your finger and the display lights up to improve visibility at the back of the stove or when reaching into an oven.

3. Motion-sensing sleep mode. Set your Thermapen Mk4 down during use, it shuts off and sleep mode saves battery life. Pick the Mk4 up, it comes on instantly and stays on while in your hand.

4. Now waterproof to IP67. Improved water resistance against spills  and wet kitchens.

5. Battery life extended up to 3,000 hours. Depending on backlight usage, battery life has gone from 1,500 to 3,000 hours. The motion-sensing sleep mode and light-sensing backlight mean fewer battery changes. When you do change the battery, use a common AAA battery.

As with the previous version of the Thermapen, it’s easy-to-use, quick display can accurately measure temperatures from -58° to 572° F within 0.7 of a degree in 3 seconds or less.

Watch this awesome promo video:

Get one here for $99, this price of the previous version.
($93 if you buy 5 or more.)

Pork Ninjas partners with Pass the Table

pass the table

If you’re a newsletter subscriber or a fan of our Facebook page you’ve already seen the news. Here’s the announcement that went out in our newsletter recently:

We’re happy to announce that we’ve partnered with Pass the Table, a mobile app that connects a community of diners with unique culinary experiences.

From carte blanche menus to collaborative chef dinners, Pass The Table connects you to one of a kind culinary experiences offered by the hottest restaurants, chefs, bartenders and beverage companies in Toronto.

As a result of our partnership with Pass the Table, some of our events will only be open to Pass the Table members. We’ll let you know when events are Pass the Table exclusives.

Today we received the following from Pass the Table:

Pass The Table will be in app stores NEXT WEEK!

Our first 100 diners to download the app and book an experience will join our exclusive Pass The Table Executive Club. Executive club members will be granted early access to special dining series offered through Pass The Table.

Prepare your palates and get ready to #CraveSomethingDifferent

Culinarily Yours,
Pass The Table Concierge

That’s great news. We’ve been waiting for this. Sign up for your Pass the Table exclusives. Our Pass the Table events will have a lt

Congratulations, Renee and Josh!

The weekend after Sarah and Patrick’s wedding we were back on the road for Renee and Josh’s wedding reception at the Huntsville Fairgrounds.

On the menu:

  • Pulled Pork & Sliced Pork
  • Smoked Chicken Thighs
  • Beef Brisket & Burnt Ends
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Veggie Kabobs
  • Kitchen Sink Salad
  • Smoked Portobello Mushrooms

Fresh salsa & Tortilla chips for every table, pickle plates for every table, buns and taco shells.

One of the groomsmen referred to our Carolina sauce as the best he’s ever had.

We didn’t get any photos ourselves but if/when we get some taken by others we’ll add them here.

It was a beautiful wedding reception. The wedding itself was on a nearby beach so we didn’t see it. The father-daughter dance was especially touching, and Renee and Josh’s friends sure know how to dance, and eat! Their friends ate the second highest amount of meat of any wedding guests we’ve ever served. 1.5lbs of meat per person. It was impressive. Beat that.

We look forward to feeding the family again.

Congratulations, Sarah and Pat!

The Pork Ninjas cater in various configurations, with various amenities. At the most basic, we bring our own cookers, cooking utensils and ice, and need access to electricity and potable water. The blog post I wrote about Spencer & Suzanne’s wedding, for example, said

Top Chef challenge style, we didn’t have access to running water.  No problem for The Pork Ninjas! We came with bottled water.

We enjoy those weddings just as much, but Sarah and Patrick’s wedding was the opposite of that.

Sarah and Patrick got married at Camp Manitou near Parry Sound, a kids camp that, during the camp season, serves over 700 meals a day. They have a proper kitchen. Knowing that, we left most of our utensils at home out of fear of mixing ours up with theirs. We brought food and we brought cookers. Little else.

On the menu:

Chicken Lollipops (Jerk and Honey Garlic)

  • Chicken Lollipops (Jerk and Honey Garlic)
  • Mini Greek Salad Skewers
  • Moinks (bacon wrapped meatballs)
  • Ribs -Baby Back Memphis Style (225 pieces)
  • Pulled Pork
  • Smoked Chicken Thighs
  • Mac N Cheese -Gluten Free
  • Mac N Cheese -Gluten Free with bacon
  • Grilled Portobello Mushrooms Caps
  • Corn (cut in half, with butter lime sauce)
  • Kitchen Sink Salad

+ Onion Jam, kimchi,  coleslaw,  ciabatta buns,  soft taco shells,  Carolina BBQ sauce,  sriracha and Squealer sauce.

Some of the apps. It’s hard to take photos and serve at the same time.

The wedding was held by the lake, the apps were served in the dance studio, and dinner in the mess hall.

The evening before friends acted as greeters in the mess hall, checking in guests and directing them to their cabins.

We got a cabin to sleep in too, the first time this summer we didn’t do a sleepover on the bus. With the full kitchen and a cabin, it was luxury, one we don’t take for granted or expect. We go with the flow.

Additionally, the bride and groom ordered the good weather and got summer weather the first weekend of fall. We even found a brief (too brief) window of time to take a swim on Saturday. Slow food involves some “hurry up and wait”.

Camp Manitou lake in the fall
VIew of the water with the fall colours

Our dog was thrilled with all the space.

I call this one "Bourbon: Lost & Found"
I call this one “Bourbon: Lost & Found”

We recommend Manitou as a wedding venue (facility rental info here). Thanks to long time staffer Dave for being so awesome.

Another great scenery shot:

fall leaves
fall leaves

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Pie from a *real* pumpkin.
Pumpkin Pie from a *real* pumpkin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanksgiving, in Canada, is on Monday. Our American friends Kim and Andy from BBQ team Behind BBQ will be joining us for Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend. They’re bringing pumpkin pie, we’re doing the turkey.

We hope that you’re thankful, and spending the day in a manner that is meaningful to you. If you need a recipe, search around our site. If you need a Thermapen, hopefully you already have one.

All the best,

The Pork Ninjas