Lunchbox Challenge: Saint John Ale House's Jesse Vergen

Makes us a better BLT

Photograph by Mark Hemmings

Photograph by Mark Hemmings

Sandwich Highlights:

  • Vergen calls the sweet potato purée in the bun, “a sneaky trick to add more moisture.”
  • The lettuce met some cider vinegar in a vacuum chamber for extra tang.
  • Homemade tomato jam, with dried tomatoes, balsamic and thyme.

MEET THE CHEF | Jesse Vergen may be one of the busiest and best chefs in the country. Based in New Brunswick, he is the executive chef at Saint John Ale House, the chef-owner of Smoking Pig BBQ, one of the partners in Cleaver Catering, as well as a partner at Harmony Growers Vegetables, which grows much of the produce for his various restaurants. For our Lunchbox Challenge, the chef took time from his frenetic schedule to create a modern and delicious take on the classic BLT. It starts with a southern-BBQ-style pork belly, rubbed with a simple spicy dry rub, then smoked for up to four hours. The result is a tender, slightly smoky and altogether porky core for a kicked up BLT. No frilly toothpick required.
Saint John Ale House, 1 Market Square, Saint John, N.B. | (506) 657-2337

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