We at Bugbear BBQ firmly believe that the best barbecue comes from the best ingredients, and so we prefer our meats to be ethically sourced; consisting of wild-caught, free-range, or battlefield-harvested creatures. Because of our stance on ethically sourced meats, we ALWAYS avoid humanoid creatures and anything approaching sentience.
Because we’re not monsters after all. No, we prefer to eat monsters!
This rule does not apply to fairy folk, however, which have been plaguing anything without a set of wings since time immemorial. Now there are some, children and those of lawful good alignment mostly, that believe eating a fairy is a sin akin to consuming much-beloved creatures like hummingbirds, dolphins, and angels. But we say those are the folks that have never personally encountered a fairy. Because if you had, you wouldn’t think twice about eating one; any more than they pause before eating you.
As such, not only are you getting a delicious meal each time you serve this recipe, you’re also thinning out Oberon’s ranks one diminutive monster at a time.
And I think we can all agree this guy needs less monsters.
This generally depends on how you’ve acquired your fairy and if it’s still currently alive. Mainly because fairies have that darned habit of eating fairy food, which has adverse effects on anything other than fairies, as anyone who has danced themselves unconscious after eating some will swear to you.
As such, anything that’s currently in that fairy’s stomach needs to go.
Now if your fairy is farm-raised, this is not a problem since they have been served nothing but non-fairy food. But this affects their flavor overall and makes them fair(l)y bland, so we suggest getting some wild-caught fairies from your favorite beastiary butcher and making sure s/he removes that troublesome stomach for you.
Another option is to catch live fairies yourself, which helps with the presentation of the meal since you don’t have that unsightly butcher’s cut to remove the stomach. Once you’ve harvested all the pixie/ fairy dust you can from your future meal, which in turn can be used to season other dishes, it’s best to feed them nothing but carrots. This is to ensure all that nasty fairy food gets out of their system, and you’ll know this is the case when they start pooping bright orange.
Now I wish there was a nice mnemonic device or rhyme to remember they’re only safe to eat when you see poop of orange, but, as we all know, nothing rhymes with orange.
Many pitmasters like to spatchcock their catches to ensure a more even cook. However, we find that this not only ruins the presentation of the meal, but can also take out a lot of delicious meat as you remove the spine, so spatchcock at your own peril.
But however you land on the spatchcocking (which still sounds dirty even after all these years of saying it), make sure to shave off all your fairy’s hair before tossing it on the smoker. Because nothing can ruin a cook faster than the smell of burning hair!
Sheared and ready to rub!
Although we usually prefer a dry brine consisting of kosher salt, barbecued fairies are fairly unique since they react badly to salt in general, which is why it is often used to ward homes. As such, we soak our fairies in soy sauce at ½ teaspoon per pound for 1-4 hours before cooking.
This simply could not be easier, as you pour your soy into a sealable plastic bag and then pop your fairy inside to soak. This is also a good way to slaughter your fairies if you’re harvesting them yourself. Sure, they’ll struggle a bit against the plastic bag, but the lack of oxygen will soon takes care of that for you.
For the rub itself, we prefer earthy flavors to go with these woodland creatures: 1 teaspoon each of ground sage, rosemary, thyme, black pepper and white sugar. To really get this rub to sing, mix it with equal quantities of water and let it soak for at least an hour to release all the water-soluble flavors before rubbing down your soyed fairy.
Unlike large cuts of meat, for our fairies we’ll be setting a much higher temperature of 325 degrees for the smoker. At this higher temperature you’ll have to be careful so as not to dry out the meat by overcooking, and you’ll be aiming for a temperature of 165 degrees at the thickest bit of your fairy. This can occasionally take less than an hour, particularly for pixies, which we often cook a half-dozen at a time for appetizers.
We usually use cherry or apple wood for our cook, but some enterprising pitmasters have recently started using oak, thorn and ash for an extra dash of irony.
And as you’re setting up your smoker, make sure to leave a pan underneath your meat to catch the drippings for a gravy. There are a few traditional Hobgoblin recipes for this gravy, but we don’t really think the warg entrails add much to the flavor overall. As such, our gravy consists of one yellow onion (ends removed but skin left on), two cloves of garlic (ditto), one quart of chicken stock, and two tablespoons of the above fairy rub. If you’ve spatchcocked your fairy, make sure to toss that spine and any organs in for a little extra flavor.
Depending on if you’ve spatchcocked your fairy (still sounds like a sex act), you’ll reach your target temperature of 165 in 1-3 hours. But long before you throw it on the smoker, you should decide what to do with the wings. If you leave them on for presentation, it’s best to cover them with tin foil about 30 minutes into your cook. However, at Bugbear BBQ, we remove them from the onset for our delicious roasted pixie wings, a recipe we’ll get to another time.
Sauces, Sides, and Pairing
Though we included a Hobgoblin gravy recipe above, Hobgoblins are notorious for ignoring both the gravy and thermometer when deciding when their fairy is done, instead yanking it off the grill and chomping off the head to make their decision (we do not endorse this act unless you have a Constitution of 14 or higher). We still believe their gravy is the best, though some find it too watery and mix in a few tablespoons of flour to thicken it.
Pretty accurate if you've ever been to a Hobgoblin BBQ
We have also heard that certain hipster gastrointestinal pubs in the gentrifying sections of the Underdark serve fairies with a side sauce made from a peanut and pomegranate reduction. We at Bugbear BBQ reject such a non-traditional approach, and say leave those hipsters to their own brand of bearded and IPA infused hell.
Serve with glazed parsnips, mushrooms cooked with bacon, and southern-style biscuits. But if you really want to twist the knife to our fairy foes, serve with bread, cream and butter; all fairy favorites.
Though we usually draw our alcohol pairings from the traditional fantasy genre staples, for fairies we are stepping outside to include Mason Verger’s favorite drink from the Hannibal book series: A martini served in a glass rimmed with a child’s tears. Nothing pairs better because, if you’ve made it this far down into this recipe, chances are your inner child is already crying, if not already dead.