The Jolly Old Elf Talks Food and Folklore

Naughty or nice? • Photograph by Doug Young

Santa Claus_Doug Young

It’s a busy time of year for the big guy—lots of wishes to grant, toys to build, reindeers to train, film premieres to attend, bellies to feed and charitable events to organize.

In fact Santa Claus doesn’t ever leave his North Pole domain for the cliché tropical holiday we all imagine the snowsuit-clad legend to unwind upon.

In his case, Long Island’s South Shore is home to his year-round business of bringing cheer, well wishes, smiling faces and barbecued goodness to the masses. We have our very own Santa to thank for these treats, and I’ve had the pleasure of sitting with him while he tells Edible what he wants this year for Christmas.

“I am now the owner of Santa’s BBQ, and I am working toward making my logo a registered trademark and retailing my one-of-a-kind North Pole pulled-pork-stuffed, deep-fried ravioli in a store near you. I would also love to get a mobile kitchen trailer so I could sell at state fairs as well as be able to offer catering services.” Santa explains. “When people think of Santa Claus from now on, I want them to think of two things: the feeling you get when the Christmas season starts and the best pulled pork ravioli on earth.”

With a lifelong love of Santa Claus, a passion for slow-smoked barbecue and the gift of giving, Long Island’s own Old Saint Nick has applied his passions to a number of charitable organizations, including Toys for Tots, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Little Flower Orphanage as well as many others. The days following Hurricane Sandy brought upon an opportunity for Santa to volunteer on a very local level, essentially in his own backyard.

“When Sandy hit, I went straight to my local Babylon VFW hall and brought my smoker. I got Costco to donate over 100 pounds of pork so I could feed the survivors and first responders. Within a week we had over 80 volunteers and the help of two major barbecue organizations. We were able to feed people in Babylon, Long Beach and Lindenhurst. Over 27,000 meals were served,” says Santa.

With three film projects premiering (Christmas Tears, I Am Santa Claus and The Little Tin Man), a Christmas album in the works, holiday charity events, his own line of sugar-cookie-scented Mustache Wax and the usual TV spots, ad campaign gigs and Santa canoodling, the guy in the big red suit has a big, busy schedule this winter. But making people smile is first on his agenda, the sole purpose behind his legal name change and the best gift he can give and receive year round.

 

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Courtney MacGinley

A freelance writer, full-time mom and part-time Professor of Journalism at Suffolk County Community College, Courtney MacGinley is a firm believer that some of the best times are spent around the dinner table. Her work has focused on Long Island's culinary scene in the pages of Edible East End and Edible Long Island magazines for nearly a decade.