Fire up the barbie

Have a passion for poker and pork? You may want to consider relocating to Creekside this summer. That’s because the long-time neighbourhood pub, Hoz’s, is undergoing a serious transformation that will not only drastically alter the interior of the building, but the entire menu — making a shift from the Mexican fare of El Tipo’s to the magic blend of smoke, rub and sauce created by Whistler’s one and only “BBQ Bob.”

Better known as Bob Haselbach, BBQ Bob has been on the competitive barbecue circuit for about five years now.

Haselbach was bitten by the BBQ bug after he attended a barbecue school in Washington taught by seven-time world champion, Paul Kirk, the Kansas City Baron of Barbecue.

Competitive barbecuing is serious business, with judges and a whole slew of rules. I really had no idea. It wasn’t until I visited the Pacific Northwest BBQ Association (PNWBA) website, of which BBQ Bob & the “Eh” Team are registered members, that my eyes were opened to this clandestine world of seasoning and smoke.

According to their site, real “old school” barbecuing is far more than firing up a grill and chucking some burgers and hot dogs on the flames. The real deal is when you use a low, indirect heat, coupled with the smoke of a charcoal or wood fire, to slowly cook a large cut of meat. This process breaks down the connective tissues of meat, making it tender and delicious.

The competitions work on a points system. Everyone cooks in four categories — pork shoulder, brisket, chicken and ribs — with each category having a maximum of 180 points. The highest total wins the title of grand champion.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Canadian National BBQ Championships are held across the highway at Dusty’s each summer, where they also have a hankering for barbecue.

This year, Haselbach is going to have a new day job to juggle while he competes on the BBQ circuit, but its one that’s much more conducive to his passion.

He’s going to be running the show at BBQ Bob’s, which will open up at what was formerly known as Hoz’s, later this summer. Hoz’s was taken over by long-time employees, Karen and Mike Roland, earlier this spring, and they’ve been doing some major renovations over the past six weeks. Floors have been refinished, the bar has been pushed back, and even the tables and chairs have been tuned up.

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