Smokin’ hot and saucy weekend at Dusty’s 

Sometimes it’s hard to make both ends meat. But not last weekend at the Canadian National BBQ Championships.

By G.D. Maxwell

It was all meat, all the time and enough to give any committed vegetarian the heebie-jeebies.

And when the smoke cleared, history was made… maybe. What is beyond doubt is that Rockin’ Ronnie Shewchuk’s Butt Shredders ran off with the grand prize. The team, from North Vancouver, just might be the first homegrown winners the Canadian Nationals have ever spawned. Or maybe not.

While competitive barbecuers are long on record keeping when it comes to what they’re cooking, noting temperature, time, the type and quality of smoke, rub and sauce employed, they’re not so anal about the historical record. Popular opinion ’round Dusty’s Smokin’ Joint at Whistler’s Creekside base last weekend was that Ronnie was the first Canadian to win the Canadians.

Didn’t matter though. There was no podium, no national anthem, no flags. Just the holy trinity of smoke, spice and meat and that other trinity – salt, sugar and fat. And a good time was had by all.

"It was a great weekend," opined Paul Street, Whistler-Blackcomb’s bar manager and competition organizer. "The crowd had a great time, the cooks had a great time and everybody got to taste some of the best barbecue ever to come out of a smoker."

Indeed, it was legendary. Myron Mixon, World Champion whole-hog cook was up again this year from his Jack’s Old South restaurant in Vienna, Georgia. Friday evening he gave a lesson in the art of barbecuing a 165 pound hog that gave his life so those of us who showed up 24 hours later could have dinner.

Paul Kirk, the Kansas City Baron of Barbeque and multi-time world champion, led a dozen-and-a-half true believers in a detailed convocation to the artful preparation of pork spareribs on Saturday afternoon.

And while not famous, several local teams were smokin’ their hearts out, including Adam Protter who was awarded Best New Cook for his efforts representing his Big Smoke Mountain BBQ restaurant in Pemberton. Teams from Texas, Illinois and Washington rounded out the field of 20.

Saturday’s action centred around the Anything Goes appetizer contest, where teams wowed the judges with everything from delicate lamb chops to an outrageous platter of prawns and catfish, and the Backyard Burger cookoff where competitors seemingly tried to escalate the lowly burger into… well, into something you almost couldn’t get your mouth around no matter how much you wanted to. It was a battle of North and South as Rockin’ Ronnie traded blows with Myron Mixon, each winning one event and each coming second in the other.

But in Sunday’s grand finale, it was clear that the Butt Shredders, after a decade of hard work, have the sensibilities of the local judges dialled. For their efforts, they won bragging rights, enough cash to make the weekend worthwhile, automatic entries in the KC Royal and Jack Daniel’s Worlds and a free trip to Jamaica mahn to compete in the big Carribbean BBQ Jerk-off.

"This is great," Ron said when he’d come back down to earth. "A Canadian winning the Canadians? Finally!"

Yeah, finally. Who knows where this could lead. More barbecue restaurants in Canada, eh?

Backyard Burger

Jack’s Old South — Vienna, Georgia

Butt Shredders — North Vancouver

Smokin’ the Beast — North Vancouver

Anything Goes

Butt Shredders — North Vancouver

Jack’s Old South — Vienna, Georgia

Bad Ass BBQ — North Vancouver


Canadian National BBQ Champions Butt Shredders — North Vancouver

Reserve Champions Ranch House — Seattle, Washington

3 rd Olalla Smokers

4 th Jack’s Old South — Vienna, Georgia

5 th Sue B. Que — McKinney, Texas

6 th Beaver Castors — Eatonville, Washington

7 th Smoke a Fat One — Snohomish, Washington

8 th Pork Butt BBQ — Redmond, Washington

9 th Eh Team — Whistler, B.C.

10 th Big Smoke Mountain BBQ — Pemberton, B.C.

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