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Barbeque Adventures

Where There Be Smoke, There Be Swine


By G.D. Maxwell, with tapes, photos and "Aw Shucks" Southernisms provided by Paul "Everybody talks this way down south" Street

"Boy, y’all are now a World Champeen."

— Myron Mixon, one of the original Mean Bastards and guiding force of Jack’s Old South barbeque team.

In a town chock-a-block with champions, we can add one more name. No, not the unfortunately overlooked Phil Chew – gee, I guess it’s true what they say about the otherabled being virtually invisible unless you open your eyes to look – or some other outstanding athlete in a town full to bursting with outstanding athletes.

Though some pursuing excellence in the field consider it a sport – and really, in a world filled with faux sports, who’s to say? – most consider it a passion, a lifestyle, a quest for perfection, a quixotic pastime, and one helluva good reason to get together with friends to eat and drink their faces off. While many people are surprised to hear there even exists such a thing as competitive barbeque, many more will be surprised to find out there walks among us a bona fide world champion of that esoteric subculture. But Paul Street is a certified, whole hog, world champion barbequist.

So how, I can just hear you ask, does a mild-mannered bar manager from Whistler, a Cape Breton-Halifax-Calgary boy who honed his chops in the smokeless food and bev business of Toronto and Vancouver, parachute into the grits and grease gravy heart of the deep south and come home a world champion?

Good question.

It all started with a dream. Not one of those greasy anchovy and garlic pizza dreams but a Great Dream, a Once Upon a Time dream. Paul’s dream, even while managing the Cactus Club in Vancouver, was to bring real barbeque to Canada. That he didn’t really even know what real barbeque was constituted no impediment, such was the divine nature of his dream. Completely unbeknownst – even to himself – he was a man possessed.

"I was managing the Cactus Club and called Willie Jang at Whistler Mountain for a reference on a job applicant. Willie mentioned he needed a bar manager for the newly-opened GLC and next thing I know, my reference call turned into a job interview and I was on my way to Whistler." Little did Willie or Whistler-Blackcomb know Paul travelled north with a Hidden Agenda.

As explained to me one drunken night in Austin, Texas, where we were liberally spending the company’s money on a barbeque fact finding mission, Paul had always wanted to open a real barbeque restaurant. He just wanted to do it with somebody else’s money, restaurants in general being, shall we say, risky endeavours and barbeque restaurants in a Land Without Barbeque being particularly risky. Somehow, Paul and Tony Wayland hoodwinked, er, convinced W-B’s management to go along with the idea of relaunching the newly-built Dusty’s as a smokin’ joint instead of a just another drunken après ski bar.