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Barbeque Adventures

Where There Be Smoke, There Be Swine

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At least that’s how I remember the conversation, the tapes having been confiscated by airport security on the way back to Whistler when they became suspicious of an unidentified red residue all over everything. Whether it really happened that way or not, every good fairy tale has to start somewhere, doesn’t it?

The rest is, as they say, history. Dusty’s joined the vanguard of the Great Barbeque Invasion sweeping North America – and even gaining an ever so tiny toehold in Canada – becoming once again a Creekside legend and happily vanquishing the memory of cardboard-enhanced burgers from the minds of anyone who ever dribbled a pulled pork sandwich down the front of their Descente.

It was in the process of converting Dusty’s that Paul began to master the arcane art of competitive barbeque. "Competition was a good way to develop the brand for Dusty’s," he said.

In his very first competition in Vancouver, Washington, Paul and Tony, under the moniker The Boys of the North, blew into town and came home Grand Champions, having kicked American butt and laid a heapin’ measure of mild-mannered Canadian grit on the raucous good ol’ boys. "It was unbelievable; we broke into a horribly off-key rendition of Oh Canada, getting most of the way through when we realized neither one of us knew all the words," he reported.

With his appetite whetted by instant gratification and great tasting barbeque, more competitions followed. Yearly treks to Paul Kirk’s barbeque school became training grounds for Dusty’s pitmasters and more victories ensued. The winning was good; the barbeque great. But something was missing… something wasn’t quite, well, big time enough.

A breakthrough of sorts came, as breakthroughs so often do, disguised as tragedy. With the death a couple of years ago of David Valjacic, competitive barbeque in Canada dangled by a tenuous thread. There are only two sanctioned competitive barbeque events of any note in Canada: Barbeque on the Bow in Calgary on Labour Day weekend and the Canadian National Championships on the August long weekend. David, Vancouver’s Fire Chef – he used to be a fireman – and his wife Pat nurtured the Nationals which chugged along like the Little Engine That Could, a lonely outpost in an unfriendly wilderness of utter barbeque ignorance.