House of Q's Brian Misko knows a thing or two about great barbecue.
The proof is, as they say, in the pudding, although in this case the best evidence can be found in Misko's award-winning line of mouthwatering barbecue sauces, which have earned the Langley-based business man an esteemed reputation among pitmasters across the American South, the heart of barbecue country. Astonishingly enough, Misko, who goes by the well-earned moniker of BBQ Brian, has taken home second place two years running at the Royal World Series of Barbecue in Kansas City, MO and was the only international entry in 2013, submitting his mustard-based Slow Smoke Gold Sauce and Slather.
But among the many accolades is another piece of hardware that Whistler's burger junkies should already be well aware of: top honours at the Backyard Burger competition in this summer's Canadian National BBQ Championships, held at Dusty's. Anyone who was fortunate enough to get their mitts on this fever dream of a sandwich can tell you that it was well worth all the praise that's been heaped upon it.
"This was a crackerjack burger," Misko said of the complexities that went into his sister's winning recipe. "On one hand, it seems like a really straightforward burger; the patty is very sizeable and there aren't many toppings on there — there are some onions, cheese and a leaf of lettuce but you don't get layer upon layer and have a gooey mush all over the place. So it's pretty straightforward but very, very tasty."
And if you're a bacon lover (and let's be honest, who isn't?), then this artisan burger is right up your alley, with bacon jam smoked into the patty, which, if that wasn't enough, is also woven with four more succulent and smoky strips.
"At the end of the day it's probably eight slices of bacon in that whole burger," Misko said. "Then there are the apple butter onions on top of the burger, some really excellent and flavourful white cheddar melted on it and a leaf of lettuce. One sauce is on the bottom, one sauce is on the top, then it comes together and it's damn tasty, man."
Exemplifying the depth of flavour cooked into the championship burger, Misko said he used four of the five products that House of Q sells: the aforementioned Gold Smoke Sauce, the flagship Apple Butter BBQ sauce, the aptly-named Sugar and Spice sauce and Misko's own House Rub.
And while he didn't submit his award-winning recipe this week, the good news for all the burger aficionados out there is that Dusty's Bar in Creekside has made the two-fisted affair available on their regular menu.
The recipe Misko did provide is nothing to scoff at either, his simple yet delicious take on beef sliders that uses only a handful of ingredients to perfection. Finish them with your choice of toppings — Misko recommends onions, grilled peppers, lettuce, tomatoes or even mushrooms — and you've found the perfect way to satisfy your carnivorous cravings.
Being B.C.'s unofficial sauce boss (apologies to Harley Morenstein of Epic Meal Time fame), you'd think Misko would be of the school of thought that condiments are what make a burger, but he had a different take on it.
"To be declared the best burger in Canada, you're at a different level where you have to take everything into account," he said. "You can't just go and get the $2-a-dozen buns at the grocery store and expect it's going to hold up to something that's a little bit more artisan in nature. So you're looking for the best of ingredients, you're looking for all of the different layers of flavour, and making sure every layer is executed the way you wanted to in your cook plan."
And while the Pacific Northwest is not exactly lauded for its barbecue, Misko said the region's top cooks have taken to incorporating elements from different regional barbecue styles, resulting in a harmonious end product that would delight palates from Missouri, to Texas to the Carolinas.
"There is a lot of a fusion to what goes on here, and a lot of cooks will amalgamate things or influences from other areas," he said. "For us coming from a competitive realm, we do exactly that; we amalgamate and create what we believe is our best effort and the best flavour profile we want to present to the judges and we continue with minor tweaks at every event based on our previous results." Clearly, it's a strategy that's paid off for B.C.'s barbecue guru.
Visit www.houseofq.com to find the nearest retailer of Misko's line of rubs and sauces.