Everyone loves a bit of good barbecue, right? It's usually a highlight of the summer months, when people fire up their full-size grills or pint-sized hibachis at the lake. But thanks to the effort of one local business, Whistler now has a year-round barbecue joint, where you can go to sate your carnivorous cravings even if its puking snow outside.
Roland's Pub, formerly known as Hoz's, now has a little brother on its premises, if you will. After months of construction, the owners have finally opened the doors to BBQ Bob's, the authentic barbecue joint that is being run by its namesake, Bob Haselbach.
Haselbach has been on the competitive barbecue circuit for almost six years, doing his part to keep the art of old school barbecuing alive and well. The trick is to use low, indirect heat, coupled with the smoke of charcoal or wood fire to slowly cook a large cut of meat. This ain't your average backyard grill.
BBQ Bob's may have opened later than anticipated, but you know what they say - good things come to those who wait.
The poker-themed menu boasts a vast selection of sandwiches, burgers and side dishes to tempt the taste buds, and there are even a few meatless options for vegetarians. A poker hand is assigned to each dish; so, for example, "The Worst Hand in Poker" is the veggie sandwich, and the "Pocket King" - the bestselling item so far - is a brisket sandwich.
If you opt for a burger, there is an impressive list of free toppings to choose from, as well as an additional list of paid toppings you can add, including bacon, caramelized onions, and a few different kinds of cheeses. Apparently, just that afternoon, a customer came in and ordered a two-pounder with five slices of cheese and bacon, with a side of poutine. Whoa.
There are also a great selection of side dishes, ranging in price from 75 cents to $3.50 - onion rings, coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad, handcut fries, and yam fries drizzled in balsamic reduction, just to name a few.
There's nothing fancy or pretentious here, just authentic home cooking for real barbecue lovers.
We opt to try one of the party menu selections, the dinner for two, which includes a full selection of BBQ meats - pulled pork, chicken, beef brisket and ribs - along with sides of baked beans, corn bread, coleslaw and potato salad.
The meats were all tender, perfectly seasoned, and you could actually taste the meat, instead of being overwhelmed by sauce. And unlike a lot the ribs at a lot of restaurants, these ones aren't a messy chore to eat.
The baked beans are sweet at first taste, with a slow heat that gradually builds. And Haselbach and his team have put a unique twist on a traditional potato salad, adding red pepper into the mix.
Our party plate also comes with a homemade dessert. Now, I wasn't sure exactly which dessert we were going to get to try - brownies, fruit or key lime pie - but my fingers were crossed for the key lime dish, which is the owner's family recipe. I was in luck; the freshly baked, tart filling was the perfect contrast with the sweet graham cracker crumb crust, and the plate was adorned with whipped cream whorls and fresh strawberries.
For just $25, this homemade meal is a great value. It's filling, fresh, and the portions are generous.
BBQ Bob's just opened for business on Jan. 2, and despite the fact that there's no sign on the outside of the building yet, they already seem to have attracted a diverse group of locals. While we were busy demolishing our plate on Sunday evening, an elderly couple, a few groups of young men, and a family all came in.
The décor also matches the food - quality, simple and homestyle. A classic "dogs playing poker" poster hangs in one corner, each table is adorned with a spool of paper towel, and the best seat in the house is tucked into the far right corner - an old-school tabletop Pacman/Frogger video game. There's also an entire wall lined with accolades that Haselbach and his team have accumulated over the years, including an impressive number of blue first-place ribbons.
And if you can't bring yourself to get off the couch, they've even started to offer delivery service from all three businesses - the cold beer and wine store, the pub, and BBQ Bob's. For a flat $4 fee, between the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., you can have barbecue brought directly to you.