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Maxed out

The South rises agin’ at Dusty’s

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If you grew up outside the insular confines of the barbecue belt or Texas, what you consider barbecue probably owes more to the special twist given to the cuisine in Kansas City, Missouri than anywhere else. It is generally settled that KC barbecue was first cooked by Henry Perry some time around the turn of the last century. What Henry started, Arthur Bryant, George Gates and Otis Boyd perfected. Their slow smoking technique, sweet, tangy tomato-based sauce and vegetable-free menus have clogged arteries for generations, sending many a patron to the sweet hereafter regretting only the very high probability there is no barbecue in either heaven or hell, and prompted the great American writer Calvin Trillin to declare Bryant’s simply the best restaurant in the world.

If there is any one overriding mystery about barbecue – and trust me, there are many – it is this: Why hasn’t Canada embraced it? Canada, for all its multiculturalism, its polyglot cosmopolitan centres, its fine beef and swine, is, by Southern standards, a barbecue-free zone. You can get Thai, Korean, Mongolian, French, German, Portuguese and Italian food in Canada. You can hardly swing a dead cat without hitting a vegetarian restaurant. You can eat beaver, moose, caribou and poutine from sea to sea to sea. But finding barbecue in Canada is as hard as defining what exactly makes the country unique.

Except this weekend… in Whistler… at Dusty’s.

Go figure.