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The barbecue battlefield

Sixth annual Canadian BBQ Championships get smokin’ with both professional and amateur competitions



What: Canadian BBQ Championships

When: Aug. 3-5

Where: Dusty’s, Creekside

Last year, Bob Hasselbach missed the title of Grand Champion at the Canadian National BBQ Championships by one point. This year the Dusty’s chef manager has been determined to improve his charcoal and wood burning ways, with eight smoking competitions under his flipper. already

All hopes rest on competition number nine, the 2007 Canadian National BBQ Championships, which get cooking on his home stomping ground from Friday, Aug. 3 to Sunday, Aug. 5 at Dusty’s at Creekside. The barbecue champ not only wins bragging rights, but also a free trip for two to Jamaica, $1,500 cash and an invitation to compete in the BBQ World Championships in Lynchburg, Tennessee.

“I cooked twice against Walt (the current grand champion) this year and both times he made a point of telling me how great his trip to Jamaica was,” Hasselbach said. “I really wanted to practice as much as I could this year to give myself the best chance… Expectations are really high for me to do well. Everyone knows I’ve been competing a lot and expect me to win on my home turf. But this competition has the biggest prize money: it draws big teams. Competitions like this are the hardest to win and the Whistler teams are gunning to kick my butt.”

Pork butt that is.

For the Sunday competition, more than 50 smokers will light up in four categories: beef brisket, pork shoulder, pork ribs and chicken. The competition starts at 11 a.m. and awards are announced at 3:30 p.m. The team winning the overall highest mark moves on to the World Championships.

Hasselbach of the Eh Team won the grand champion title at two Ontario smoke outs, but he is most proud of his second placing in brisket at the New York State Barbecue Championships, which camped out on an Olympic speed skating oval.

“I was the only Canadian,” he said. “I’m most proud of it because of the calibre of teams I was competing against.”

Anyone who has seen these barbecue crazed competitors, who check on their $10,000 smokers every 15 to 30 minutes over 13 hours to ensure the temperature and smoke are just right, knows how seriously these people take their barbecuing.

Rumour has it plans to sabotage high rollers such as Hasselbach are in place. Forget about food switcharoos or tinkered cookers, these butt shredders mean serious business — something about sending in the big guns, Jack Daniels.

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