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Wine Country Q takes BBQ National Championships



Every August Creekside is blessed with one weekend of barbecue overkill. Grillers from across southwestern B.C. and the American northwest fill Whistler's Creekside with the grilling aroma that comes with 26 teams slow cooking, roasting and smoking meat.

The Bull's Eye Canadian National BBQ Championships took place over the course of last weekend with the main event on Sunday, Aug. 4.

The top barbecue teams at the event were tasked with preparing pork butt, beef brisket, chicken and ribs. Each food variety was judged and from the individual event results an overall tally was created from which Wine Country Q emerged as the big winner, taking home a prize package that included a ceramic barbecue, a trip to Sonoma to visit the Ravenswood winery and a cheque for $2,000.

The masterminds behind the team are the husband and wife team of John and Rhana McGee from the small town of Duvall in Washington State.

Each had just one feeling after the results were announced.

"Wow," says John with the winning trophy in his hand.

"Shocked," echoes Rhana at his side in the shade at Dusty's.

Whistler is a place they love coming to because John says the people are amazing, the atmosphere doesn't get any better and Rhana chimes in saying it's a beautiful place.

"This is one of our favourite events," says John. "It's our third time cooking it, second time winning it but it never gets old."

Wine Country Q takes the honour that went to Smoke and Bones of North Vancouver in 2012.

"To win it again is very special," John says.

The win has come in a very busy season with the McGees competing in 14 events already. They plan to take a few weeks off then compete next in two events planned for their home state. John says they hope to qualify for the world championships in Tennessee at Lynchburg.

The Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue in Lynchburg is the pinnacle of grill competitions across North America. The event is held each year on the fourth Saturday in October.

Just to be eligible to enter a draw for a chance to be part of the competition, grillers have to either win an event involving 50 or more competitors or win a state championship.

The McGees have been to the party twice before. They'll find out in September if they get a third crack at "The Jack."

With their Whistler win under their belt and lofty future plans in mind, the dominant team at Whistler's annual outdoor cook-off says the win calls for an evening of champagne and spaghetti.

"We've got a bottle of bubbly on ice – just in case," John says with a hearty laugh.

"We were going to drink it anyways," Rhana quickly adds.

More laughter.

After a successful day on the grill, pasta it is.


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