To describe Angie Quaale as passionate about all things barbecue would be making a bit of an understatement.
Her enthusiasm for the food in general, and barbecue in particular is unparalleled by much else she has encountered in life.
In fact, everything barbecue appealed to Quaale so much that the Langley entrepreneur decided to share her love of grilling with the rest of world a decade ago.
That’s when Quaale, the owner of Well Seasoned gourmet food store, created BBQ Off The Bypass (formerly known as BBQ On The Bypass until she relocated her shop off the Langley Bypass and onto 64th Avenue last year).
The 10th annual barbecuing competition is being held this weekend in Langley, and the growth and popularity of this tasty event continues to surprise and please Quaale.
It has grown from six competitors and a few hundred spectators the first year to at least 20 competitors expected to have a showdown at this year’s event before a crowd of between 5,000 and 7,000 people.
“The concept is the same. It hasn’t changed,” Quaale said. “It’s to teach people about the wonders of slow southern-style barbecue… I really want people to be exposed to this style of cooking.”
It’s not just about what she described as incredible and mouth-watering food. It’s about camaraderie.
“Barbecue is very friendly,” she said, noting the slow cooking methods leave lots of time for the grilling enthusiasts to socialize.
In fact, she met her life partner Dave Gassaway in the competitive barbecue arena in Kansas five years back.
“We met in Kansas City, and fell in love in Tennessee,” she said, noting that barbecuing brought them together and still remains a huge part of both their lives.
“Barbecue really brings people together and that’s what I love about the food,” Quaale added, noting that through this one Langley event, she has trained thousands about how to cook, judge, and compete in the barbecue realm.
There’s nowhere in Langley where people can buy barbecue, she added – except for this one day a year.
This year, BBQ Off The Bypass happens on Sunday, Sept. 13, at her new and larger store location (20353 64th Ave.) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Competitors (most from the Lower Mainland, but some from as far away as Alberta and Oregon) will start arriving in town late this week – along with the crowds coming to town for the Langley Good Times Cruise-In charity car show.
The contestants will start setting up on Saturday, in the parking lot outside Quaale’s business – camping out on the blacktop as they begin work on their brisket and pulled pork – which the host explained takes at least 14 hours to prepare.
“Wear your stretchy pants and sample some of the best BBQ in the Pacific Northwest,” said Quaale, who is not only a contest organizer but who has travelled throughout southern United States and much of Canada during the past eight years competing.
More than just BBQ
In addition to the main BBQ competition, this year’s event also features the sixth annual Great BC Bake Off – an amateur pie competition open to the public.
Bakers are invited to enter in three categories: fruit pies, anything goes, and butter tarts.
Home cooks and bakers can register online. The entry fee is $10, and the winner in each category walks away with a $150 Well Seasoned gift card plus a chance to have their recipe devoured by the masses.
The winners’ recipes will be baked and served up by the staff at Otter Co-op for two weeks after the competition.
BBQ Off The Bypass is a free event, that will also feature live music from The New Shackletons, vendor and information displays, and most important to those in attendance – BBQ samplings.
All to aid kittens
Once again, the event has a charity aspect to it.
While about $5,000 was raised from last year’s BBQ Off The Bypass for the Langley Farmers Market, this year’s event is going to aid the Langley-based TinyKittens initiative.
Member of the TinyKittens team – who work to care for and find loving homes for cats brought into care with the Langley Animal Protection Society and have created a kitten reality show – will be acting as greeters for the event.
Again, Quaale is hoping to see donations given that will mirror last year’s haul. Thanks to sponsorships and partnerships, she said that might be achievable.
For more information about this community event, people can go online to bbqoffthebypass.com.