Vancouver Island University Food Services cook Tyler Campbell has high hopes for the upcoming Thrifty Foods Nanaimo Barbecue Festival July 12 to 14.
Campbell plans to enter the annual barbecue cook off using a new secret weapon – a custom designed smoker built by his friends at Nanaimo Sheet Metal (NSM).
NSM employee Len Ronkainen heard from his wife Delia, who works in Food Services at VIU, that the University’s cooking team needed an edge for this year’s competition.
“Nanaimo Sheet Metal employees volunteered about 35 hours of time to make a one-of-a-kind smoker that burns either wood or charcoal,” says Ronkainen. “It will be perfect for smoking barbecued ribs, pork, wings or salmon.”
Campbell is thrilled with the new smoker. “I looked online and you can’t buy anything close to this,” he says. “I’m already practicing with different types of wood to see what produces the best flavor for various cuts of meat. The guys at NSM will be the taste testers.”
“The smoker is something we’ll be able to use regularly in VIU’s Food Services and the University’s Culinary Arts program,” adds Melissa Townsend, VIU’s Manager of Food Services. “We’re extremely grateful for this unique donation from Nanaimo Sheet Metal and look forward to keeping the University community well fed for a long while.”
Thrifty Foods Nanaimo Barbecue Festival takes place on Commercial Street in downtown Nanaimo July 14 and July 15. The barbecue cook off features 35 contestants judged by a panel of international experts in the Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned event.
The two-day festival includes live entertainment, a family fun zone, outdoor vendors with barbecue items and other treats, a rib eating contest and a huge summer fun expo in the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. Proceeds will benefit Nanaimo Hospital Foundation.