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MR. BBQ "a dream job" for Joe Roberts

·4 min read

MR. BBQ is a brand-new business in Merritt, and as the name implies, the focus is on bringing the best barbecued food to the folks of the Nicola Valley.

“We started this business as a passion project,” said owner of MR. BBQ, Joe Roberts, who operates alongside Kristie Belanger and Ross Bennett.

“For years, I did pit roasts for friends and family all the way from the east coast to Saskatchewan and Alberta, and now we are here bringing that smoky passion to Merritt.”

Originally hailing from Alberta, the economic downturn of the oil industry and the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic had Roberts looking for a new place to call home, deciding that Merritt was the place to be - as well as an ideal place to turn his passion into a profitable venture.

“I worked in the oil field for a lot of years, and once COVID hit and along with it all the layoffs, we thought it was a perfect time to turn a lifelong hobby into a business,” said Roberts.

“We moved here from Alberta last year, and we were amazed at the level of community spirit in Merritt. It’s a town that really cares about its people and local economy. We opened MR. BBQ officially March 2nd and have had the patronage and fantastic support of so many locals.”

The trio are also happy to support the people and economy that supports them, looking for local products whenever possible, most notably the meat that creates their signature dishes, but also breads and desserts as well.

“We have been lucky to source our meats from some great local people including Timber Ridge Ranch and Nicola Valley Meats,” said Roberts.

“We have made contacts with people involved in running some local events are very excited at the opportunity to be involved.”

Whatever your tastes might be, MR. BBQ has an option for you. Whether you’re craving traditional BBQ or want to give Asian, Eastern European or South American styles and flavours a try, MR. BBQ has you covered. Great for a night off from cooking for the family, or if you want to host an event when social gatherings are once again permitted, MR. BBQ offers numerous choices.

“MR. BBQ is a mobile smokehouse and catering company focused on old-fashioned BBQ with some new twists,” explained Roberts.

“On the catering end, we do weddings and other events…we have a pig roast package with options of in-ground pit roast on site, open flame roasting, or our mobile rotisserie. Right now, we are selling to the public in weekly BBQ events that include BBQ combos and by-the-pound options.”

A complete menu is available on the MR. BBQ Facebook page, and the website: https://www.mrbbqsmokehouse.com/ .

“There is no event too small or too big and we work with any budget,” said Roberts.

“We are also launching a luxury picnic, small event package catering to small groups from two to ten. There are several themes to choose from. You choose the location, we do the set up and take down, provide all the cutlery, seating, fresh floral arrangements, etc. We love this community and realize COVID times are tough, and everyone needs a little bit of fun.”

Even though this is a dream job for Roberts and staff, and it’s hard to imagine anyone could get tired of experimenting with fun new and delicious ways of serving ribs, briskets, chicken, etc., all work and no play makes for a dull crew. Luckily, there’s no shortage of things to do for the new Merrittonians, even with COVID keeping us all close to home.

“When we aren’t smoking and barbecuing, we are out fishing, kayaking, camping and traveling,” said Roberts.

“Although, COVID has settled down the traveling. But luckily, we have a lot to explore and enjoy in Merritt, this being our first summer here.”

If you’re interested in having MR. BBQ at your next event, or ordering some delicious BBQ, you can contact them via their Facebook page, by phone at 250 – 936 – 9202 or by email info@mrbbqcatering.ca .

“We go above and beyond to fit your theme, feed your guests and make it a one-of-a-kind event!”

Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald

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