Experience: Petersen, proprietor of Bubba’s BBQ and Smoke House, cooked for a very short time at Hy’s Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar 39 years ago. His career as a building contractor took him away from cooking for a living, but he maintained his passion for the plate. He opened Bubba’s, a trailer offering southern, slow-cooked barbecue for take-out, as a way to build up some retirement money, and it’s become a business bonanza. The trailer is in an industrial area (find out where on Twitter),in the lot of a vacant building at the corner of 86th Street and Davies Road.Despite the strange location and, even in frigid temperatures, lineups are sometimes 20 deep when the trailer windows open for lunch at 11:30 a.m. He offers one dish per day. Thursdays (beef brisket day) are the busiest. In fact, the brisket made this year’s 25 Best Things to Eat list. He usually runs out of food before closing time at 2:30 p.m. To help ease the lines, he plans to install a call-ahead service.
– “There are different variations of barbecue. Cooking in your backyard is barbecue. You can cook over briquettes or wood or propane. Barbecue is cooking over an open flame, usually in an outdoor setting, and it also describes the various use of seasonings in the process.”
-“There are different ways to do it. What I do is very inspired by the American barbecue [slow cooking over low heat, with smoke from a variety of hardwoods to flavour the meat] . My recipes are inspired by or are taken from the best U.S. barbecue traditions – Texas, Kansas, Louisiana and the Carolinas.”
-“Traditional wood – strong wood – is what I like. You’d like to use a hardwood like mesquite when smoking beef, or applewood, which is good for lighter meats like chicken or pork. You can also use hickory for any meat, which is what I use.”
-“A lot of the woods are difficult to locate [in Edmonton] . It would be difficult to find anything other than hickory or mesquite.”
Which is your go-to Christmas movie?
11%Miracle on 34th Street
20%A Nightmare Before Christmas
3%Jingle All the Way
-“It usually takes me 15 to 16 hours to smoke a full beef brisket, depending on its size, and 11 to 12 hours for pulled pork. I begin them the night before.”
-“I’m not surprised by the lineups because there was a real lack of traditional barbecue in this city. It’s very difficult to do barbecue because it is really time-consuming to make the food. It’s very hard to manage the food costs.”
-“I looked at other locations. I plan to remain here for as long as this location is available. As long as I can stay here, I will. The problem with moving to a place like Churchill Square, and I have been asked about it before, is that there is nowhere for people to go and eat and keep warm. It’s fine in the summer, but in the winter there’s nowhere for people to warm up in their cars.”
-“Are my recipes a secret? Well, I am not handing them out. They have taken years to develop.”
-“I haven’t thought about entering barbecue competitions. Not at my age. No, it’s a little too late in my life to compete, to go from place to place in an RV. If you want to compete, you have to travel.”
– “Right now I do one meat per day. But in the spring, I may go up to offering two choices per day.”