Barbecue enthusiast travels Canada with ribfest events

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Will Haase has travelled thousands of kilometres as owner of Silver Bullet Bar-B-Q.

“I love barbecue,” said Haase. “I just like travelling around, seeing a different city – or province – because we go coast to coast. We were out west (Calgary) two years ago. We go to a lot in Quebec and as far as Nova Scotia … everywhere. Usually our biggest (festivals) are Moncton, New Brunswick, or Sydney, Nova Scotia and Toronto.”

From Friday to Sunday, Silver Bullet Bar-B-Q was in Tillsonburg for a takeout-style ribfest in the Tillsonburg Community Centre parking lot – an annual fundraiser for the Tillsonburg Thunder senior men’s hockey team.

“I would say it was successful for what it is with all the (COVID) guidelines and that are in place,” said Haase Sunday afternoon. “I think obviously there is room for improvement and I think next year will be better.

“There is a demand for it, it just needs that help.”


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At the same time Silver Bullet had another barbecue rig set up at the Scarborough Ribfest Drive Thru.

“We have three Silver Bullet trailers and I also own SmokeHouse Bandits BBQ food truck. We could be doing up to four (ribfests) a week. That’s usually how the schedule is, there’s not a lot of times that we have something sitting. Not now,” he added with a laugh.

The trailer they used in Tillsonburg, equipped with two 700 series Southern Pride smokers, operated in Cambridge this summer.

“We started in June and went until last week when I had the opportunity to do some drive thru ribfests. It worked out well.”

Haase said they have one more ribfest coming up this weekend in Ajax and that will end their 2020 festival season, which has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Not just Silver Bullet, he said, but the entire festival food industry.

“It goes down the line. The amount of ribs that we go through, it affects the farmers too. It’s crazy how much impact it’s had. It’s just huge. But you try to make the best of it.”

Haase, who moved to Tillsonburg in July, has working been in the Ribfest industry for the past 15 years, starting on the grill at the age of 16.

Over the years his job description filled out to include marketing, cooking, ordering product, organizing staff, and even driving trucks.

“This year, everything’s been up in the air. Definitely it’s been a challenge.”

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