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How Beach Hill Smokehouse Brought Texas Barbecue to Canada

Pitmaster Darien List roasts brisket, ribs, whole chickens, and mac and cheese in a massive indoor smoker

“Can you imagine trying to load up a smoker in sub-zero weather?” says Toronto’s Beach Hill Smokehouse pitmaster Darien List. “You have a brisket here, and your hands are frozen and you’re trying to put it on smoker and keep that hot: It would have been virtually impossible to do what we’re doing here if we weren’t doing it indoors.” List is talking about his restaurant’s ability to make mouthwatering central Texas-style barbecue indoors, despite Toronto’s freezing temperatures six months out of the year.

With a 7,000-pound indoor smoker, List and his team can cook up to 1,800 pounds of meat at one time, a process that begins each day around 4 a.m. The team makes a classic slow roasted brisket, made unique by their white sugar spice rub (as opposed to the more commonly used brown sugar). The spot is also known for its dry-rubbed whole roasted chickens, brown sugar-rubbed and marinated ribs and rib tips, and their “famous” mac and cheese, full of a garlic and paprika spice blend, and loads of milk and cheese that gets baked in the smoker.

“Barbecue is a labor of love. We’re here early, we’re leaving late,” says List. “Barbecue pretty much brings people together. I don’t know what it is, I think it’s the process, the time, the love you have to put into barbecue.”

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