Chef Chris Jones of Jones Bar B Que cooks up some barbecue ribs. (Don Denton photograph)

Inspired Chef with Chris Jones of Jones Bar B Que

Bringing authentic Texas barbecue to Vancouver Island

  • Aug. 31, 2018 11:15 a.m.

QUICK FACTS:

• Born in Victoria; raised in Metchosin: “A true son of the island.”

• Co-owner of The Ruby: “We cook for families … we have managed to take the pretentiousness out of fine dining food and bring it to a fun level.”

• Owner of Jones Bar B Que: “You are going to walk in, find me standing there with my knife, and I am going to cut you the biggest, most damn tasty piece of meat you ever had. And, you are going to want more. Super simple. Super traditional Texas barbecue.”

How did you get into the food industry?

At the age of 16, after three or four fast food jobs, I got a job busing at John’s Place, a restaurant I’d been eating breakfast at since I was a boy. While being part of that team, which is still together, I saw how much passion and love could go into food and service. I knew that one day I wanted to create a team that had a Deb, a Liz and a Rodney on it, and that is exactly what we did at The Ruby.

You have a unique skill set as a “BBQ pitmaster.” What drew you to the grill?

I am still working on the “Master” part as that takes years, but I am absolutely obsessed with slow and low cooking and smoke. Most of my dad’s (Papa Jones) family is rooted in the South and I have always been passionate for Southern cuisine. On a trip to Central Texas with co-owner of The Ruby, Josh, we tied into our first pound of proper Texas brisket. We looked at each other and in that moment knew that we had to figure all this out and bring it back to Victoria.

Where did you train?

I trained in Central Texas. On our first trip to Texas, we made some contacts in some of the best smokehouses in Austin. Most people I asked about their barbecue told me to go pound salt, literally. I met one Texan who was a badass on the smoker and owned his own shop. He said, “If you come all the way back to Texas, I‘ll teach you everything I know.” The look on his face when I rolled into his shop, knives in tow, three months later was amazing.

What’s your specialty?

My brisket will blow your mind. Lots of little tricks go into this one, but the finished product is out of control. Also, the Granpa Jones sandwich is some pretty serious business: chopped brisket, pulled pork and a smoked Red Barn sausage on a brioche bun. Barbecue porn!

You’ve been catering for musicians backstage for the past few years?

One of my freelance projects has been with Atomique Productions, taking on artist catering at Rock the Shores. The conversation was something like, “Hey Jonesy, can you do something really badass that nobody has ever done for artist catering? I wanna blow this up. It’s Weezer this year, you got it?” I said, “Hell ya, man!” I recruited Josh and four years later we have done all the Rock the Shores and Rifflandia events. We recently fed Pearl Jam, Snoop Dog and the entire lineup for the Pemberton Music Festival. We’re shooting to do four mega festivals in North America next year under Cheeky Chaps Catering, our local (and not so local) catering company.

What is your favourite dish to cook and eat on a hot summer day?

Sesame rubbed tofu steaks! Nah, I love to get that smoker going and do a big old rack of pork ribs on a summer’s day. Throw them down on a big cutting board and get busy with a bunch of dill pickles. I shouldn’t joke about the tofu, we are actually going to smoke Portobello mushrooms at Jones Bar B Que for our veggie friends.

Coleslaw and ribs at Jones Bar B Que (Don Denton photograph)

Can you share an easy, seasonal recipe for a quick nosh in August/September?

Usually I would be all over a food recipe, but I think summer is also a time for cool and tasty beverages. My favourite is something we brought back from Southern Texas:

Watermelon Agua Fresca

Fill your blender with cubed seedless watermelon. Add a cup of water and a cup of ice along with 2 ounces of simple syrup. Puree until smooth. In a separate glass, bruise up some mint and a half a lime.

Pour blended watermelon juice into glass over lime and mint. For a little something special, add a shot of white rum at the end!

– Story by Susan Lundy

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

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