Past the swinging saloon doors, the sounds, sights and smells entice you into the West Kelowna eatery. From a king-size chandelier to the dark wood tables, the vibe at The Hatching Post Brewery and Smokehouse is as authentic as the traditional southern, Texas-style barbecue. 

The saloon’s decor has all the detail and delights as the other jewels in the crown of Jason Parkes Customs, a rag-tag group of wineries, a ciderhouse and a brewery in West Kelowna. 

The early days of the pandemic marked chef Ryan Byrne’s first foray into barbecue, setting up a food truck outside of Crown and Thieves winery. 

The success story has transformed into a popular sit-down restaurant that opened its doors a year ago — and the wood fires have been burning steadily ever since. 

Wood from fruit trees is mainly used to fuel the smoldering fires.

“We use a lot of cherry wood; sometimes we use pear and peach,” says Byrne. 

“Down in the South, the traditional barbecue is with oak or mesquite, but it’s not native to us. It doesn’t make sense to ship the wood up here for that reason, for the amount that we’re burning. We have such an abundance of fruit wood around here.”

Each night at about 8  p.m., the brisket goes into the smoker overnight; it’s about a 12- to 14-hour process. 

“The cool thing about barbecue is it takes a long time and when it’s done and it’s ready, it’s great,” he says. “But when you’re out, you’re out.” 

Byrne is cooking up anywhere from 10 to 14 brisket every night. 

“We use Alberta beef,” he says. “I’m from Alberta, originally from Edmonton, so for me, it is tried and tested.”

The trio of smoked meats includes beef, chicken and a simply scrumptious pulled pork. Add to that a full complement of housemade barbecue sauces and made-from-scratch sides: potato salad, coleslaw, cornbread (with whipped maple butter) and vegan baked beans. 

Then there is the Wonder Bread. 

“We thought it was kind of a fun thing, just basic white bread,” says chef. “That’s how they do it in the South. People often think the bread is there to eat as an accompaniment, but it’s actually a utensil. Maybe there’s a little bit left on the tray or just use it to clean your fingers.

“To me, barbecue is it’s about like excess,” he says. “It’s true you shouldn’t want to you eat it every day, but it’s an awesome treat, and it makes you feel good.”  

As seen in Trends

March 2023 Trends Magazine