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New rotisserie setup offers same great baron of beef

Re-buit rotisserie simplifies beach-front Tea Party cooking

After decades of rotisserie work, the baron of beef booth’s barbecue was in need of a little love after last year’s Tea Party.

A few bits were used in the shining new cooker that “pit boss” Rob Westfall will put to the test this weekend.

The chain is re-used from the previous rotisserie and the sprockets are purchased, but the rest is hand-built by public works mechanic Todd McFarlane, with a little help from coworker Jurrien Wetselaar.

“A lot of people threw ideas at me, I just weaved through and picked the ideas I though were good,” said McFarlane.

It’ll be easier for the “pit boss” to handle the meat with the tweaks to design, such as the route of the chain that turns the skewers as the succulent roast beef is barbecued for roughly 2.5 hours right on Willows beach.

“It’s more simple. It’s going to make my job so much easier,” Westfall said.

McFarlane designed the barbecue with a rotating row of rods that hold multiple hunks of meat, in a way they could more easily be removed one at a time. Previously they had to stop everything when pulling the ready beef.

“When you’re changing out the meat, you can now take one to three rods of meat off,” McFarlane said.

The chain keeps rolling, and so do the remaining roasts.

“The flavour will be the same, it’s the basting that makes it taste so good,” Westfall said. The flavour features dark beer from the Penny Farthing with a little pepper, garlic, sage and salt.

For McFarlane, the beach barbecue project was a departure from the routine work of, for example, repairing handrails in the community. Important tasks, but not as fun.

“Once in a while I do something for Oak Bay, and this is one of them, that makes you proud,” he said.

His handiwork also graces the front entrance of the Rose Garden on Newport.

Tea party treats

In addition to the famous baron of beef, a variety of tasty treats will be available all weekend at the Oak Bay Tea Party.

Esquimalt Lions’ inaugural pancake breakfast at the Oak Bay Tea Party from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Royal Oak Lions Club sells corn next to the baron of beef booth.

Oak Bay Kiwanis Tea Room is always open for business with a limited menu that includes hot dogs, French fries and frozen treats.

Celebrating the longest corporate sponsor, Girl Guides serve tea in the Tetley Tea tent.