BBQ enthusiast Walter can’t wait to bring taste of Deep South to Dundee

Walter MacAulay with his custom-made Big Bertha smoker barbecue.

A businessman with the largest mobile barbecue in Scotland says he’s relishing the opportunity to bring a taste of the US to Dundee.

Walter MacAulay, 52, and his wife Ariane, 56, have been cooking up a storm with their custom-made Big Bertha barbecue.

The smoker barbecue cost more than £10,000 to build and ship from Texas, and it can grill 750 meals at a time.

Five metres long by three metres tall, Big Bertha uses the “low ’n’ slow” barbecue method, which originates from the Deep South.

Speaking today from his home in Piperdam, Walter said his Wild & Smokey business is keen to make Bertha a more regular visitor to the City of Discovery.

The mobile cooking apparatus has been used to serve up food at St Andrews University, Montrose Farmers Market and Angus Summer and Spring Festival.

Ariane and Walter cooking.

He said: “I first got the idea when I visited the States and Canada in the early ’80s. Barbecues were massive there and I’ve had interest in barbecuing ever since.”

The former IT worker, who had previously run a pub near Stirling, decided to turn his barbecuing passion into a reality after watching a TV programme on the Food Network.

He added: “I’d been watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and I saw one of these American smokers and I thought, I want one of them.

“The Big Bertha cost me more than $13,000 — it was made especially for me. The guy in Texas took a couple of months to build it.

“I had to get it shipped and had to change it to become European standard, so it’s cost a few pounds.

“We started trading in March of this year — we’ve only been to Dundee University for a Caribbean night.

“We would be keen to get down to events such as West Fest and the Dundee Flower and Food Festival in the future as well.

“When people see Bertha they think she is absolutely marvellous — she’s a talking point and she’s always been well received.

“It’s all theatre — she wafts smoke and then you open the big heavy doors, which my wife can’t even open. You see the food, slowly but surely, cooking.”

Big Bertha can cook meat as a big as a 12kg pork shoulder.

Walter said: “It’s what they call an offset reverse slow barbecue. That means the fire sits on the taller part of the barbecue and the smoke goes along the pipe and bathes the food in smoke. As far as I’m aware it is the biggest in Scotland.

“There is a similar one I’ve seen in London, but, as far as I’m aware, she is the biggest north of the border. We also have Black Betty, which is slightly smaller, and she can produce about 150 meals.”