Something called “B.A.’s Hot Dog BBQ and Extravaganza” jumps off the page when you’re looking at schedule when you’re wondering how to spend your Thursday at Sled Island Festival in Calgary. When you get there, it more than delivers. The venue, called the Area, is what amounts to a rundown large wood shed with a good green space outside of it. Today, bands like Cousins, Dog Day and Shotgun Jimmie backed by the Cannon Bros — a definite highlight of the festival — rocked pretty hard, while audience members could buy two cans of beers for $5 bucks.
At the same time, B.A. Johnston, odd-ball pop-rock enthusiast, was in fact BBQing hot dogs for anyone who wanted one. Prairie dog‘s own John Cameron got the V.I.P. price on his dog, so I figured it would be appropriate to send him over to ask Johnston a few questions about everyone’s favourite tube meat.
Is this the first hot dog-related event you’ve done?
No. I’ve actually cooked hot dogs at Sappyfest for the last three of them.
Fantastic! Who is your favourite person you’ve served hot dogs to?
That’s a tough one. There was a pregnant lady. I gave her a deal. I was like, “You’re eating for two.” John Claytor, I guess he’s in charge of Sappyfest, it was his girlfriend or wife. Rick White bought one, which I thought was kinda funny because he weighs eight pounds. It’ll go through his body like an anaconda or something like that.
Are hot dogs a particularly rock ‘n’ roll suitable food?
They’re easy to cook. They’re pre-cooked, so you can’t get anyone sick. I tried to do sausages, serving a blue sausage once. They were like, “Should it be this colour?” and I was like, “Don’t eat that, dude! Noooo!”
Did he eat it?
Yeah, he ate it. It was gone. It was basically like, he unwrapped and he ate it. It was bad.
What’s your favourite brand of hot dogs?
Nathan’s Famous in the States, definitely. The American hot dogs are way better than the Canadian hot dogs. You can’t get them in Canada very often.
I’ve had Chicago dogs.
Like Lester’s? They’re so good. Chicago has great hot dogs.
You’ve been to Chicago, right?
Yeah, the place they have called the Wiener Circle is very good.
There’s something with Jack McBrayer ––
I’ve been sent the link but I haven’t watched it yet.
I’ve seen enough for him to be shouted at.
There’s a YouTube video from Wiener Circle called “Next Bitch in Line” that I highly recommend to people.
I’ll check it out. When you have a hot dog, what do you make sure to put it on it?
Pretty much hot peppers, mustard and sauerkraut. And onions.
If you had to pick a place to serve hot dogs, where would it be?
As long as they’re drunk, man. Anywhere where there’s drunk people with exact change, that’s where you want to be selling hot dogs.