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This Donair Meat Webcam Is Sex

Beauty still exists in the world, in the form of large towers of sweaty meat.
YouTube screenshot

There is nothing more beautiful in the small hours of a drunken night than a piping hot donair.

Strips of moist, spiced beef bundled with lettuce, tomato, and onion, smothered in sweet white sauce, wrapped up in a soft, warm pita. Across the street from my apartment in Edmonton—the Other Donair Capital of Canada—there was a donair shop attached to a liquor store, making the building a necessary pit stop on a particularly good (or bad) day.


But the donair was born in Halifax, and there in its castle at King of Donair it reigns supreme. It punctuates and bookends of the late-night triumphs and tragedies of a Maritimers’ misspent youth. The Halifax donair is an institution and one of Canada’s great culinary triumphs. The only thing better than eating a donair is sitting in the shop watching the tall column of mystery meat rotate hypnotically on its vertical spit. It is at once tantalizing and soothing and primevally unsettling, like country music, or the adult baby sexual subculture.

Fortunately for those of us unable to hang out in person to gawk at spinning meat, Nova Scotia Webcams has teamed up with King of Donair to bring us a 24/7 live feed of their beef tower. The internet has been redeemed.

Just look at this. There is a majesty about this meat. Tall and sturdy, bronzed and glistening in the heat, swiveling in slow motion with blessed indifference to the world. As it roasts from a golden ochre to a burnt umber, you can watch it sweat shimmering fat that drips down the spire into a pan below.

Every now and again someone comes to carve the column down. Traditionally this was done dramatically with a long sword-like knife but here it is accomplished with a hand-held deli shaver. Thin cuts of beef tumble gently into the grease pan before they’re thrown onto a nearby grill, a great mound of donair meat piled up, tossed and fried in its own juices. The fresh cut surface returns to a dry, pale ochre and the roasting process begins again.


Over the course of hours the pillar of beef is whittled down to a thin and crooked pole. It gets sweatier as it slims out, with thick streaks of bubbling grease tracing the ridges of the cuts. A thick, blackened crust of roast meat shaving sits at the base of the tower like a sponge. It is impossible not to wonder what kind of hamburger you could make out of that.

I have been watching this video for three hours and never want to stop. The sweaty meat is meditative. I am holding out to see them change the skewer over because I have stared this long behind the curtain and I want to go all the way. Give me a livestream of the dish pit; put a dashcam at the regional shipping hub. I want a livestream of the abattoir and the staple where they birthed the cow. I want a webcam that takes me out of myself and into the meditative minutiae of human drudgery and the tedium of nature, the rhythmic breathing of the world, the only thing that can soothe my scatterbrained soul, th—oh my God, the guy stopped the machine and took all the meat away. There’s a moment of anxious emptiness before he returns with a robust column of frozen beef. The elements glow to life and we have come full circle.

Damn. I may never eat a donair again, but right now I really need a dart.

Follow Drew Brown on Twitter.