It's no secret people in the Crossroads â€” and West Texas, for that matter â€” are crazy for barbecue, and area cooks will get an opportunity to compete for the title of king of the grill Saturday as the local Eagles Lodge presents BBQ Fest.
The cook-off will feature the best and brightest local grillers and smokers as they go head to head in categories including pork ribs, chicken, brisket and jackpot beans, according to coordinator Paul Moran.
Entry is $10 per team per category, according to Moran, and the money raised by the cook-off â€” which is being held by the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 3188 â€” will benefit the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Crippled Children.
â€śWe're hoping for a big turnout. The plan is to make this an annual event,â€ť Moran said. â€śEveryone has their own take on barbecue, whether it's beef, pork or chicken. They have their own recipes, methods and spices, and we hope this event will serve as a chance for them to show off their skills and, at the same time, raise money for the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital.â€ť
Moran, a past president of the Howard County Scottish Rite Club and who currently handles fundraising for the charity-driven hospital, said he hopes the event will serve two purposes.
â€śI'm really excited about having a chance to raise money for the hospital, and the Eagles have been extremely supportive of the cause,â€ť Moran said. â€śThe Howard County Scottish Rite Club had been dormant for some time, but now we're hoping to get some local folks interested in it again. I'm hoping this fundraiser will allow us to raise money for the hospital while also giving us a chance to educate people on what they do and how important it is we show them support.â€ť
Moran said cooks are required to bring their own means of cooking and ingredients, including meat.
â€śWhether you use a grill, smoker or a crock pot, just bring it with you and we'll get you squared away,â€ť Moran said. â€śEveryone has their own method and I can't wait to see some of the different styles of cooking folks around here have. The local merchants have really opened up their hearts and donated some great prizes for the competition, so it should be a great time for everyone.â€ť
As for those who aren't looking for prizes or bragging rights, Moran said the Eagles have a job for them, as well.
â€śOne of the best parts of a cook-off like this is getting to taste all the different food,â€ť Moran said. â€śI mean, who doesn't like to eat, especially when it's barbecue? We'll have plates for $10 and they will include barbecue, potato salad, cole slaw, beans and bread. It doesn't get much better than that.â€ť
Moran said cooking can begin at the contestant's leisure, but judging will begin at noon.
â€śThere are some folks who like to start before the sun comes up,â€ť Moran said with a laugh. â€śThen there are others who just need an hour or two. They can begin cooking whenever it suits them, just as long as their entry is ready to be judged at noon. We'll also start serving the plates at noon.â€ť
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children is a world leader in the treatment of pediatric orthopedic conditions and strives to improve the care of children worldwide through innovative research and teaching programs, training physicians from around the world. The facility is located in Dallas.
For more information on the cook-off or the Howard County Texas Scottish Rite Hospital club, contact Moran at 928-345-8014. For more information on the hospital, visit www.tsrhc.org