I work at the Clear Lake, Texas plant and volunteer with a program called “BBQ For Our Troops.”
BBQ for Our Troops is a non-profit, volunteer initiative “To honor those who protect our freedoms, and their loved ones, with the hospitality of the uniquely American meal of barbecue.” Why does this mean so much to me? I get the honor of cooking and serving your typical backyard barbecue picnic of meat and sides, active duty American soldiers and wounded soldiers.
This is the fourth time I’ve helped with the project and the second time my daughter and son volunteered to help. We arranged to take our custom smoker trailer to meet up with two other barbecue teams at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX.
The menu? Six hundred forty pounds of beef brisket; 300 pounds of sausage, bread, baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, and beverages. Since the brisket takes up to 14 hours to cook, we immediately set up our impromptu cooking site on the Army base, seasoned the brisket and put it into the smoker to cook overnight. The next day we cooked the beans and sausage and served them with the sliced brisket to approximately 1,200 soldiers. The army even arranged for food trays to be taken to those in the Wounded Warrior wing at the base hospital.
Many of the soldiers had never eaten Texas-style barbecue but loved it and said they hoped to have it again. Several came by the cooking smokers as we cleaned up, asking for cooking and smoking pointers.
I was particularly proud that I and my children had the opportunity to thank these service men and women. Hopefully this experience instilled in my children sense of the duty and an understanding of the sacrifice these soldiers make. This was my children’s second time to get to help and they loved it. “When can we help cook for our soldiers again?”
If you are interested in having the same experience I encourage you to explore their website (http://www.bbqforourtroops.com) or find a similar program where you can give back. It’s good for your community, it’s good for your family and I guarantee you’ll find that it’s good for you.