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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chicken Barbeque Dinner

Summertime is filled with so many wonderful food events! They range from family picnics, fruit based socials, ribfests, fish fries to full blown large community events. The common theme is good food mixed with the social aspect. Quite often they are put on by local service clubs, church groups and other groups as a fundraiser. Behind the scenes these events are often organized and manned by a large number of volunteers.

chicken on the barbequeThe Barbeque

We attended a chicken barbeque fundraiser organized by a service club last weekend. This barbeque is part of a considerably larger annual event and has competition from other service club food fundraisers. These included a steak dinner and several hot dog/hamburger fundraisers along with other commercially operated food booths. Competition means the food has to be both good and reasonably priced!

This year the cap for the chicken barbeque was 800 dinners and they sold out, so this is a rather large food event. The dinner consisted of a chicken leg with bac attached, baked potato, corn on the cob, coleslaw, sliced cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, rolls and condiments for $11 per plate. Preparing that many meals takes a lot of organization, preparation and even more volunteers.

Pictured is one of three huge propane barbeques the chicken was barbequed on. Each holds two large 2-sided mesh screens. The chicken pieces is sandwiched between the two screens. The chicken is barbequed on one side then then the screens are flipped for cooking on the other side. It takes two people to turn these screens! No sauces or seasoning are used on the barbequed chicken so it is just pure chicken flavour with a wonderful smokiness.

It is hot and heavy work for the volunteers who barbeque the chicken to perfection. The large barbeques throw off a lot of heat and quite often the day is hot with little to no shade. Once the chicken is cooked it is transferred to special foil lined bins ready for plating.

barbeque chickenBarbequed Chicken

The tantalizing smell of the barbeque chicken fills the air long before you get to the huge tent! This particular fundraising barbeque is organized so you line to pay first then pick-up your paper plate, serviette and cutlery. The line then goes along a series of food stations. The line moves slowly depending on the number of people but it is a pleasant wait.

The first stop is the chicken ready for plating in large foil lined bins. A volunteer places a piece of chicken on your plate. The next stretch holds the baked potatoes (unwrapped by a volunteer), rolls, cucumbers, coleslaw, tomatoes and condiments. Following that is the corn station where the foil wrapped cob of corn is unwrapped by another volunteer. The final stop before finding a spot to sit under the tent is for soft drinks.

sliced tomatoesSliced Tomatoes

Several volunteers ensure the sides are prepped and trays stay full for the hungry diners. A few steps away from the U-shaped serving zone there are smaller food prep areas set up. Under the tables and on tables within the U-shape were generous supplies of butter, salt and pepper packets and rolls for restocking. Just inside near the chicken large hot bins held baked potatoes. The commercially made coleslaw was in 2.5 gal plastic pails.

More volunteers hand slice locally grown tomatoes and cucumbers. Just look at how gorgeous those tomato slices are! The tomato prep area was a banquet sized table so about 4' x 8'. From one end to the other there was nothing but tomatoes. It was indeed a beautiful sight! The cucumber prep station (not pictured) was the same size although it was not end to end with cucumbers. The cucumbers were peeled then sliced ready for the trays. Trays of tomato and cucumber slices went from the prep area to the serving area.

corn on the cobCorn on the Cob

The sweet corn on the cob is cooked in a special broiler (2) inside a huge metal basket (1, 2). This is hot, heavy work manned by two volunteers. I would hazard a guess that the basket holds about 6 dozen ears of corn all hand husked by volunteers. Once the corn is cooked each cob of corn is wrapped in tinfoil then placed into a insulated box where it stays warm until serving.

If you get a chance to enjoy an foodie fundraiser event I'm sure you will enjoy the food immensely. It's one of the best ways to spend a few summertime hours. While there take a moment to look around and enjoy all the sights, sounds and efforts that go into putting on such an event. Organizing such an event can easily be a year long process. It is indeed really quite impressive!

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