Famous Honey Grove barbecue
Last Saturday, the Honey Grove (KY) Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) held their fall fundraiser. They barbecue twice a year, and it's an event that shouldn't be missed.
The Honey Grove VFD enjoys local renown for their barbecue. Mitchell and Otto, brothers-in law and both in their 70's, are the talents behind the legend. They've been cooking pork shoulders and hams, open pit style, for many years, and they have perfected their methods.
Late in the afternoon, the day before the fundraiser, Mitchell and Otto start the fire. All night long, they keep the fire smoldering with good hardwood (oak and hickory preferred), as they turn and baste the meat. The next morning, they cook some chicken quarters too.
When the pork is done, it's taken inside and pulled apart into shreds for sandwiches. It's always tender, delicious, and a bit greasy. Mitchell has told me that they baste partly with fat, to keep the meat from drying out while cooking.
The fire trucks are moved outside for the day, and tables and chairs are set up in the fire department building. They start selling barbecue around 10 a.m., and by noon, the place is pretty busy with folks stopping in for lunch or carryout. It's a chance to visit with neighbors and to catch up with the local gossip and the doings of the fire department.
If you ask for a plate lunch, you'll get a large Styrofoam plate with compartments. The big compartment will be heaped with barbecued pork (or a chicken quarter,) and the other two compartments will hold your choice of baked beans, potato salad, or cole slaw. You're issued two slices of white bread, and you can pick up a homebaked dessert and a soda when you pay. The plate is just $5, but you are welcome to give more than that.
This time, they were also selling raffle tickets for a nice quilted wall hanging that someone had donated. Usually a business meeting is held in the afternoon, and it's sometimes followed by gospel singing or a bingo. (My kids loved the fire department bingos when they were little!)
I haven't heard how much money was raised this year, but I hope the neighbors were as generous as they could afford to be. The men and women of our volunteer fire departments serve without pay in a vital and dangerous job. At least, the rest of us should support the fundraisers that help them purchase the equipment, suits, and supplies they need.