Arrival and Setup
had indicated they would be arriving Friday around 18:00. That would
typically be after their day job was over and they could then rush like
crazy to gather together the supplies and equipment they needed. Then
head out to Twentynine Palms Marine Base as quickly as possible.
I was lucky in
that I had gone into work about 4 hours early and ended up arriving at
the base by 16:30. There standing on the sidewalk adjacent to the
community center was Del. He reviewed the facilities with me and then
guided me into my setup and parking spot for the duration.
I was able to
have everything setup by 17:00 and just sit back to watch all the
subsequent arrivals and their going through the same routine. Tony
McDowell was also there and provided everybody with any needed
information or supplies.
Volunteers Arriving and in Attendance were
Del King and
Gunny (his dog)
Sharon Scott of Papa's Smokehouse BBQ
Brent & Kim
Walton of QN4U BBQ
Todd Eves of
Western Rebel BBQ
(me) of BBQbyDan
attending Junior Reserve Officer Training Candidates (JROTC)
and their group leader.
was on site and relaxing by 19:00. Tony McDowell, Joe Miles, and Linda
Burke were pulling double duty in that they had come directly over to
the community center from the sport field where they had worked with
another group of volunteers all day feeding the troops at the Combat
After most all
folks had arrived Friday evening Tony went out and picked up $60 worth
of pizza for everybody to enjoy. Can you believe there was NO wind (we
have had a lot the last two weeks), the evening temperature was a mild 38-42 (we
have had a cold snap also) , and we had a nice relaxing dinner while
catching up with new and old friendships. Most folks were staying in
the base hotel. John and Sharon were staying in their motor home at
the center. I was sleeping in my van by my pit. However, the
community center remained open all evening for everybody's convenience.
What a very nice thing that was.
everybody started to prep the 19 Briskets that Del had brought. That
probably took 30-45 minutes. We then popped them into my Ole Hickory
and were done with that task for the evening. After that it was just
a matter of wrapping up loose ends, settling in for the evening,
and enjoying the social environment while hanging around a couple
of dollied propane infrared radiant heaters I brought out to stay warm
Preparation and Serving
I got up just
prior to 08:00. Del and Gunny were already up and checking out the
grounds. I checked the briskets and they were done. All 19 went into a
arrived and we made (mostly he) breakfast for everybody. Again thanks to
Tony we had eggs and bacon for all. After breakfast Bill and I started
two 24 quart braziers of Dirty Rice that would feed roughly 300+
folks. We completed that and dropped it into the Cambros. John,
Sharon, Brent, and Glen, then started slicing the brisket which took
about 60-90 minutes. Somebody threw a split turkey into my pit and we
hurried up and got that ready for our 11:00 serving time.
everything was ready to go. The serving line was setup, volunteers in
place, and folks started arriving. Joe Miles and Linda helped with
the serving line a lot and also served. The JROTC volunteers did the
bulk of the serving and hung in there for close to 4 hours. We were told
they opened up the lunch to the base. So, we had a lot of attendees. A
Christmas tree vendor had also contributed 300 trees to the families.
So, not only could the attendees come over and have a nice meal they
also got a nice Christmas tree.
So, after a few
hours most all the planned and prepared food was used up. Tony and the
base folks quickly had to acquire more food from the base facilities.
After all, the lines were out the front door and into the parking lot
with families waiting for a meal! Magically from somewhere more potato
salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, buns, and whatever, appeared. Then the
volunteers built a quick BBQ fire and toasted the buns, and grilled the
burgers and dogs. At the end of the day nobody (that I am aware of)
went away without a meal, most all got a tree, and everybody in
attendance making this event happen had done a great job. It is nice to go
to an event where all the food is used and the attendance was much
greater than expected.
From my low-altitude perspective everything
went great, everybody did a great job, and it went perfectly. I want to
thank Glen and Kyle for doing such a great job and helping wash, clean,
and dry so much of the (my) cooking utensils, that was a big help. Also,
John and Sharon brought out their great looking and very functional
Papas BBQ Rig to provide hardware and facilitation support. And
the JROTC volunteers and staff were the best. Always right
there to help in any way they can to the maximum, as usual.
Del King and
Tony McDowell did a great job of coordinating the event, volunteers,
resources, and ensuring everybody was provided with what they needed to
make everything perfect. I always appreciate being asked to be a part
of these great events.
< Click here to view recent and past
volunteer BBQ Military Cooking activities >
McDowell, who so excellently coordinated both events, provides a
In April as the local representative of the California BBQ
association Tony McDowell was asked to get help to support two
up coming events for our Marines at 29 Palms Ca. The events were
the Combat Challenge (Olympic type games between units of the
base) and the Winterfest (Christmas party for the spouses and
children of deployed troops). This sounded like an easy request.
The Challenge was going to be held in September and the
Winterfest the first week in December. The base wanted just to
serve hamburgers and hotdogs. Tony went to work trying to obtain
help putting these events together.
He contacted Del King who has helped with these events in the
past. He told Del that the base only wanted to serve hamburgers
and hotdogs. Del asked if he could get some brisket donated
would the base be willing to change the menu for the Winterfest.
I told him I would check. I contacted Kelly Coe my POC for the
base for these types of functions. She said that if the meat was
donated she could change the menu. Del asked how many people we
were going to serve. I told him based on history in 2004 we
served 200 people, 2005 we served 250 people with these numbers
as a guide we should plan on 300 people.
Del obtained enough brisket to feed more than that, the plan was
to feed the families and to donate the left over to local
charities. The call went out to CBBQA members and all that
wanted to help. Tony was also notified that the Challenge was
going to be moved to the same weekend as the Winterfest.
The response from the CBBQA members was exceptional, Del who
donated the meat said he would be there and made arrangements
for 7 NJROTC cadets to be there to help. Dan Cannon (BBQbyDan)
contacted me and told me that he and Bill Wight would be there
and asked if he could donate a Dirty Rice side dish for 300
people. Brent and Kim Walton (QN4UBBQ) responded and were
willing to drive from Fresno to help support this event. John &
Sharen Scott (Papa's smokehouse BBQ) from Morongo emailed and
wanted to come and help. Joseph Miles and Linda Burke responded
and volunteered for both events. Glen Stanley contacted me and
said he and his son Kyle would be there to lend a hand. Steve
MacMillan from the local Eagles organization also volunteered
for both events. Thom Emery called to say he would be there.
Friday morning at 9:00am, Tony McDowell (TNTBBQ4U), Joseph Miles
Linda Burke and Steve MacMillan arrived at Victory Field aboard
the base to get ready to serve over 1000 of our Marines for the
Combat Challenge. After the set up of the cooking area and
grills they got right into cooking and went non-stop for the
next 4 hours. During the BBQ Gen Paxton (1st Marine Division CG)
approached Tony and had a short discussion on the support that
the CBBQA does for the base. Tony explained that we normally do
these two events along with support for toys-for-tots and the
big salute in May. He thanked Tony and the CBBQA for all that we
do and that he would pass on to Gen Stone, CG 29 Palms that he
is in good hands with an organization like ours.
After this event Tony McDowell went to the community center to
get things ready to support the Winterfest the next day. After
most of our volunteers arrived Friday evening Tony went to get
pizza for everybody to enjoy. After returning there were even
more friends and helpers waiting to help. Todd Evans (Out of
this World BBQ) came to lend a hand and help where he could. We
all gathered and had a nice relaxing dinner while catching up
with new and old friendships. Most of our volunteers were
staying in the base hotel. John and Sharon were staying in their
motor home at the center. Del and Dan slept in their vehicles
while our NJROTC members slept in tents. As I requested the
community center remained open all evening for everybody's
About 8 pm everybody started to prep the 19 Briskets that Del
had brought. They were then popped them into Dan's, Ole Hickory
Pit. With that all tasks for the evening were done for the
evening. After that it was just a matter of wrapping up loose
ends, settling in for the evening, and enjoying the social
Dan got all 19 briskets into the coolers around 8:00am Saturday
morning. Bill Wight arrived and made breakfast for everybody.
Tony arrived with eggs, bacon and rolls for all. After breakfast
Bill and Dan started two 24 quart braziers of Dirty Rice that
would feed roughly 300+ folks. After preparation they were
dropped into the warmers. John, Sharon, Brent, and Glen, then
started slicing the brisket which took about 60-90 minutes. Thom
Emery asked if he could put a turkey into Dan's pit. All hurried
up and got everything ready for our 11:00 serving time.
At 11:00 everything was ready to go and the serving line was
open. The serving line was setup, volunteers in place, and folks
started arriving. Joe Miles and Linda Burke helped setting up
serving line and also served. The JROTC volunteers did the bulk
of the serving and hung in there for close to 4 hours. We were
originally told to be prepared to serve 300 people between 11:00
and 1:00pm. There was a slight problem the people never quit
coming the line kept getting longer and longer. The original
thought was that this event was for the spouses and children of
those troops deployed however the word got out the CBBQA was
cooking and Padre Junipero Serra High School in San Juan
Capistrano had donated gifts for all the children. People from
the base started showing up along with families from Camp
We were told they opened up this event to the base. So, we had a
lot of attendees. A Christmas tree vendor had also contributed
300 trees to the families. So, not only could the attendees come
over and have a nice meal they also got a nice Christmas tree.
So, after a few hours most all the planned and prepared food was
used up. Tony and the base folks quickly had to acquire more
food from the base facilities. Tom Emery donated his turkey and
that went on the serving line. The base provided more hot dogs
however no hot dog buns John & Sharon Scott (Papa's Smokehouse
BBQ) went to their trailer and didn't hesitate to donate buns
they had in stock along with additional BBQ sauce. It should be
noted this was John & Sharon first event at the base and like
all CBBQA members they didn't hesitate to support and as the
rest of our members they jumped in and helped where needed.
The lines were out the front door and into the parking lot with
families waiting for a meal! Magically from somewhere more
potato salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, buns, and whatever,
appeared. Then the volunteers built a quick BBQ fire and toasted
the buns, and grilled the burgers and dogs. At the end of the
day nobody (that I am aware of) went away without a meal, most
all got a tree, and everybody in attendance making this event
happen had done a great job. After a final tally it was noted
that the CBBQA served over 1200 meals. Talk about being able to
adapt and over come. The CBBQA did it again.