BOAZ, Ala. (WHNT) – Barbecue cook-off competitors from across the country are putting their food battles aside to feed tens of thousands in Oklahoma.
A Marshall County team left for Moore Tuesday afternoon and started serving Wednesday.
The barbecue wizards at Holy Smokes in Boaz don’t want money, they want to help.
“God impressed on us a few years ago that we needed to use our talents. Instead of trying to make money with it, to help others, so that’s basically how this all got started,” Holy Smokes owner Lynn Entrekin said as she smoked 200 Boston butts.
They don’t sell to the public, but instead cook for fundraisers and charity events.
Her team served 30,000 meals after the April 27, 2011 tornadoes, and when tornadoes swept through Joplin, Missouri, one month later, her crew teamed with other self-described barbecue enthusiasts to descend on the town with grills and smokers in tow.
“One of our goals is to be first responders in feeding, like the first responders that are helping in other areas. Some of the larger organizations that feed, it takes them two or three or four days to get on the ground,” Entrekin said.
“One of our biggest goals is to be there first.”
Operation BBQ Relief was born, and along with members across the country they went to the gulf coast after Hurricane Isaac and the east coast after Hurricane Sandy.
“I can’t express how much of a family the barbecue nation is and when we have any type of disaster or anything this family comes together in masses,” Entrekin said.
Once those relief groups get in place, Operation BBQ Relief steps back, but entrekin says the teams will likely stay and continue to cook for a week or two. The team from Marshall County took food for 10,000 people. Other teams are also bringing large quantities.
Entrekin said she expects Operation BBQ Relief to serve 15,000 to 20,000 meals a day as more and more volunteers arrive in Moore.
“They have to eat so we have to feed all of those, we have to make sure that all those people are taken care of,” she said.
If you would like to get involved with Operation BBQ Relief, as a volunteer or to donate meat or money, visit their website here.