News Column

Elkmont Lions Club to host annual barbecue cook-off

June 15, 2014

By Lora Scripps, The News Courier, Athens, Ala.

June 15--Grills will be smoking this Friday and Saturday in Elkmont as competitors put their barbecuing skills to the test in the annual Smokin' Railroad Street Barbeque Cook-off.

The backyard competition, hosted by the Elkmont Lions Club, will kick off at 6 p.m. Friday with live music.

The cook-off portion of the event begins Saturday morning.

Vendors will be open at 8 a.m. Saturday and an antique tractor show will also take place.

People's Choice tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday. Tickets are $1 and the tasting starts at 11 a.m. in the Red Caboose. Winners will be announced at 2:30 p.m. or as soon as possible Saturday. The winner will receive a plaque and $100.

Concessions including barbecue plates and sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs will be available Saturday.

Barbeque Cook-off organizer Susan Pylant said Friday that 26 competitors have signed up so far -- 11 for the first time in the competition.

The cook-off was the idea of Larry Pylant, Susan's husband and a Lions Club member. He and his wife had attended a few cook-offs and thought it would be neat to have one in Limestone County. The Lions Club talked about having a cook-off in February 2011. It was voted on in March of that year and by May the competition was underway.

According to Susan Pylant, the cook-off started in 2011 only two weeks after the April 27 tornadoes. Organizers thought of canceling the event, because of the destruction and loss in East Limestone and Tanner, but decided to carry on hoping it would offer a chance for the community to get their mind off things.

In 2011, nine competitors took part in the competition. Five years later, that number has nearly tripled, according to Pylant, and the competition is part of the Alabama Barbecue Trail.

"It's grown each year," she said, adding people have come from as far south as Theodore and from all over Alabama and southern Tennessee. "We only do backyard," Pylant said. "We don't do professional."

Some local competitors include Joseph Down and Doug Swain.

Proceeds from the event go to the Lions Club to help with civic activities such as purchasing eyeglasses and eye exams for students in the Elkmont school district and two $1,500 scholarships for Elkmont seniors. The Lions Club also helps to send children to Seale Harris, a camp for children with diabetes.

Pylant believes the cook-off is a fun event for Elkmont and Limestone County. "We've got a cute little town," Pylant said. "There's a lot of history up here. We're trying to promote our town and bring people from all over here."

Pylant looks forward to the competition.

"We are blessed that the town of Elkmont helps sponsor the event," she said.

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Source: News Courier (Athens, AL)

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