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Grilling for veterans

Community: Barbecue enthusiasts put their skills to the test in competition to benefit VFW Post 6885

Posted: August 22, 2010 7:39 p.m.
Updated: August 23, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Newhall resident Nathan Quick received third place for his pork shoulder at the BBQ Cook Off event at the VFW Post 6885 in Canyon Country on Saturday afternoon. All money collected at the event is going toward the remodeling of the posts’ kitchen.

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The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6885 on Sierra Highway was filled with the aromas of perfectly seasoned meats on Saturday. The BBQ Cook Off was held in an effort to raise money for the VFW in the hopes that they will be able to afford a new kitchen, said event planner Pam Bernardi.

“I just feel that our veterans deserve the very best,” Bernardi said. “So if I can help them achieve things and keep this post running and give them a place to come and enjoy themselves, then that’s what I’m after.”

Experienced and amateurs alike were smoking and grilling in hopes of claiming some bragging rights at the end of the day.

Jim Schaffert, owner of Santa Clarita-based company Grills on Wheels, noted that the atmosphere at the cookout was one of camaraderie, despite the competition.

“It’s a great group of people who are excited to come out here have some fun and cook some food,” he said. “We’re really happy to be here.”

Schaffert was serving raspberry-glazed chicken which he cooked for about four hours. The time was well worth it, he said, as barbecue is a waiting game.

“Good barbecue is low and slow — don’t rush it, just cook it slow,” he said.

Friendly ribbing and advice giving added to the cordial air between barbecue enthusiasts, especially since old-fashioned barbecues are not the norm in this part of the country, said Scheffert.

“Here in Southern California (barbecuing) is a very, very small community. It’s actually nonexistent,” he said. “So the more people we can get involved in events like these I think the better for the sake of barbecue.”

The good food went hand-in-hand with the good cause for Samantha Sevryn, who traveled from Acton to take part in the festivities. The 22-year-old said she showed up because veterans have sacrificed so much and this was a way of giving something back.

“They contribute a lot to our country; they’ve given their lives; they’ve given up a lot of their freedom for us,” she said.

“They’ve been away from their families for years just so that we can be with our families.”

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