Grillin’ and Chillin’
Guy Johnston is serving up pulled pork and pepperoni 250 pounds at a time with his fundraising group Grillin’ & Chillin’ BBQ Club. Supplied
If you ever see Guy and his team out in the community serving up pulled pork and pepperoni sticks, do yourself a favour and go buy yourself lunch.
This slow cooked product is mouthwatering delicious and the secret ingredients are like nothing you’ve ever tried. The amazing thing though, its that it's about so much more then just tantalizing your taste buds with pulled pork.
Grillin’ & Chillin’ BBQ Club is a Camrose based non profit organization with a mission to financially assist disabled children in Camrose. Guy Johnston started the club in 2016 and works alongside a team of supporters who do barbecues, fundraisers, and an annual barbecue cookoff. All of the money they raise stays in Camrose and goes directly to disabled children in need to help pay for medical equipment, or other things that would improve the child's quality of life. The club's goal this year is to raise $10,000 to help local families. And with a passion like Johnston's, I believe they’ll do it.
Johnston loves to barbecue, and talks about the relaxed atmosphere that a barbecue creates with friends, neighbours and family. He wants to recreate this for people, and bring the friendly barbecue atmosphere wherever he can. He can talk for hours about the difference for kids and families they aspire to make, and even got choked up telling me what a difference they made for two families last year through the efforts of the barbecue club.
“How can you not help kids?" Said Johnston, and the barbecuing part … I love that too. Every time we put on a function I can’t wait to get at it, it never feels like work”.
When asked why pulled pork, his response was “its something different, something no one else is doing.”
It takes 10-14 hours at 250-275 F to do a batch of pork. He can do up to 250 pounds of pork at a time, thanks to a smoker donated by Meridian Mfg. and two charcoal barbecues donated by Border Paving.
Local is important to Johnston, they keep the money local and buy all of their meat and ingredients locally. There's an entire process to creating the pulled pork, he explains it's so much more effort than just tossing hot dogs or burgers on the barbecue. The pork is injected with a special sauce and then covered with a special rub — both recipes Johnston keeps under lock and key.
He smokes the pork with apple wood and then pulls it apart to serve. He always prepares the meat the day before to allow it to reach its full flavour. Listening to him describe the process, you can tell it is something he is passionate about and takes great pride in.
The pepperoni also gets made the day before and is all made from scratch.
Customers come from miles around to taste his barbecue.
Johnston says the community has been overwhelmingly supportive and the club is blown away by how this concept has taken off.
At one of their recent parking lot barbecues as a customer drove away with their lunch they thanked them for giving back to the community.
“That is exactly why we do what we do,” said Johnston.
The club enjoys the time spent with every customer, and they try to replicate the fun, social, community with good conversation that you’d expect on a friend's deck with a cold drink and a smoking barbecue in summer.
“We can serve that up in a parking lot, and make a difference while we are at it,” he said.
Johnston said he is excited to see what’s in store for the future of the venture. He has had requests from many local businesses and community members to bring the barbecue to them and they’ll do as many BBQ’s as they can. He expects to book up his entire summer with as many functions as possible, all as part of their mission to support kids in the community.
Their biggest fundraiser coming up is the Grillin’ & Chillin’ BBQ cookoff in Ohaton. This is their signature event and takes place Aug. 10-11. Advance tickets will be available for $5 each starting July 1, otherwise its $10 to buy a ticket at the gate. Kids under 10 are free and, It’s free to enter as a BBQ cook off participant. Each participant will get to show off their BBQ skill and create a few meats like beef ribs, pork ribs, and chicken thighs. The cookoff cooking starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. The judging is from 3:30-4:30 p.m. The cookoff is a family event with camping (first come first serve) with kids games and activities that will run throughout the day. And of course pulled pork and a few other barbecue favorites will be served by Johnston.
Bring a lawn chair and enjoy some good local music ranging from country, rhythm and blues to hard rock. The bands start at 5 p.m. and will go late into the night. Featured bands this year are Godfree Black, 103 Cubic Inch, 3rd Degree, Hello Earthlings, and Toxic popcorn. Norsemen Brewing Company will be on site to serve the beer gardens, and shuttle service will be available to and from Camrose. All the money raised goes to help local kids with disabilities.
Want to be involved with this incredible organization? If you know of a child with a disability that could use some extra support, each application will be considered to the discretion of the barbecue club. If you are a business or individual with a passion for barbecue and helping local kids in Camrose, you can also help make a difference by calling Johnston at 780-281-0654. The barbecue club is always looking for new members, and they meet once a month.
Craving pulled pork yet? On June 16 they’ll be serving it up at The Brick, and watch the Grillin’ & Chillin’ Facebook page or www.grillinandchillinbbqcookoff.com for more upcoming events.