Pork butts, beef and spice-rubbed ribs were smoking Sunday night at the Rome Civic Center, in preparation for today's Knights of Columbus Labor Day barbecue.
Doors open at 10 a.m. and sales go through 2 p.m. — or as long as the meat holds out. People can opt to dine in or carry out, plates or bulk servings, according to Joe Cerrito.
"We'll also have drawings throughout the day for things folks have donated," he said.
Dozens of volunteers will be in the kitchen this morning to plate, pack and serve. Dozens more turned out the night before to handle the traditional slow-cooking.
Mark Gallagher was prepping buckets of ribs outside the small barbecue house. Inside the building, row upon row of beef and pork butts were already sizzling in lines on the massive covered grills.
"They've got paprika, garlic, ginger, onion powder and pepper," Gallagher said, holding up an orange-dusted slab of ribs before laying it in across a fire.
This is the 51st year for the Knights of St. Mary's Catholic Church fundraiser and new crews are emerging. Matthew Wall is now among the team leaders overseeing the vats of Brunswick stew.
"I've been coming about 15 years but this is the first time they've let me do this," he said, stirring a bubbling cauldron in the barbecue house.
Tickets at the door are $10 each for the plates, which feature a choice of beef, pork, ribs or a quarter-chicken. They all come with Brunswick stew, baked beans, chips and bread on the side.
A sandwich combo is $5, and larger single-item packages are available to take home. A pound of beef or pork barbecue or a quart of Brunswick stew can be had for $10. It's $7 for a half-chicken or a quart of baked beans, and a half-rack of spare ribs sells for $20.
While Knights of Columbus leaders haven't kept a running tab, they estimate profits totaling about $250,000 over the years have been donated to local nonprofits serving the community.