John R. Kowalski Integrative Marketing Fusion

Smoke on the Mountain

Smoke on the Mountain

Smoke on the Mountain

A Successful Fundraising Event for The Lone Oak Volunteer Fire Department

This past October the Lone Oak Volunteer Fire Department (my department) was invited to participate in Smoke on the Mountain, a fundraising event that included a BBQ competition, music, beverages, food, and more to benefit a neighboring civic league and our fire department. And yes, we are, and I do live, on a mountain. Signal Mountain in Tennessee, to be exact.

Smoke on the Mountain was a great success and we raised over $4,500 for our volunteer fire department! This money will go towards truck and equipment maintenance as well as allow us to get some new hoselines we desperately need. We want to thank everyone who came out and supported us. We would also like to give a special thanks to the organizers of the event, the Walden’s Ridge Civic League, for inviting us to participate.

Fire Department Fundraising Ideas & Importance

Fire department fundraising, specifically for volunteer departments is critical to maintaining operations. Did you know that approximately 65% of fire departments in the US are volunteers? And to maintain equipment and operations, fundraising is always important.

For more information on this, see my Fundraising & Grant Submissions post.

Casting the First Stone

kids grill

It started at an SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus, or air pack) fit test where a chief from our neighboring department, Walden’s Ridge Emergency Services, was with us. Talk of the BBQ competition began and the immediate trash-talking started. Me being from the north (Michigan) was told I don’t know s&!# about BBQ. By no means am I professional, but I can definitely hold my own and can compete on a local level. I proceeded to cast the next stone… a kids’ BBQ setup with the nice note, “Here’s a little something for you and your WRES buddies to practice up on.”

So then I began the process of developing our Lone Oak Volunteer Fire Department Signature Sauce. One Saturday I worked up three different sauce bases for the department to vote on. They went with my sweet & smokey concoction. From there, I did a pork butt test run and as usual, it turned out perfectly. An ideal balance of smoke, seasoning, and juiciness. In addition, it was time to perfect the sauce and come up with an alternative spicy version. The department was wow’d and the recipe was finalized.

Next up I decided to prep for a roasted chirmol (Guatemalan charred salsa) that I can make when the pork butts rest. It’s a simple recipe that grills tomatoes, onion, garlic, and jalapenos and then blends them with parsley, olive oil, oregano, lime juice, and some salt and pepper.

I’m also going to make beforehand some pickled jalapeños for added heat and presentation.

The Event

Wow is all I can say. Since I’ve been with the department (going on 6 years), this was by far the most successful and most fun event we’ve been involved with. It was great being next to Walden’s Ridge Emergency Services well. They cooked up quite the spread!

At first I was a little worried… I wasn’t exactly sure or if I could fit 4 pork butts in my Kamado Joe. But with the extender rack I was able to get them all in there. Three on the bottom (one on its side) with the fourth on the extender rack. Got the temp stabilized around 240 F and got them on. We monitored the temp through the night. It got cold but we had a nice campfire to keep us warm (along with a few beverages). It took 15 1/2 hours to get the internal temp to 200 F, then pulled, wrapped and rested them. While they were resting I roasted the vegetables for the chirmol, then made that.

Once rested for an hour or so, we pulled one and shredded it for our table selling food and it went fast. Pulled the second one and did the same. Saved the last two for plating for the 6 judges then the rest went to our food table.

And after it was so much fun! Made some new friends, learned some techniques and ate some amazing food.

My LOVFD Recipes

Enjoy, modify, and share to spread the BBQ love.

LOVFD Sweet & Smokey BBQ Sauce

      • 2 onions, 2 carrots, 3 stalks celery (sautéed in a little olive oil until medium charred)

      • 6 TBS packed brown sugar

      • 1/2 C apple cider vinegar

      • 1/4 C molasses

      • 1/4 C honey

      • 1/4 C Worcester sauce

      • 4 TBS whiskey

      • 2 TBS yellow mustard

      • 1 TBS liquid smoke

      • 2 sprinkles of dry mustard

      • 1 TBS chili powder

      • 2 tsp black pepper

      • 2 tsp garlic powder

      • 2 tsp onion powder

      • 1 tsp allspice

      • 1/4 tsp cloves

      • 4 C ketchup

      • Salt to taste

    Spiced Up Option (add to the above)

        • 2 tsp white pepper

        • 2 tsp cayenne pepper

        • 2 tsp red chili flakes

        • 1 TBS Tobasco sauce

      Spiced Mexican (add to the above)

          • Chipotle peppers

          • Mole seasoning

        Roasted Chirmol (Guatemalan Charred Salsa)

            • 6 Roma tomatoes

            • 2 medium onion

            • 4 cloves garlic

            • 2 jalapenoa

            • Bunch fresh parsley

            • Handful fresh oregano

            • 2 TBS lime juice

            • Salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste

          Grill, chop or blend, season, enjoy!

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