Texas Pitmasters Serve Barbecue with a Side of Compassion

Pitmasters have descended on North Texas to serve barbecue to hundreds of victims, volunteers and first responders in Garland and Rowlett.

"A lot of people re-do roofs, they clean the streets, they hang up power lines. We're all barbecue cooks," said Bryan McLarty, Texas coordinator of Operation Barbecue Relief.

The nonprofit travels wherever disaster strikes. The group was in Joplin, Mo., and Moore, Okla., after the devastating tornadoes there.

"We've seen the faces of disaster. We've been in different areas. This is our way to provide a hot meal for the people that are out working or that have been affected," McLarty said.

Operation Barbecue Relief's mission is simple.

"Provide a hot meal for them, at least to give them some refreshment," McLarty said. "We can't change the situation, but hopefully we can try to change their day."

Despite the need to continuously churn out food, Operation Barbecue Relief does not cut corners.

Pork butt and brisket are cooked in true Texas fashion: low and slow.

"We fill the cambros up with hot meals and then just deliver them to the affected areas – those that are in need, people that have lost everything," said Scott Bagg.

The group has been working in Rowlett since Monday. They deliver the food using vans and all-terrain vehicles. With hundreds of homes destroyed, and a wave of volunteers continuously coming in, the group stays busy all day and night.

"Since we started, we've done over 12,000 meals," McLarty said. "We put on about 2,200 pounds of meat a night and we've been here three nights."

Mobilizing several industrial smokers and dozens of volunteers can be arduous, but McLarty said every victim, volunteer and first responder fed makes this labor of love worthwhile.

"It takes a lot to get down here and put it all together, but when you know who you're feeding you put a lot of love into that food," said McLarty.

For more information about Operation Barbecue Relief click here.

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