The barbecue wars heated up on Saturday, as PCPS students gathered at George Jenkins High and put their skills to the grills.
The event marked the first head-to-head competition of PCPS’ competitive BBQ teams. Students from four high schools — Fort Meade, George Jenkins, Lake Region and Roosevelt Academy — literally proved their chops with a pork chop cook-off.
PCPS first delved into the competitive BBQ scene in 2019, when a team was formed at George Jenkins High. Three other teams have since joined under the banner of the Florida High School BBQ Association, which is overseen by Carl Griffith, a grillmaster and teacher at Lakeland Highlands Middle.
Griffith is working to get other PCPS schools involved in the BBQ association, in an effort to introduce more students to the world of competitive cooking. Saturday’s event at GJHS was an important step in that direction.
The winners of the inaugural cook-off were Bryan Rodriguez-Nava and Michael Romero, representing Lake Region High, the home of the Thunder. Fun fact: The LRHS BBQ team name is Thunder Thighs.
Griffith said he is proud of how all PCPS teams performed at Saturday’s event.
“It was just to give the kids a taste of competition,” he said. “And I tell ya, they ate it up.”