Smokin’ good time
Linwood Lions Club celebrating 50th year of helping others
When it comes to barbecue, the secret is in the sauce.
However, the Linwood Lions Club -- master grillers at 40 consecutive years of community barbecue feasts -- aren't so shy about divulging the ingredients behind theirs.
"It's no big secret," said Howard Jones, a Lions Club member and coordinator of Saturday's annual barbecue. "It's just that none of us can remember it until we get the piece of paper in our hands. Heck, if anybody wants to come out to my place, I'll give it to 'em."
For the record, the sauce Lions Club chefs glazed more than 500 chickens with Saturday is comprised of oil, vinegar, Tabasco, dry mustard, chili powder and other assorted spices. It was the brainchild of a Kansas State poultry expert, and the recipe was handed down from another club in the state to the Linwood organization.
The sauce and delivering a mouth-watering dinner are the rare common denominators for the annual feast.
On Saturday afternoon, more than 400 people were treated to a delicious meal courtesy of the 40th annual barbecue.
As in year's past, the Lions Club earned rave reviews from people dining on their smorgasbord of down home Kansas cooking. But, earning compliments isn't why the 20 club members worked on this sweltering day.
With temperatures nearing 100 degrees, and even higher for the cooks working the barrage of large grills, Lions Club members had little more on their minds other than helping the community.
Funds from Saturday's event -- the Lions Club earned approximately $2,000 Saturday -- go toward paying for two annual scholarships to college-bound, Linwood area high school seniors. Throughout the year, the organization also supports local Boy and Girl Scout troops and participates in other community-oriented activities.
"The Lions Club is for giving back through the community," member Gary Bennett said. "It's the main credo."
And in Linwood, the group has been living up to that credo for a long time. As best members can recall, they've been hosting the barbecue since the 1960s. This year, the organization itself is celebrating its 50th anniversary, making it one of the longest-standing community service groups in the area.
Jones, a member of 43 years, said the organization began after a Linwood-area ball coach promoted the club's founding.
Bennett said anyone interested in participating in the group is welcome to join.
"We're always looking for new members," he said. "Any Linwood resident is welcome to join. There is no age limit, and it's open to men or women. We'd love to have them."
Times may change for the Lions Club, and over the group's span of five decades, they sure have, but organization members said one thing remains a constant. Each year, they'll host the barbecue, and visitors can expect the same time-tested sauce.
"Same one," Jones said. "We try to stay with a winner."