A spring tradition at Hannibal-LaGrange University was driven indoors Thursday because of winter-like conditions.
When the grills were being heated up around 2:30 p.m. the temperature was hovering in the low 40s. However, the accompanying wind, which was gusting up to 25 mph, created a wind chill of 33 degrees.
“It’s just really cold and somewhat harsh conditions, but we’ll be fine,” said Megan Shadrick of Hannibal, one of the student participants in the grilling competition which features two grilling teams loaded primarily with university faculty and staff members.
“I participated in this event for five years,” Richard Medina, director of student activities at the university. “This will be the coldest one I’ve ever participated in. I’m excited to see how that goes.”
The grilling was scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m., but by 3 p.m. only a couple of sample pieces of meat had actually gone on a grill. A short time later the decision was made to move the competition inside the Partee Center.
“We just can’t keep the grills hot enough,” reported Medina.
Even though the competition between the Pit Bosses and Grill Masters was moving indoors, both teams still had between 200 and 300 pounds of meat each to cook for the student judges.
“We’ll probably be feeding tonight about 350 people,” said Medina. “This is basically an event we put on for our student body and it’s one of their favorite events on campus. Students leave with full bellies and big piles of meat. They enjoy it.”
Before departing, each student sampler was to be given four tickets. They were asked to vote for the team whose chicken, pork loin, flank steak and salmon was tastiest.
While a friendly competition, more than just bragging rights were up for grabs.
“There’s a plaque we have in the student development office. The winning team’s name gets put on the plaque,” said Medina.
While a student member of the Grill Masters, Shadrick was confident in her grilling ability.
“I am the best,” she said with a smile. “I’m so good that I’m going to make Richard jealous.”
There was no doubt which piece of meat Shadrick enjoys most.
“I like steak because it’s so tasty,” she said. “Steak is pretty easy to cook because you can under-cook it, unlike chicken. You can’t under-cook that. It will make you sick.”