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Masters of the grill work behind the scenes

They are behind the scenes at every Friday night football game,battling the elements, caring sometimes for hundreds of people whomay never know their names or the sacrifices they make. Theseunsung heroes are the concession stand grillmasters.

“I’ve been to different schools and seen a lot of concessionstands,” said Sammy Jones as he spread secret seasonings onhamburgers on the grill at Brookhaven High School Friday night.”But this one has always been very busy. I think it’s because thefood is so good.”

The concession stand at BHS is run by the Band Boosters, andfrom the veteran cooks on down to the rookies, the pervasiveattitude is that good food is nothing to be taken lightly.

“All these burgers will be cooked tonight,” said KathieCrawford, who also runs the grill on occasion. “We don’t pre-cookthem.”

Not only is the job one of commitment to excellence, but acommitment of time, too. Crawford said the dedicated concessionworkers get to the field around 4 p.m. sometimes to beginpreparations to feed hundreds of hungry spectators. Kick off forthe football games is not until 7 p.m.

Band Booster officials say 250 hamburgers and 350 hot dogs wereordered for the homecoming game, which took place on Friday. Thatis the most they have ordered or cooked in one sitting.

“It feels like about five or six hundred, maybe even athousand,” Jones said, laughing as he laid more burgers on thegrill.

Brookhaven First Assembly of God Church youth pastor VictorHackney, in the apron for the first time, said he joined the firingline because one of the students in his youth group was in theband.

“I enjoy it because I get to help and serve the school,” hesaid. “I don’t have any secrets that I can share. Just make surethey’re done.”

Jones, who is a grilling veteran in real life but was alsofairly new behind the helm of the BHS grill, said he has specialrecipes he uses at home, and that the concession stand workers havesome of their own.

Dipping his basting brush in a cup full of a dark and mysteriousliquid, then dabbing it on the meat, Jones divulged what was in thecup.

“Dale’s Seasoning,” he said. “And Lowry’s Seasoning Salt.”

Crawford said whether it’s at the game or at home, a good burgeris a matter of knowing how to cook it, and the secret is always inthe seasoning.

“It’s about the marinating,” she said. “Have the meat alreadythawed and make sure you’ve got a good marinade.”

And Jones said among other things, grill gourmet can also beaffected by the type of grill used.

“I’d rather use a gas grill when I cook out,” he said. “Itnaturally gets hot faster.”

Do the dedicated and hardworking grillmasters ever get toindulge in the fruits of their labor?

“I don’t know,” said Hackney. “But I’d prefer to pay for itanyway, because I want to help the school.”