Time is drawing near for the 57th annual Rockingham Rotary Club Auction and Barbecue, and the grills will soon be ignited to prepare for the big meal.
The event is set for Nov. 6, and barbecue and chicken plates will be sold for $7 each for eat-in, take-out or delivery. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m.
This will mark the second year that Malcolm McLester and his team have taken over the preparation of the chicken that will be served.
“It’s going to be cooked the same day as the auction,” McLester said. “We’ll start at five in the morning and get lunch ready. Then we’ll get cleaned up and go at it again for the night crew. We’ve got a group of about 10 to 12 guys that go work behind the St. James Catholic Church. We really appreciate their help and being able to use their facility.”
He said the group plans to cook 1,400 half chickens for the event, which were donated by Perdue.
“That’s one of the deals that helps us to be able to help local charities here,” McLester said. “They are one of the bigger donators of food and help. We also get help from Walmart on the charcoal. We end up using 100 bags of charcoal and roughly 15 gallons of lighter fluid donated from TOTAL Lubricants.”
He added that the $7 chicken plates are a great deal because each plate holds an entire half of a chicken.
“Most of the time they are so big that they’re hanging off both sides of the plate,” McLester said. “I just love working with the people out there and helping local charities, that’s the biggest thing. And the camaraderie out there — we just go out there and have a bunch of fun.”
Also on the menu are $7 barbecue plates, prepared by Tommy Deese and his barbecue crew. The barbecue veteran said he has been on the grill for more than 40 years.
“This year we’re cooking about 2,200 pounds,” Deese said. “We’ve got the same crew we’ve been having for the last few years.”
On the Monday before the auction, Deese said he plans to begin firing up the grill.
“We stay there and cook all night,” he said. “We’ll chop it up Tuesday morning … We’ve been doing this a long time and everything just starts to fall in place.”
After the event, Deese said, there is very rarely any barbecue left over.
“I just started doing it years ago and I enjoy the people,” he said. “I think it’s for a really good cause. All the money stays in the county and they give it to charities right here at home.”
The event will be held at the Rockingham Armory on Nov. 6.
— Staff Writer Mallory Brown can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.