The old Southern-style barbecue pit behind the dance hall in Millheim used to be one course of cinderblock above the ground with a pit dug several feet underneath. But the distance between the coals and meat was too close—the dripping fat kept creating flare-ups that had to be doused with water or smothered with sand. And the low pit meant a lot of backbreaking bending and lifting too. So for this year's barbecue, the pit was built up a little higher. The new structure resulted in more smoke and less fire—the old-timers thought the meat tasted smokier too.
The Annual Father's Day BBQ has been held at the old German Dance Hall in the ghost town of Millheim for the last 80-something years. This was my third visit.
The meat was not only smokier, it was very juicy this year. The beef shoulder clod was especially great. And I always love to eat barbecued mutton because the traditional East Texas barbecue meat is getting so rare.
My kids loved the polka music, the homemade cake for dessert, and the bean bag toss. They wanted me to bid on the pair of parakeets for sale in the auction, but Mom vetoed that idea.
I donated an autographed copy of Barbecue Crossroads to the auction--the book has several photos from past years of the Millheim barbecue. It was a special treat for me to see my book, which celebrates community barbecues, on sale at one. The next community barbecue is 4th of July in Keeney—check the Community BBQ Calendar at ZenBBQ.com for details—and feel free to add comments with information about your own community BBQ event.