Experienced chili cooks unite for a good cause
“My grandfather made barbecue sauce, so I grew up knowing the bridge good food could provide," Mullen said.
He still makes that barbecue sauce, a 104-year-old recipe, for a good cause.
“Chili competitions and charities go hand in hand," Mullen said.
Mullen and his team of 10 have competed in many of those contests, but their Super Bowl each year is the Suncoast Barbecue & Bluegrass Bash.
“It takes us a week to make enough chili, say between 10 and 20 gallons, to compete in an event like that," Mullen said.
Mullen says this past year it raised over $90,000 for the Suncoast Foundation, benefiting children with disabilities.
“That’s one of the warmest feelings you’ll ever feel. You’re doing something for people who can’t," Mullen said.
Team members range from his coworkers at Batteries Plus Bulbs to retired law enforcement officers. Lee Himes says the 10 of them make the perfect recipe for success.
“Last year we took 1st place in people’s choice, and that was our goal in the long run," Himes said.
They go above and beyond, from the natural spices, to the fresh bacon.
“The bacon is made from scratch and starts with the pork belly. It takes ten days to just cure it and smoke it," Himes said. "Patience and love, man, that’s really what it boils down to.”
They make the time to do it because they know what it can do for others.
“We’re just looking for more. We’re capable of doing more than we do, and we know it," Mullen said.
He and Himes have a website you can visit here.