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Experts tout versions of the best hunk of beef

November 09, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — Dwayne Kellum winced at the suggestion.

"I think if people want barbecue sauce they should get a straw," he said.

Kellum doesn't much cotton to people who put barbecue sauce on slices of tri-tip beef.

Since he's a gregarious guy — a Brawley High School booster — Kellum's not going to get too upset over this most basic of culinary affronts to tri-tip, a slow-cooked, marinated hunk of beef.

It's just that Kellum cares about the tri-tip he cooks too much to dull the flavor with sauce.

At Thursday's CowBelles Beef Cook-off, Kellum manned the 8-foot long outdoor grill and slowly cooked more than 750 pounds of tri-tip for 40 minutes for thousands of people from all over the Imperial Valley who filed into Brawley's Lions Center.

While the meat was pre-marinated and bought from Ramey's Meat Market in Brawley, Kellum still felt a proprietary twinge toward the beef.


"It's my name out there," he said to his fellow cooks.

Some of the people who lined up for the beef waited 10 minutes and others waited close to 40.

Later in the evening, as the wait got longer, Kellum was outside working the grill trying to get it to customers faster.

"Let's roll ‘em again!" he said and his fellow volunteers turned the meat.

In past years, Brawley High School boosters have fed tri-tip to more than 3,000 people. This year the number might have been slightly down but there was a definite run on the tri-tip.

Since Kellum is the man responsible for the meat, he was the one taking the heat from the "Monday morning" tri-tip cooks in the crowd.

He knows every barbeque jockey worth his tongs and apron thinks "his" tri-tip is the best.

As Mike Gonzalez of Brawley waited in line, he conceded he has a special recipe for his own tri-tip.

"A lot of lemon," he confided.

Gonzalez said he comes to the event every year and the food is always good.

Another satisfied customer, Luciano Flores, said the tri-tip is the best part of the meal.

"This is my first time here and I'm really impressed with how Brawley comes out and supports their school," Flores said.

Later in the evening, Larry Autry was awarded the silver belt buckle from the CowBelles for his first place "Longhorn Loin" in the cook-off.

This is Autry's second straignt win. His secret?

"Extra virgin olive oil for the marinade," he said.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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