Poteet’s BBQ team participates in the first high school kitchen and heads to the state
The Poteet High School BBQ team has already earned their way to statehood after steaming up the competition at the Texas High School BBQ Cook-Off in Tilden on March 26. This was their first competition in high school. Winner of second place overall, the Poteet Strawberry Smokers placed first with their chicken and second with their ribs and brisket. They also had a fourth place brisket and an eighth dessert.
Team members Julia Smith, Haley Hammonds, Hannah Camarillo and Briana Garcia are led by mentor Kenneth Hammonds and trainer Kevin Sparks, who also teaches food science and animal science at Poteet ISD.
“I participated in many competitive extracurricular events throughout high school, but being on the barbecue team is definitely one of my favorites,” Smith said. “It allows me to learn technical skills, communication skills (with my team) and to understand the value of hard work. My team and I have been training for several months, and coming to State our first year with a barbecue team is very special for us.
The state competition will be held at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock, April 29-30.
Less than two months prior, the January 29 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Junior Pitmaster Challenge was the team of four’s first-ever competition. There, the team placed seventh in ribs and 10th in chicken and breast.
“Being part of this team taught me the importance of teamwork as well as expanding my leadership skills,” said Hayley Hammons. “Being able to follow the advice of mentors and follow their advice to make these events successful has been an incredible experience. The benefits of joining this team have also been a bonding experience with my family and classmates that will create memories for life.
Being their first year, Sparks says he is still trying to expand the program. Community members can help by making donations or even making a financial contribution in exchange for a meal cooked by the team. Sparks is prepared to provide catered meals at cost. Donors would be welcome to make an additional donation of whatever they would like to give to support the team.
“The reason I started was because I wanted to teach kids a skill they could use for the rest of their lives,” Sparks said. “And so learning to prepare and cook on their own is something they could always have.
“I can’t thank our trainer Mr. Sparks enough,” Smith added, “especially because now I can say I cook better brisket than my dad!”
The Poteet Strawberry Smokers are having a fundraiser at the Backyard Kitchen in Poteet at the end of May. More details to come. If you would like to donate or purchase a meal prepared by this award-winning barbecue team, please contact Kevin Sparks at 830-200-1175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.