Chico High students display unique barbecue barrel designs at annual cook-off

Chico >> A sweet smoky haze filled the air as Chico High School welding students showed off barbecue skills Friday afternoon at their seventh annual cook-off.

This year hundreds of community members, parents and friends of the students got their fill from over 52 unique barrels, with student-made smokers taking the form of everything from a towering tin man to an oak wine barrel. Samples were free but some students hoped to make a profit by selling their creations.

Junior Ben Cleveland, who was serving up tri-tip seasoned with Tapatio and smoked along with peppers, warned everyone with outreaching hands that his dish was spicy. Now in the advanced welding class, he quickly realized his knack for the trade.

“Right away my teacher saw I had a passion for it,” Cleveland said.

The tall tin man smoker belonged to junior Bailey Moore, whose inspiration came while watching the Wizard of Oz with his grandmother, he said. Moore, who was cooking up pork shoulder, said he hoped to sell his cooker for $1,500. Around noon Moore said he had lots of good feedback but no offers yet.

In the future, he hopes to turn welding into a career and work on skyscrapers.

While most students cooked up various meats, some opted for other smoked foods.

Junior Bailey Moore served up smoked cheddar from her barrel with a Ford insignia. She used the welding department’s brand new plasma cutter to make the logo.

“You can make whatever comes to you,” she said.

The barrels showed the…

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