A new county rib champion was decided Saturday with the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department besting the county police department at the second annual Public Safety BBQ Cook-Off.
Each team served up a rack of ribs, attempting to woo both consumers and a panel of judges to earn the coveted trophy, which was awarded to the Prince George’s County Police Department last year. The event was held at The Boulevard at The Capitol Centre in Largo as part of the Community Expo, an event featuring live music performances and food.
“It was a very festive atmosphere,” fire/EMS department spokesman Mark Brady said.
A panel of judges, which featured community members and Timothy Dean, a competitor on the “Top Chef” reality show, tasted each team’s ribs and by a 4 to 1 vote, the fire department was awarded the 2013 championship.
Kirk Ingram, District Heights’ volunteer Fire/EMS chief, said he was happy his first try cooking for the team netted a win.
Attendees could sample the ribs for $5 a plate with the $580 proceeds being split equally between the departments. The fire department plans to put its funds toward the purchase of smoke alarms to give to the needy, Ingram said.
“It’s good just being part of the fire department and giving back to citizens,” Ingram said.
The police department’s funds will be used for the Prince George’s County Police Law Enforcement Explorers, which is a program with activities for youth between 14 to 20 years old interested in law enforcement.
Cpl. Haris Johnson, a county police officer in District 2, serving the Bowie area, said he was happy for the fire department’s win and that the police department would be back next year.
Johnson was the police department’s chef and won the cook-off trophy last year. He said the event was a great way for both departments to get out into the community not as responders, but as people.
“It’s the best way to see the community so they see that we are human and raise money for charity to keep kids off the street,” Johnson said.
Garry and Lisa Allen of Lanham said they tried both ribs, but the married couple disagreed on the best selection, with Garry Allen backing the fire department’s ribs while Lisa Allen voted for the police. The couple said they appreciated the county groups having a community event instead of just putting out a bucket for money.
“It gets you involved,” Lisa Allen said. “This is showing us there is a reason for the money.”