State Technical College of Missouri was fired up for a whole steer barbecue Wednesday.
Roughly 400 students, staff and faculty attended State Tech’s Overkill Barbecue at the Osage County Community Center, which featured a steer smoked whole for 38 hours.
Brandon McElwain, director of marketing at State Tech, said the whole 720-pound steer was cooked, but it was barely enough to meet the crowd’s appetite.
“It’s crazy to think how fast we went through all that meat — an entire steer gone in two hours,” McElwain said. “Our students are hungry, and I think they had a good time, and I think next time, we’ll just get a bigger one and go from there. Maybe we’ll have leftovers next time.”
For the first hour and half, there was a consistent line roughly 200 yards long.
Ben Berhorst, dean of the Division of Technology, helped supervise the cooking over the course of two days.
With the help of students, the steer was injected with five gallons of a liquid seasoning mixture and one half was given a dry rub, Berhorst said.
“No one has really seen a piece of meat that big on a grill before so it was pretty cool for everybody,” Berhorst said.
It was then smoked low and slow at 225-250 degrees for 38 hours, with volunteers adding fresh charcoal every 30 minutes.
“It was a labor of love I guess you could say,” McElwain said. “It took a whole two days and a lot of hard work from a lot of people involved, but it was well worth it.”
Berhorst said he was concerned about overcooking some cuts of meat, but the end result was “all good and juicy.”
Most people are advised to eat about half a pound of meat, Berhorst said, but he suspects many State Tech students had more.
McElwain said the idea for a barbecue came up around a month ago and various campus departments came together to make it a success.
The nine-foot grill, for example, was designed and built by State Tech students and staff.
The drafting department designed the grill as part of a class, McElwain said. The college’s welding students then used the designs to fabricate the grill, and precision machining students added the handles and gauges.
Berhorst said it was a fun, albeit unusual, way for the different departments to work together.
Heavy equipment operation students were also involved as they controlled the equipment used to lift the steer into the grill, and the agricultural business department was responsible for acquiring the meat.
State Tech bought the steer at the Osage County Fair earlier in the summer.
By keeping the project in house, McElwain said, there was little cost associated with hosting the event outside of purchasing the steer and other food options.
The barbecue was part of State Tech’s efforts to provide students entertainment every Wednesday, which State Tech President Shawn Strong said helps students feel more comfortable and likely to stay.
As staff began calling it the first annual Overkill barbecue and cookout, McElwain said he would imagine the custom grill will be used again around this time next year, or for other occasions.
“We’re State Tech; we’ll always come up with different reasons to use that grill, that’s for sure, even if it’s the faculty and staff Christmas party,” McElwain said.