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Al's Grill Team, pictured here with the new, custom-made trailer that is used to prepare barbecue for ACS company functions, charity events and barbecue competitions. Foreground, Allen and son Jay Arvig. Peering from within the mobile kitchen, Bob Schultz, Dana Andrews and Mike Schmelz.

Big Al's 21st century 'chuckwagon' is a modern marvel

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As far as chuckwagons go, the new "Big Al's Grill Team" mobile kitchen is a marvel of modern technology.

The Grill Team rig was on display, and in action, for the Tuffy's Classic Golf Tournament August 7 at the Perham Lakeside Golf Course and Mulligan's.

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The custom-made trailer is 50 feet long, with complete kitchen facilities. It also includes living quarters for Allen Arvig's chuckwagon crew.

Cooking--and eating--is a hobby for Arvig, who with his team has been preparing and serving barbecued beef, chicken, pork and even wild boar for about 13 years.

The Grill Team is in action about 18 times a year, mostly for Arvig Communication Systems employee functions and parties. The team also works several charity events a year--such as the Tuffy's Classic.

The Grill Team's origins date to an Arvig company picnic, where they cooked on a rusted out grill. With each year, the team added equipment, expertise and experience.

The team has not had a caterer's license, so they cannot sell food preparation services on a commercial basis, said team member Jay Arvig. However, they are working on certification, he added.

"It really is still a hobby for us, but the catering license makes everything legal," said Jay Arvig.

Specializing in Kansas City Style barbecue, the Grill Team also competes at numerous barbecue competitions. One of the team's crowning achievements to date is a second place finish in the barbecue rib competition--out of 400 entries--at the prestigious Kansas City Royal Cook-off.

Judging is meticulous, according to Allen Arvig, and is based on three main criteria: appearance, taste and tenderness.

Even though the cooking equipment is high-tech and modern, Al's Grill Team operates much like a chuckwagon crew of the old west. They even cook with wood--which is a trademark of the Kansas City style of barbecue.

At the Tuffy's golf tourney, Al's team served up nearly 200 meals of Kansas City style prime rib.

The meal capped a fine afternoon of golf and fellowship--and was a mouth-watering feature for the 25th anniversary charity golf event.

"Al's Grill Team has become a tradition at the golf tourney, and the golfers really look forward to the dinner," noted Nick Anderson, manager at Lakeside Golf Course and Mulligan's.

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