The barbecue pits behind Kenney Hall are of the old-fashioned open-pit construction. This year, 700 pounds of beef shoulder clods, 650 pounds of pork butt and 400 pounds of mutton were prepared for somewhere around 800 attendees. The pinto beans and the homemade "gravy," made with butter, onions, ancho chiles, tomatoes and Worchestershire sauce, are cooked in cast iron wash tubs and stirred with boat oars.
Along with three meats, gravy and beans, the all-you-can-eat $10 barbecue plate also came with German buttered potatoes, pickles and onions, and white bread. You also got your choice of homemade desserts, which included chocolate cake, red velvet cake, brownies, lemon cake, and several varieties of cookies. Entertainment included a cake walk, country auction, and the musical stylings of an all-star polka band.
Jerry Stein, the president of the Kenney Agricultural Society, claims that the Fourth of July Barbecue at Kenney Hall has been held every year since 1902, except for one year in the 1950s when a hurricane caused it to be cancelled. Over 1,000 people attended the Kenney Hall's Centennial barbecue in 2002. The Kenney 4th of July Barbecue is one of six community barbecues in Austin County. (Check the community barbecue calendar at ZenBBQ.com for a schedule.)
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For much more about the remarkable community barbecues of Austin County, don't miss this week's Houston Press cover story, "Community 'Cue."