Meet the Man Behind the Grill at the Vanderburgh County 4-H Fair

Published 07/20 2014 09:39PM

Updated 07/20 2014 10:19PM

The Vanderburgh County 4-H fair kicks off Monday morning. It's one of the larger summer fairs in our area which means a lot of mouths to feed.
As Jeff Hedges puts it "you can't trust a skinny chef" and he proudly meets the requirements of a trustworthy grill master. "I normally don't let out my secrets how I do it, but it's low and slow cooking." For 22-years Hedges has been a fixture on the 4-H fairgrounds. But he had to start somewhere, cooking only for electrical workers at the fair. "People would come off the field down there and go man we've been smelling this barbecue all day long. Can we buy some?"
Now he is responsible for feeding many more than just fairground workers. "We kind of had some people out here that really didn't know how to cook and the food was going downhill."

Three grills, more than 1,000 lbs. of pork ribs, 30 gallons of BBQ sauce, and 320 chickens. His work is only exceeded by his reputation. "The word is getting out. It's took twleve years, but the word does get out."
He has been cooking at the Vanderburgh County 4-H fair for 12 years, but you will not find him enter his recipe in any competition. "At a contest there's only about five or six judges there is going to judge you. Out here I got 8,000 people in one week that's going to eat my ribs and that's the greater feeling than anything."
Some go to the 4-H fair for the food, the animals, or the competitions. But the man behind the grill is here to volunteer, never to expect anything in return. "Big time, it's a fun time. We're all out here for the 4-Her's. That's just the main thing to be out here for the kids."
Single plates of ribs are in the banquet hall and whole slabs of ribs can be bought at the grill. Which is near the horse barn.

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