Nassau County firefighters faced off in the annual BBQ Cook-off on Friday.
Nassau County firefighters faced off in the annual BBQ Cook-off on Friday.

Nassau County firefighters traded entinguishing flames for firing up their barbeques during their annual BBQ grill-off, using the event as a chance to promote grilling safety.

Firefighters gathered in the parking lot of Fairway Marketplace in Westbury to show off their BBQ skills for the 5th Annual Firefighter Cook-off, the first time it wasn’t held at the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center. Aside from winning over the judges, the chefs aimed to teach the public how to be safe as BBQ season gets underway on Long Island.

“The one thing you should keep in mind before using any grill is to make sure it is maintained, cleaned and in good shape before you light it,” said John Murray, chief instructor  at the firefighter center.

Firefighters from Bethpage, Rockville Centre and East Meadow faced off Friday, putting together mouth-watering dishes for a panel of judges, including Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Vincent Olivieri, Fairway’s café executive chef.

The parking lot was filled with free food, drinks, and samples from 24 different vendors along with a DJ, as residents and shoppers cheered for their local firefighters.

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Each team was given a $100 shopping card to select their choice of meats, spices and other ingredients to try and win the judges over.

The firefighters center in Garden City opened in 2006 to educate Long Islanders about fire safety and prevention as well as showcase their history. Fairway sponsored this and a number of other grill-offs all across the tri-state area.

“We are constant supporters of theirs every year,” said Jacqueline Donovan, vice president of Fairway marketing, “We love to give back to the community, and we love to educate the public.”

Winning 1st place was a tie between The Bethpage and Rockville Centre fire departments. They won a $500 gift card to Fairway and later all will be invited to attend a shopping night for the firefighters’ charity of choice.


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Timothy Bolger is the Managing Editor for the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.