Big barbecue cook-off raises money for fallen officers

Peace Officer's Memorial Foundation Cookoff comes to Comanche Park


SAN ANTONIO – The cool Saturday air was filled with smoke, but don't worry, it's a good thing. Inside dozens of smokers is meat, meat and, oh yeah, more meat. 

"We're cooking brisket, ribs and chicken," said Robert Sierra, with S&S Pit Crew.

It may be Sierra's first time at the Peace Officer's Memorial Foundation Cookoff, but he and the rest of the crew are as expert as they come. 

"We've been cooking for 10 years in four different states. We've been on Travel Channel, on multiple shows, including 'All You Can Meat,'" he said. 

What gets you on shows like that? Some impressive barbecue.

The day is about fun and food, but the money raised during the cook-off is for a very serious cause.

"I've buried a lot of my friends. Way too many of them. In fact yesterday morning, the Border Patrol lost an agent in South Texas," said Todd Harrison.

Harrison is an active sergeant with Austin Police Department and he's also the president of the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas, the organization that created the cook-off. 

The money collected helps pay for the upkeep of the Peace Officer's Memorial in Austin. 

"We also provide assistance to the families of fallen officers to make sure they get the benefits assigned to them by the government. We also provide scholarships to police officers' children," Harrison said. 

Seeing all the teams who donated to his cause to enter the cook-off, he feels honored.

"This does my heart good that the community supports officers enough that they not only will take care of them while they're alive, but they also want to honor them after they've passed," said Harrison.

"It's good," Sierra said. "We get to cook, hopefully win a little money and help other people."

Judging started at 11 a.m., but the free event is set to go well into the night. The Desperados will play at 8:30 p.m.

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