The Payson High School softball team and the palates of hungry Rim Country sports fans will reap the benefits of a deep-pit barbecue dinner to be held from 4 to 6:30 p.m. this evening, May 1, at the concession stand near the Lady Longhorn diamond.
The meal consists of down-home, delicious beef, beans, salad and a drink for $5. Tickets are available at the door.
All proceeds, which last year exceeded $3,000, benefit the PHS softball program.
In addition to a luscious dinner, the evening is a chance to enjoy some small-town camaraderie and cheer on the Longhorn softball and baseball teams as they wrap up the regular season against the Snowflake Lobos.
Game times are 4:30 (junior varsity) and 6 p.m. (varsity).
In the six years since the inception of the dinner, the benefit has been hosted almost entirely by the Hunts and their friends, including Payson Fire Captain Toby Waugh. He usually had his arm-twisted enough to stow away the fire hose and volunteer to carve and serve the beef.
This year, the FAN (Friends and Neighbors) Club has taken over running the show, but the Hunts will continue to prepare the food just the way Charlene’s father, Roy Creach, did for decades.
“My dad had been doing it since the 1960s,” she said. “We learned from him.”
For many years, Albert cooked the meal in a deep pit at his father-in-law’s home on South McLane Road.
After Creach moved from Payson to Utah, Albert turned to cooking the beef in a pit he prepared at the family home near Airport Road.
Although the Hunts now live on a ranch in Strawberry, the cooking is still done in a pit on Airport Road.
Albert normally burns about a cord of oak cooking the meat. The hard oak produces better coals than other types of wood, he says.
After the oak has burned for about eight hours and turns white-hot, Hunt covers the coals with large rocks, then the wrapped meat is set on top of the rocks and the pit is covered with an iron lid.
About six inches of soil is then shoveled on the lid.
After simmering underground for 12 hours, the meat emerges juicy and fork-tender.
The cowboy beans, also a recipe passed down from Creach, are slow-simmered in a 20-gallon kettle and seasoned with a variety of spices.
The Hunts do serve sauce with the meal, but Charlene says, “If it’s good beef, seasoned just right and slow-cooked, no sauce is really needed.”
After the meal is prepared, Albert, Charlene and friends take the smoked beef and beans to the dinner site, where it is usually served up to hundreds of hungry patrons.
Youth golf filling up
Town of Payson youth sports coordinator Joe Harris stresses to parents that only 13 vacancies remain in an upcoming summer golf instruction camp.
The camp sessions are open to aspiring golfers from 10 to 16 years of age who will have the opportunity to learn the game from trained instructors, including a golf pro, high school golfers and adult veterans.
Sessions will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the month of June.
The registration fee is $30. Each camper receives a golf shirt and all equipment is provided. The registration deadline is May 22 and the program tees off June 8.
Also on the town youth sports agenda is tumbling for children 3 years of age to eighth-grade.
The fee is $25 and registration must be completed by May 29. The program begins June 15. Call Joe Harris at 474-5242, ext 7 for information or log on to paysonparks.com.