About 2,500 people are expected to show up at the Oakland Coliseum ahead of the A’s game against the Mariners this Saturday, for the 2nd annual Bay Area BBQ Championship. The charity fundraiser, which benefits foster youth, will feature both pro and amateur cook-offs,  and a third category called People’s Choice.

“Big” Tom Pierce of Allied Storage Containers in Oakland is fielding a team called “Candy on a Bone.”

“There’s cash and there’s trophies,” he says, “but the biggest prize is the bragging rights. [To] be able [to] walk around for a year knowing you’re the king of the county.”

This year, there’s a competition within the competition… between two Oakland firehouses. But don’t go making too much of it. Lieutenant James P. Troy – or “JP” – out of Oakland Fire Station 12 says the firefighters aren’t bringing a lot of, you know, heat to the competition.”You gotta understand that. We’re all on the same team.

Troy and his cohort, the Chinatown “Dragonslayers,” have reason to be a little cocky. Firefighters are famous for eating well, but the folks at Station 12 have taken it to a new level.

Firefighter/cook Zach Fraser has personally adopted the station’s neighborhood, Chinatown, utilizing its culinary offerings to the max . To walk with him as he shops is to get a lesson in basic Cantonese. “Jo San!” he calls out as he enters Yuen Hop on Webster, and the cashier calls back “Joooo Saaan!” We pick up black sesame seeds, sesame oil and hot mustard powder,  then it’s on to our next destination, T&S Market, for the chicken or gabe oh.

“How much?” Fraser asks. “Sap mung,” the butcher replies. Fraser slaps his money down and says “Do je, do je.” (If my transliteration of the Cantonese fails, dear reader, please forgive my ignorance.)

You can hear the KQEDNews story here:

[audio:http://ww2.kqed.org/news/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2012/07/BBQOFD.mp3|titles=BBQOFD]

Where's your fork? (Credit: KQED/Rachael Myrow)

The end result: marinaded chicken seared on the grill, set next to a dollop of white rice and topped with black sesame seeds and a sweet and sour sauce made with plums.

“That’s the trick that I’m shooting for,” Fraser says. “That you’ll know it’s BBQ sauce, but it’s from Chinatown.”

For Fraser’s recipes, see Bay Area Bites.

Author

Rachael Myrow

Rachael Myrow is KQED's South Bay arts reporter, covering arts and culture in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties. She also guest hosts for  The California Report and Forum, files stories for NPR and hosts a podcast called Love in the Digital Age.

Her passion for public radio was born as an undergrad at the University of California at Berkeley, writing movie reviews for KALX-FM. After finishing one degree in English, she got another in journalism, landed a job at Marketplace in Los Angeles, and another at KPCC, before returning to the Bay Area to work at KQED.

She spent more than seven years hosting The California Report, and over the past 20 years has won a Peabody and three Edward R. Murrow Awards (one for covering the MTA Strike, her first assignment as a full-time reporter in 2000 as well as numerous other honors including from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio Television News Directors Association and the LA Press Club.
Follow @rachaelmyrow

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