Pawling Scout Cabin to Hold BBQ Cook-Off

On Sunday, June 10, the Pawling Smith Johnson Scout Reservation, better known as “Scout Cabin,” will hold its inaugural Backyard Barbecue Cook-Off at the Pawling Fire House, 25 South Street. The day will be filled with family friendly activities, food, and a cooking competition to determine who makes the best barbecue in town.

The barbecue competition will feature four categories; pork ribs, chuck steak, hamburger, and S’mores. The rules specify that all competitors adhere to camping procedures, meaning that all food must be prepared using only charcoal, propane, or wood to cook. No pre-prepared foods will be accepted, with the exception of premade spices. Each competitor will be given a 10’ x 10’ space to work their barbecue magic. A panel of judges from the local scouting community will decide the winners.

The S’mores cooking competition will also add intrigue by including a unique stipulation. “You need to use the normal three ingredients, graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows,” explains Den Leader Kevin Greco. “But you can’t stack them in the traditional way. We’re trying to inspire some creativity.”

The entry fee for each category is $30 per competitor, with $20 going to benefit Scout Cabin, and $10 being put toward a cash prize for first place in each of the four categories.

In addition to the barbecue competition, the Backyard Barbecue Cook-Off will also feature a multitude of games and activities. There will be tent raising competitions, cooking demonstrations, and instruction for camp grilling. Additional food and refreshments will also be available for purchase.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Smith Johnson Scout Reservation. The facility has served the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Cub Scouts of Pawling since 1955. The cabin on Taber Knolls Road provides a meeting place for the scout troops and is frequently used for hikes, overnight camps, and as a space for scouts to practice outdoor skills.

The Backyard Barbecue Cook-Off was originally conceived by Kevin Greco, who has been involved with scouting for five years and currently has two sons in the program. “I always wanted to do something like this for the scouts,” he says. “I’ve been to cooking competitions around here, and it’s always a great way to bring people together. Plus, everyone always thinks their barbecue is the best. Now its time to put that to the test!”

The event begins 10:00 a.m. There is no fee for spectators. Registration for the competitions is recommended. For more information, rules, or to enter, please contact Kevin Greco at (845) 264-1674, or by email at