Monday, August 8, 2011

JR Grillers are Serial Thrillers

These days, most of the skills kids are learning involve their thumbs and an Xbox 360 controller or a mobile phone.

But the young people at Jr Skill Centers in Monterey, TN are learning much more than how to re-spawn in Halo. They are learning traditional skill sets in 5 programs, that “empower youth with imagination, critical thinking and problem solving experience, through a series of craftsman related trades.” 

Country Living and Rural Adventures
Common Sense Living
JR Chefs
JR Tillers
JR Grillers

Alexis and I met the JR Grillers Cooking Team when they were participating in the KCBS BBQ competition in May and we were impressed with the kids. Not only were they out there competing against adult teams, they were also selling their jarred sauces and marinades.  That is where we met the precocious salesman, Tim.
Dude knows how to sell.  Don't let his size fool you.
Tim was able to discuss the various products in detail as we sampled the JR Grillers wares. He wasn't just reciting something he had memorized, he talked about the product from experience. His favorite of the five sauces was the St. Louis style BBQ sauce, one that he helped develop.

Then he introduced us to Cyann. She told us that she and about 15 other kids are involved in JR Grillers. They meet on Saturdays to learn all about mastering grilling as a profession. She explained it covers every aspect including...

Each team member will participate in every aspect of kitchen operation from cooker design and assembly to implementing travel, multi-tasking serving lines, cutting/identifying meat cuts, cooking/grilling, understanding spices, food chemistry, mixing/weighing, blending rubs, marinades, sauces, glazes, along with creating an image or brand through social media marketing.

The team did well in the competition. JR Grillers even took Second Place in “Sauces”.
Excuse the photo, I had a bad point of view for the awards ceremony.

How effective was Tim as a salesman? Instead of choosing just one, we bought one of all five!

Tonight I used the Carolina Style Vinegar Marinade.  Like any good Carolina sauce, it's vinegar, peppers, sugar and a few other ingredients.

I marinated a cut up chicken for about 4 hours and then grilled it on the Big Green Egg at 350f for about 26-30 minutes (I temp checked each piece so they came off at different times).

The tang of the marinade made my mouth water. Sure Carolina style is normally for pork but the blend of vinegar, peppers and seasonings really isn't too different from a vinaigrette which is a fantastic chicken marinade. 

The crew at JR Grillers did well! I'd be happy with this sauce if I had made it.

I am very impressed with these kids and not just with their product. Speaking with them, you know there is something different about them. They remind me of the kids at the martial arts school I attend. They are outgoing and confident in speaking with adults. I think that is proof that JrSkills is a worthy concept and I hope it spreads across the country.

Check out their website. They don't have an online store just yet but are working on it. If you contact them via email they can handle orders and accept Visa and Mastercard.

[Standard Disclaimer]  We paid full retail and have no affiliation with JrSkills.


  1. That's pretty cool Chris! I can totally see you starting a mentoring program in your own area like that. Seems fitting.

    Oh and that chicken sure looks scrumptious - as always!

  2. How fabulous. I'm impressed with what you've shown us about the JR Grillers. It's comforting to know that some of the next generation is getting off to a good start in life. Of all of the different Carolina BBQ sauces out there, I prefer the vinegar based one. Great post Chris.

  3. I hardly get a "Village of the Damned" feel at all from those kids.

  4. That is a super sounding program for youth. Your chicken looks perfect

  5. This sounds like an awesome program! Instilling kids with confidence and with the ability to communicate effectively is definitely super important!

  6. If I had kids, I would send them to TN right now!! :) I think this is a fantastic program!
    And the chicken looks absolutely perfect.. nicely done (as always)!

  7. Somewhere, Hank Hill is shedding tears of joy. Rock on, Jr. Grillers.

  8. Involving kids with family activities, like cooking dinner, imho is a fundamental way to strengthen bonds and give them a real sense of family. Nevermind the appreciation of what is truly the most delicious in this world, American BBQ!

  9. This is seriously cool! What a fabulous program. You had better watch out Chris, they're your future competitors. :D

  10. What a great program - wish I had that when I was a kid!

  11. Bless you for your support and enthusiasm for young people's entrepreneurial spirits. And why are those four people in the photo above in jail?

  12. Just LOOKING at that chicken makes my mouth water, it must have been so juicy! But does the vinegar style sauce taste a lot like vinegar? I can handle most vinaigrette dressing because the vinegar-y taste is cut down a little by everything else, but if it's too strong in that flavor I'm just not a fan. Maybe I should check out their other sauces first! :)


  13. I love that kids around the country are getting more into cooking! I know mine light up when they cook with me. The sauce sounds fantastic on the chicken and man does that bird look juicy!


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