Minnesota School Systems

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Last year, Thomas Pellegrino was looking for ways to expand and build on his School BBQ program and for better ways to provide food for events at various locations around his school district.

Pellegrino is the Director of Foodservice for Osseo Area Schools District 279 near the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. His staff feeds 22,000 students in 30 different buildings each day.
For about 15 years, Tom has provided BBQ cooked on grills for events around the District. The size of his audience has grown over the years, as has his need to expand the menus of his BBQ events.

The solution to both was the SPK-500 Mobile Smoker from Southern Pride. The smoked cooking of the SPK-500 rotisserie provides a natural way to serve students freshly prepared foods, rich in flavor. “Because the Southern Pride smoker can make Brisket and Pulled Pork taste great. We can serve freshly smoked BBQ and stay under the $2.00 per meal budgeted,” added Tom, “And the kids really think the BBQ we serve “Kicks the Menu Up a Notch” as Emeril would say.”

The movement nationally, in School Foodservice, is to get away from fried foods and the Southern Pride rotisserie smoker provides a naturally cooked alternative meal for school children.


“We can prepare the BBQ at one school and transport to various locations,” explained Pellegrino, “Or we can pull the Southern Pride mobile smoker to a location if we need to cook on site.” “We have also mounted a generator in a weatherproof stainless steel box near the propane tanks to make the unit self sufficient and that gives us the ability to cook anywhere in the District,” added Tom.

One of the first events that Tom and his staff used the Southern Pride was a recognition dinner where they served smoked Salmon and smokey Turkey to 500 very satisfied attendees. “They loved it so much that they want the exact same menu this year. The Southern Pride Smoker has allowed us to get to another level with our BBQ events, “ explained Tom.

“We have increased the participation at most events,” added Tom, “And, our special events do allot to positively promote the school district.”

Testimony ImageMr. Pellegrino is the President Elect of the Minnesota School Nutrition Association and at their conference this August he will be cooking BBQ on the Southern Pride for between 600 and 1,000 school foodservice professionals.

“When we bought the Southern Pride, many people said Tom”s buying another Toy,” Smiled Tom, “But now they know that this “Toy” is really enhancing the dining experience at the schools in the District. Serving a great Southern Pride meal is the best way to sell this technology.”