By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Everyone knows what to do in a fire emergency — call the fire department. However, residents of Brooklyn Heights might want to consider calling the fire department for barbecue emergencies as well.
FDNY Engine 224 on Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights has now won barbecue competitions two years in a row, beating out three other houses — one from the Heights and two from Red Hook — during Fairway’s sixth annual Firefighters Food Face-Off held in Red Hook on Wednesday.
“And we’re coming back next year to win three-in-a-row,” said Robert Scally, a firefighter from Engine 224.
The competition was held on the waterfront behind Fairway at noon on Wednesday. Teams from Engine 224; Engine 205, Ladder 118; Engine 202, Ladder 101; and Engine 279, Ladder 131 went up against each other to make three dishes: a hamburger, chicken and ribs.
The panel of judges, which included Vincent Olivieri and Steve Jenkins from Fairway, George Fiala from the Red Hook Star and Noah Horowitz from the Brooklyn Paper, graded each firehouse on each of the three dishes, and also evaluated their use of Fairway’s secret ingredient. For the second year in a row, the judges favored Engine 224.
“We cook on a daily basis and to be honest, we eat pretty good,” Scally said. “We have guys that know what [they’re] doing. The guys that are cooking are great cooks.
“When we go to work, the first thing we are thinking about is our job,” Scally continued. “We make sure that we're ready to go when it's time to go. But the second thing we think about is eating. We eat good and we know barbecue.”
This cook-off comes with a considerable amount of bragging rights.
“It gets very competitive,” said Jackie Donovan, Fairway’s vice president of marketing. “The FDNY are ridiculously competitive. They've already been trash talking amongst each other for weeks. They really want to win so badly — to get that winning banner so they can take pictures and remind the losing teams way after. So it's really fun.”
In addition to bragging rights, the winning team was awarded a $500 gift certificate to Fairway and 25 percent of all the sales Fairway makes from 4 to 10 p.m. on Aug. 20 will go to the charity Friends of Firefighters.
“These firefighters really know how to burn,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “I just want to thank the firehouses, and especially Fairway. This is an anchor institution that really helped the neighborhood after Hurricane Sandy. This is a great event and Brooklyn loves to show appreciation for our firefighters as well as the work Fairway has done in the Red Hook community.”