OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine — The world’s largest barbecue grill, a tractor-trailer truck-sized device, rolled into Old Orchard Beach this week, Portland television station WGME reported.
Johnsonville Foods’ Big Taste Grill weighs 53,000 pounds and can sizzle 750 of the company’s signature brats at a time.
In addition to being a publicity generator, the massive grill tours the country as a fundraiser. In Maine, people could buy brats off the Big Taste Grill for $1 apiece, with the proceeds benefiting the Old Orchard Beach Fire Department.
“That can go toward different programs they have, equipment, things like that,” Karl Behrens, a Johnsonville grillmaster traveling with the attraction, told WGME. “My uncle’s the captain of a fire department, so anything we can do both as a company and as people just to help out and give back to the community, that’s what we like to do.”
Since Johnsonville introduced its first Big Taste Grill in 1995 to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary, the touring grill has raised $3.5 million for a variety of charities and local organizations, according to the company.
During its nationwide tour last year, Johnsonville grilled 121,325 brats and raised more than $130,000 for more than 60 organizations.
“For Johnsonville, the Big Taste Grill tour is an annual tradition that combines our love of grilling with our passion for local activism,” said Ron Schroder, senior brand manager, in a statement posted on the grill website. “The tour not only brings Johnsonville sausage to grilling enthusiasts around the country, it also helps them support the charities that matter in their communities.”
Following its midweek stop in Old Orchard Beach, the Big Taste Grill is scheduled to set up on Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for three days at the racetrack.