- Cullman, Alabama

November 7, 2013

Cullman City Fire Department's winning recipes

Loretta Gillespie
Cullman City Fire Department

CULLMAN — We’ve all heard about the great times and scrumptious meals that are part of working in a fire house. Well, the Cullman City Fire Department is no exception; in fact, C Shift has a trophy and some braggin’ rights to prove it!

Three C-Shift firemen, Neville Franks, Tim Martin and Jason Lamb, first heard about the CluckNBrew chicken wing contest from their boss, Junior Reinhart. They kicked the idea around for a while, then collectively decided, “Why not?”

The three were surprised at the crowd which attended the CluckNBrew event which was sponsored by Cullman City Parks and Recreation Department in order to raise money for a new playground in Cullman. They had to enlist the help of Tim’s family: His wife, Wendy; son, Brayden, 13; and daughter, Katie, 16. At the end of the day, they had served somewhere between 1,800-2,000 wings.

They are understandably reluctant to share the prize winning recipe, which garnered them a trophy, $250 and braggin’ rights for a year, but they did agree to give us a close version of the championship recipe.


Neville Frank’s recipes

Neville has been with the Cullman Fire Department for 5 years. He’s been cooking for most of his life. He wouldn’t give up the prize winning recipe for his chicken wings, but he gave us a close version.

CluckNBrew winners of first place in the Amateur Division; second-place winners of People’s Choice:

Prize-Winning Firehouse Wings

“We fried our wings,” he said. “Using your favorite chicken batter, with your favorite seasonings, such as Tony Charchere’s Original Creole Seasoning or McCormick seasonings, shake your chicken wings to coat.”

Fry at 350º for about nine minutes or until golden brown.

In a salt shaker, mix your favorite spices and seasonings and sprinkle over fried wings.


Venison or Beef Burgers

Using one pound of venison or ground beef, or ground sirloin, add 1 to 2 packages Lipton Dried Onion Soup Mix.

“The soup mix holds the ground meat together well,” instructed Neville.

Grill on low in center, with side burners turned on high. Flip one time.

“Every Saturday night that C-Shift works, we call our families to come and eat a big meal. We serve desserts and dips and whatever we are cooking that night. It’s like one big family,” said Neville.


Rotel Cheese Dip

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef or sirloin

1 box Velveeta cheese, cubed for faster melting time

2 cans Rotel, drained, (one mild, one lime flavored)

Brown ground beef, drain, add to crockpot with remaining ingredients.


Neville’s tip of the day: When cleaning pots and pans with baked-on food, fill with very hot water and add powdered dishwashing detergent, like Cascade, and let sit for 12 hours or overnight. Neville says that 99 percent of the baked-on food will come right off.

Tim Martin’s recipes

Tim is a 13-year veteran with the Cullman Fire Department. He has always liked to cook. “We do a lot of cooking, especially in the spring when gardens are coming in, and in the summer when we can grill outside,” says Tim.

Jalepeño Cream Cheese Bacon-Wrapped Pork

Tim says that you can use pork chops or pork tenderloin for this recipe.

Butterfly your chosen meat. Season cavity with Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, or your favorite seasoning. Stuff cavity with the following;

Sharp cheddar cheese, cream cheese, finely diced jalepeños, and garlic powder.

Use apple wood rub on the outside of your pork. Wrap in bacon, using toothpicks to secure.

Grill over low heat, or bake in 350º oven until bacon is done, approximately 25-30 minutes.

Serve with your favorite side dish. The firemen like a vegetable medley, corn on the cob, brussels sprouts and hot-from-the-oven yeast rolls.

Stuffed Three-Quarter Pound Burgers

Tim gets lots of requests from friends and family for these humongous burgers.

Start with 3/4 pound of ground beef, venison or ground sirloin

Mix in finely diced green chilies, and add a slice of Velveeta to the inside of each burger. Sprinkle with your favorite seasonings. Tim recommends Grill Mates hamburger seasoning.

Grill on low heat for 20-30 minutes, turning once. Keeping the heat turned way down insures not having to flip the burger so many times. He sets the temp at 350F.


Tim’s Taco Soup

(This firehouse favorite aerves 6-8 people)

2 lbs. ground chuck, browned and drained

Dice one large onion, brown with ground chuck

Mix into a large pot with the following:

1 lg. can whole kernel corn

1 can pinto beans

1 can dark red kidney beans

1 can white beans

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 can hot Rotel

1 can mild Rotel

1 pkg. medium taco seasoning

1 pkg. hot taco seasoning

2 pkgs. dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix

Cook 30 minutes. To serve, pour over scoop corn chips and top with shredded cheese.


Strawberry Shortcake

1 pound cake or angel food cake, torn into bite-sized pieces

3 boxes instant vanilla pudding

2 c. prepared strawberries

2 pkgs. strawberry glaze

1 lg. tub Cool Whip

Prepare pudding according to box directions.

Starting with cake, which has been broken up into bite-sized pieces, layer each ingredient, ending with Cool Whip. Garnish with a few leftover strawberries.


Jason Lamb’s recipes

Jason has been with the group for two years. He enjoys his job, and says that cooking is just part of the reason they get together. “It’s just as much about the camaraderie as about the cooking,” said Jason.

Sloppy Pizza

1 lb. ground meat, browned

1 jar pizza sauce

1/2 c. chopped mushrooms

1/2 c. chopped pepperoni

Mix and heat. Add to a hamburger bun and add cheese on top. Buns may be toasted.

Baked Chicken

Put a whole chicken in a baking pan and coat chicken with smoky mesquite flavoring, hickory flavoring, pepper, and celery salt. Bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until internal temperature is 170º. Goes best with mashed potatoes. Don’t forget your veggies!