HARTFORD, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A bit of friendly competition heating up the Hartford Central School cafeteria! Thursday’s lunch turning into a barbecue showdown between Superintendent Andrew Cook and BOCES Shared Food Service Director Patrick Kenneally.

“[I have a] secret dry rub that luckily, since I buy the food for the school, I can keep it away from Mr. Cook,” says Kenneally of his rib recipe. “I use some Maplewood to get some nice sweetness from the smoke.”

“My strategy is low and slow, treat the ribs with love and tenderness,” says Cook of his approach. “I’ve got my dry rub and then spritz them with a little bit of sweetness after a couple of hours.”

This is the second year for the barbecue competition that’s all about making school lunches fun and incorporating New York resources. 

“The ribs that I smoked today are from Grazing Acres Farm right here in Hebron, which is part of the Hartford Central School District. So it’s really exciting for us to showcase the work of our district residents,” says Superintendent Cook.

“My ribs are from Tiashoke Farm in Buskirk,” adds Kenneally. “It’s a really great way for the kids to have something more than a heat-and-serve item and highlight what’s available in our communities.”

The kids could then vote for which recipe they liked best, and Superintendent Cook earned his name with a sweeping win in the student vote. A “celebrity” panel also weighing in, including NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton, members of the NYS Education Office, New York School Nutrition, and Comfort Food Community Kitchen. 

With Kenneally’s ribs in Box A and Cook’s in Box B, the adults had their own delicious take, voting 4-1 for Box A.