LEMONT – Some people go whole hog, but Lemont resident Robert Bromberek prefers to go whole cow.
Bromberek recently created a giant grill capable of cooking an 800 pound cow on a spit.
"Everybody thinks it's really cool that you're going to cook a whole cow," he said. "My idea was more to put on a show. I want to show people that I can take 800 pounds, I can put it on here, and cook it without burning it."
The grill made its public debut July 27 at the Taste of Lena in northwestern Lena, Ill. Bromberek ultimately wants to go on tour, taking the grill to festivals, sporting events and even disaster areas.
He is in the process of forming Tailgating for Hunger, an organization that he hopes will donate the beef to charitable organizations.
Bromberek has a lot of experience with tailgating. He and partner Tim Shanley often tailgate at Chicago Bears games with "Da Bus" and have appeared on the television competition "Tailgate Warriors."
He has seen other tailgaters try to cook and serve a whole cow and did his homework before making the grill.
In order to cook the cow evenly, Bromberek built the grill so it would heat the cow on the outside with charcoal and through the spit using avocado oil.
Wireless radio temperatures are placed inside the cow and the results appear on a computer screen, so Bromberek knows when the meat is done.
Bromberek said serving the beef at events is not an option because of the difficulty involved.
He does, however, want to get USDA licensing in order to process and distribute the meat himself. He is putting together a truck with a walk-in freezer and butcher equipment.
"I want to be able to cook this cow and serve my meat to the President of the United States and be all compliant," he said.
In order to be able to tour full-time with the grill, Bromberek is looking for corporate sponsorship. He said he built the device with lots of room for advertising.
Once on tour, Bromberek hopes the spectacle of cooking the cow will raise awareness about the importance of tailgating to the economy.
"People take for granted that people go out and buy things and spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars to eat food before a game," he said.
Planned future stops for the grill include the Bears home opener and the Circuit of the Americas, a Formula One racing event in Austin, Texas.
Size: 12 feet long by 7 feet wide
Weight: 1 ton
Charcoal: 50 pounds an hour
Avocado oil: 13 gallons
Cooking time: 10 hours to cook to rare