Low and slow from Toledo to Ann Arbor

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WTVG) - You can almost smell it inside the hole that Yost dug.

Not the sweat from the field.

Or your neighbor taking up every square inch of space next to you.

But it is coming from the shadow of the south scoreboard inside Michigan Stadium.

"Do you want Pork or Chicken?" one worker asks a fan of the Wolverines.

"Which one's better?" he replies.

It's Big C's BBQ. An 18-year-old food truck from Toledo, selling BBQ nacho's, BBQ parfaits and french fries for about a half dozen years inside Michigan Stadium.

"We fell into it," Big C, better known as Charlie Collins, said. "They had an outside hockey game and after that, the vendor that they had where we're at at that southwest gate, for some reason wasn't there the next year."

Big C keeps busy as a runner on game day helping to replenish the supplies at two of his four food stands inside the stadium. He and his wife Debra are the only two day-to-day employees with Big C's BBQ.

On game days with the Wolverines, the couple receive a lot of help from friends to staff four different stands inside the stadium.

"Whether it's Notre Dame, whether it's Illinois, Ohio State, any school, people like fries," Big C said. "They end up at our stand."

It took many years to see green for Charlie Collins. He grew up in Mississippi on a farm, worked in a Mississippi catfish processing plant before moving to Toledo where he worked a few factory jobs, but those roles disappeared with downsizing.

"I shouldn't had never worked in those factories," Big C said. "You have to really, really enjoy what you do to make it feel not like work."

This process and the love for low and slow cooking on a game week begins Monday when Big C visits his meat vendor. The smoking begins late Tuesday and first thing Wednesday with trips to Ann Arbor on Thursday and Friday to prep the stands for kick-off.

On an average game day, Big C goes through about 400 pounds of pork and 300 pounds of chicken. For "The Game," Big C potentially will go through more of his product.

"I don't think you can ask any better of anyone," Big C said. "Sports fans, huge football fan, or just sports fans in general that you get to work a venue like this. It's up. I think if I can get the gig for the Pope it might top it I don't know, but right now this is it."



 
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