The making of the sandwich

It all begins with 6000 pounds of Round Roast.  On Sunday the roasts are all seasoned with "Rudy's Secret Recipe" at the high school cafeteria kitchen, wrapped in foil and loaded back on the refrigerated truck to be delivered to the Pit Area.  On Sunday morning the pit is dug by Buckeye Excavating.  The pit is 140 feet long, 4 feet wide and 4 feet deep.  30 tons of slab wood stands nearby to be loaded into the pit for coals.  At 5:00 pm on Sunday evening the official lighting of the fire takes place.  This is allowed to burn for a couple of hours and then is reloaded and allowed to burn for a couple more hours.  At about 11:00 pm the pit is reloaded once more for the final time.  This allows for about 2 feet of coals to cook with.  Any large chunks of wood are raked out of the pit.  30 tons of sand is then spread over the hot coals just enough to cover any hot coals.  The roasts are then placed on top of the coals the entire length of the pit side by side and sometimes double stacked if necessary.  The pit area is then topped off with a covering of steel fence posts placed across the pit then covered with sheet metal roofing and covered again with more sand.  A tarp is then placed over the sheet metal and held in place with more sand.  The meat is finally cooking and all is completed by about 1:00 am.  The meat is left in the pit cooking until it is opened at about 11:30 am on Monday, Labor Day, for the selling of the signature sandwiches.

All work is done by volunteers and is done by hand.  Wood, meat and sand is placed by volunteers lead by the Jefferson Township Fire Department.  A horn is blown about 1:00 am signaling that the meat is on.

More volunteers show up on Monday to serve the sandwiches.  There are people needed to dig out the meat from under the sand, tarp and tin to deliver the meat to the unwrapping area.  Here the meat is trimmed and the roasts are checked to be sure it is done.  It is then delivered to the cutting area where 6 meat cutters are always waiting for meat.  The sliced meat is then delivered to the sandwich making area where the famous sandwiches are made.  You can always here "We need more meat." or "we need buns."  Ticket takers package sandwiches on plates or bags from the sandwich makers and deliver them to the public.  The condiment tables are always stocked with pickles, bbq sauce, horseradish and mustard.
 
Volunteers are always needed and most people that work get hooked and show up year after year.  Each has their own specialty area to help but more help is always needed since many have retired from their jobs during the 50 plus years of "Roasting the Ox."  Many volunteers have introduced their children and grandchildren to the jobs that have worked over the years and taken over for them and are now helping out as well.