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80-Foot-Long Grill to Stop at North Avenue Beach, Offer Free Barbecue

 The 80-foot "Ultimate Smoker and Grill" will roll into Chicago for the annual Cross-Country Cookout Tour.
Cross-Country Cookout Tour
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CHICAGO — An 80-foot-long smoker and grill on wheels will stop at North Avenue Beach on Saturday as part of the History Cross-Country Cookout Tour.

The Ultimate Smoker and Grill — touted as "the world’s largest smoker and grill on wheels" — will heat up as pitmaster Trace Arnold, 46, of Texas, cooks up hickory sausage with jalapeno cheddar. The food is free, and the event runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Arnold partners with the History Channel for the tour.

"History just wanted to bring a little backyard barbecue to everyone we could," Arnold said.

The Ultimate Smoker and Grill, designed and created by Arnold in 2002, can smoke 2,000 pounds of meat or grill 1,000 hotdogs, 500 hamburgers or 200 16-ounce steaks at once. The grill uses charcoal and wood and can hit about 600 degrees, while the smoker uses wood or propane and has a peak temperature of about 325 degrees.

"Rib Whisperer" Arnold, who said he "does a little of the cookin' ... a little of the talkin'," talks to people about History Channel shows while they eat and play games like "Redneck golf" and "Texas cornhole" (bags for you non-Texans). Koozies, T-shirts and other prizes will be given to those who win the games.

This is the second year for the Cross-Country Cookout Tour. Arnold said he enjoys going on the tour — which has stops in Boston, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, among other cities — because he gets to meet people and learn about "their versions of barbecue."

"It's 10,000 miles, 13 cities in 90 days," Arnold said. "Celebrate an American backyard barbecue."