Big Taste Grill truck comes to Kinston to serve brats, raise funds for disaster victims

Big Taste Grill truck comes to Kinston to serve brats, raise funds for disaster victims

Johnsonville grillmaster Kris Hightower helped serve more than 1,000 Wednesday in the parking lot of Piggly Wiggly. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News


There was a reason for the grill truck outside of Piggly Wiggly Wednesday.

Johnsonville Sausage and the Original Piggly Wiggly teamed up to offer free bratwurst, chips and drinks to the masses in the parking lot of the store, located on U.S. 70 East.

The Big Taste Grill truck from Johnsonville Sausage is a mobile unit capable of cooking 750 bratwursts at a time and 2,500 in an hour. The truck moves across the nation helping charity groups and since the inception of the tour in 1995, more than $5 million has been raised.

Kinston resident Paula Battle said it was a very noble endeavor from Johnsonville.

"They're not just here to promote their sausage, but collect hurricane relief donations, which is an excellent gesture," Battle said. "I've loved Johnsonville products and this is a wonderful thing they've done."

D&H Marketing account manager Forrest Dawson said the dual effort of Piggly Wiggly and Johnsonville was great for the community.

"It's Johnsonville's initiative for all flood-affected areas and we're thankful for Piggly Wiggly and the Wilders to allow us to set up here," Dawson said. "All proceeds will go to local areas and there's no overhead."

Piggly Wiggly owner William Wilder said there was no issue in letting Johnsonville set up.

"They asked us about coming and we figured that we could give them a great place to set up," Wilder said. "This area has been through a lot being flooded twice in the past two years, but there are others who have dealt with much worse; some may not have recovered from Hurricane Matthew, much less Florence. We wanted to do anything we could to assist those in need."

Johnsonville grillmaster Kris Hightower said he has been thankful to be a part of the tour, learning about the communities and trying to do his part to assist.

“This is one of my favorite things to do,” Hightower said. “I’ve been able to reach out to people and listen to their stories. So many people have lost so much, but they smile and if I’m able to do that for them, I feel like I’ve done my job. A lot of times it doesn’t feel like I’m doing anything, but it’s been a blessing to serve so many people.”

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