By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – A Boeing 777 can seat 314 to 451 passengers, depending on its configuration.
A replica 777 grill, however, can cook 1,500 pounds of brisket, 700 pounds of sausage and 700 pounds of ribs for 4,000 people.
The grill made a stop at Universal Asset Management on Wednesday, as company employees were given a lunch that included hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork and baked beans.
“It was a surprise, a ‘thank you’ for them,” said Keri Wright, UAM’s chief operating officer, said the lunch. The company employs about 80.
City and county leaders, along with airport officials, also were invited to the lunch.
Wright said UAM and United have had a long-standing relationship, dating back 12 years ago when UAM began doing business with Continental Airlines. United and Continental merged three years ago, and the company has retired more than 50 planes with UAM over the years.
United’s 777 barbecue team fed 1,200 people last weekend at a charity event in Chicago. On its way back to Houston, Texas, the team drove to Memphis, then drove the grill over to UAM’s facility at the Tupelo Regional Airport on Wednesday morning.
The 777 grill can serve a much larger crowd when necessary. Sinasi Stewart, a manager at United and part of the cooking team, said it cooked the nearly 3,000 pounds of meat mentioned earlier over a three-day period for 4,000 people.
“We go to several events across the country and in the Houston area, raising money for charity,” he said.
The stainless-steel grill was made 13 years ago and sits in an enclosed trailer that includes a full kitchen. The total setup weighs 28,000 pounds, or less than 10 percent of what an empty 777 tips the scales.