Someone’s in the kitchen: Henry Pulley

Published 8:45 am Monday, April 1, 2013


ISLE OF WIGHT—When Henry Pulley was growing up it was either learn to cook, or else.

Henry Pulley shows off one of his specialties, Barbecue Chicken Thighs.“My dad was a caterer and my mom helped him. There was nothing else for me to do,” Pulley said with a grin.

Fortunately, the nine-year-old Pulley liked to cook and today, at 39, is following in his father’s footsteps.

Pulley’s cooking at this time, however, is a hobby because he works full-time at the Surry Nuclear Plant.

But he is able to cater enough events to keep his interest up, he added.

When Pulley worked with his father, George, and his mother, Linda Sue, the team was known as the “3 P’s Cooking Team.” After his dad’s death, Pulley, an only child, took over and now calls the group the second generation of “3 P’s.”

“Actually I’m working on the third,” he revealed with a smile. “I have three children and my daughter Kendall, 11, is one of my best helpers”

“And my son, Leighton, 7, and other daughter, Madison, 12, are beginning to show an interest.

“Of course my wife, Jinny, is by my side and mom continues to help too.”

Specializing in barbecue, the team serves fried chicken and steak, complete with vegetables and dessert as well. Pulley says he serves anywhere from 50 to 500 people at the time, but has the capability to serve 1,000.

“It’s no more trouble to cook for 1,000 than it is for 500, “he went on.

But about 300 people are the norm. In fact, he has one regular event where he serves 300, but does it in three days, he added. “One hundred per day”

Depending on the event, he uses the most appropriate recipe. At times he uses some of his father’s award-winning ones, but also uses ones that he perfected on his own.

“If you like to cook, then you must have your own recipes and own way of doing things,” Pulley said.

As for extra help on the big jobs, Pulley says he is the one of the luckiest men around.

“We have a very close community here at Central Hill and there’s always someone available to help out. For instance, my neighbors, Scott Clark and Chuck Mitchell, have helped so much they know exactly what has to done and jump right in.

NAME: Henry Leighton Pulley


AGE: 39


OCCUPATION: Health Physics Technician at Surry Nuclear Plant


FAVORITE FOOD:   Beef (Rib eye steak), pork and chicken.




WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU REMEMBER COOKING? : I was about 12 and helped my dad, who was a caterer, cook breakfast for a chemical business in Windsor. We served, sausage, eggs, biscuits and coffee, in addition to salt herrings.


WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR WORST COOKING EXPERIENCE?: Well, I didn’t really get to the cooking part.  When I was in college in North Carolina, someone killed a squirrel on campus and a few of us Virginia country boys decided to show our classmates how we cleaned and cooked a squirrel.  The thing is, we put it in a cooler and left it in the bathroom and forgot it.  The whole thing came to light a few days later when the squirrel began to smell.  Needless to say, we never got to show off our cooking skills.


ONE INGREDIENT YOU CAN’T COOK WITHOUT: Paprika. As a barbecuer, I use it in all my rubs.


WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT COOKING?: Take your time and be patient.  If you rush, you’re going to ruin your meal. Start earlier, if you have to.


WHO IS THE BEST COOK YOU HAVE EVER KNOWN AND WHY: My dad, George Pulley. He was a caterer and won many prizes for his barbecue.   Cooking was an art for him; he loved it and was constantly developing his own way of doing things.  I helped him in his business and learned everything I know about cooking from him.


IF YOU COULD EAT ONE THING FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?: Chicken. It can be cooked so many ways.




Grilled barbecue chicken thighs


n 1 small, 8-inch, aluminum, or throw-away, pan

n I package (8 count) of chicken thighs

n Uncle Yammy’s chicken rub

n 7 to 8 ounces Country Crock cooking spread



Preheat grill to 225 degrees.  Wash and pat the thighs dry. Place thighs, skin side up, in pan. Rub with Uncle Yammy’s Chicken Rub. Tighten skin and tuck all excess meat underneath thigh to make it look appealing. Use about 7 to 8 ounces of Country Crock spread around inside of pan and between thighs.

Cover pan and cook on grill for 1 hour at 225 degrees. Pour off butter, cover and cook an additional 45 minutes. Take thighs out of pan, place on grill and cover with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Let cook for about 10 minutes to crisp outside of thigh.