2nd Annual Campground Cookoff Attracts 24 Teams

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September 21, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

Twenty-four cook teams from across South Carolina worked culinary magic over charcoal and wood — using cast iron Dutch ovens, grill grates, smokers and more — during the second South Carolina Campground Cookoff competition Saturday (Sept. 19) at Calhoun Falls State Recreation Area on Lake Russell.

Contestants were allotted  2 1/2 hours to prepare either entrees or desserts for the competition. Heavy rains Friday, as teams were arriving and setting up, left many of the campsite fire pits water-logged for competition Saturday, causing some teams to resort to alternative cooking methods from what they had originally planned. Dampness also gave some teams problems when trying to light their grills. But, when camping, you make the best of the situation, noted The Index-Journal, Greenwood, S.C.

For example, Faye and Marvin Williams of Aiken and The Turnovers team wrapped their campsite grill with foil and converted it into a makeshift oven for their Apple Blueberry Oat Crisp, rather than using their soaked fire pit.

"Well, in some ways this has actually worked out better than when we practiced making this dish at home at night on the grill after we got home from work," Faye said. "It is daylight now, and at least we can see what we're doing. During some of our practice runs at home, we burned a few trials."

Other contestants were relatively new to outdoor cooking. Team Mabry from Inman only began experimenting with various methods in August, the month before the competition.

"We had never cooked outside before deciding to enter this competition," said Jennifer Mabry, who, along with her husband, Tony, prepared a version of Jennifer's grandmother's Cherry Dumpling Pie, using a Dutch oven.

A hometown team, the Rhodes family from Calhoun Falls, even found a way to adapt a beloved uncles' recipe for biscuits on a stick to make chocolate eclairs over a campfire, thanks to crescent roll dough, vanilla pudding mix, chocolate frosting, and, of course, the essential sticks.

"I think our chocolate eclair recipe is going to be famous one day," said Philip Rhodes, 10.

Indeed, the recipe took first place in the dessert category and team Rhodes got a $500 check, too.

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