Nine competitors between the ages of 11 and 16 met on the field of battle to pit their best culinary ideas against one another, armed with a chef’s knife, whatever food they brought to the field, a cooking fire and the pots and pans they needed to cook in. And so began the annual Troop 45 Outdoor Cooking Contest.
The rules were simple. Bring what you needed to cook a dish outdoors over an open fire. You had to bring it and cook it, yourself. The scoutmasters judged on the following:
- Technical difficulty
- Requirement that everything was prepared by the scout, on site, and cooked over an open fire in the field.
When the smoke cleared, we were left with some amazing dishes. While the names the boys gave their dishes definitely needed some help from a marketing team, everything was safely prepared and tasted good. The dishes included the following, with the top 3 dishes listed:
- Broccoli/Rice soup (First place)
- Pizza (pepperoni and plain) (Tied for second)
- Steak with Coca Cola sauce (Tied for second)
- Pasta alfredo
- Buffalo chicken dip
- Pizza mountain pies
- Cherry mountain pies
- Onion casserole
- Stuffed chicken/bacon rolls
While some boys had some issues with heat control and burned some of their food, the ingredients were chosen so that they could easily cook in the field. They took care to keep their workplaces clean, separating raw meats from other foods. Most of the food was cooked in dutch ovens in a open fire pit (hence the heat control problems).
What were things that the judges liked? Well, to hit some of the highlights, we thought that the #1 dish from Caleb showed some complexity and technical skills that out-shined your typical dutch oven dish. The flavor was great and presentation was excellent.
Tim’s pizza was on-par with anything you might buy in town, but he did it by cooking over an open fire. He had to innovate an over the fire reflecting oven to pull it off, and it worked marvelously, earning him second place.
Also in second place, Jeffrey cooked a roast using a dutch oven. He made it with an incredible Coca Cola sauce that we’re still trying to reverse engineer. The flavor profile was awesome. With a little more marinating to tenderize the roast, he’ll be a sure favorite in years to come.
Ultimately, everyone had a fun time with our annual outdoor pot-luck lunch. With awesome food, fun time preparing it all, and great company to share it with, it’s hard to miss. (Though next year we’ll be a little more careful opening cans!) Great job to all the boys that participated this year!