Our small town celebrated the state holiday of Pioneer Day last night instead of next Wednesday. I guess they expect everyone to go to Salt Lake City or other places for the real Pioneer Day. It was okay though. I like our small town observance better: fewer crowds, I actually know some of the people there, that kind of thing.
As part of the celebration, there was a dutch oven cookoff. My husband had watched the cookoff last year and he was anxious to try it himself. He loves dutch oven cooking and likes to do some of it himself at camps and sometimes out in the backyard if he hears of a good recipe he hasn't tried.
A while ago, we asked my dad, a veteran Scout leader, what he would suggest as an entry. The requirement was one main dish and a dessert. My dad suggested a pork crown roast (beef was too expensive) because it was impressive to look at. He also suggested a chocolate cherry cobbler for the dessert.
My husband took his suggestion. He found a recipe for both on the internet and he ordered a pork crown roast from a butcher. It ended up being 10 pounds. He made a rub with various spices and let that sit on it the night before the contest.
Yesterday at the contest, the roast was placed in a 16 inch deep dutch oven with more spices and frozen apple juice. My kids helped make the chocolate cherry surprise. Unfortunately they didn't read all the recipe instructions before stirring everything in. Some of the ingredients that should have been mixed in, ended up just being "dropped" on the top. One of the kids accidentally opened an egg over the pavement instead of the bowl so it was short an egg too. The surprise then became, "If it turns out".
The judges consisted of the Mayor, a BBQ restaurant owner, one of the county beauty pageant royalty girls and another lady versed in dutch oven cookery. The time set for the cooking portion of the contest was two hours. My husband basted the roast a couple of times but a couple of the judges were a little worried that his roast wouldn't be done in time. He didn't baste much after that and just kept the lid on. He did check the temperature with our meat thermometer towards the end but the needle "went backwards". Huh? He dumped more coals on the lid to try to make sure the meat got to the right temperature.
When time was called, my husband removed the foil from off the rib bone tips and took the oven over to the judges' table along with the dessert. The judges checked the temperature with their own thermometer and the roast was the right temperature with "five degrees to spare". The cake portion of our dessert turned out just fine and one of the judges said it was really easy for a dutch oven cake to either be gooey or well done. This cake turned out just fine.
My husband had entered the Novice category because he had never entered a dutch oven contest before. He won first place in his category and was told he ought to enter in the experienced category next year. The prize was a dutch oven by Camp Chef.
And there was much rejoicing! Spectators got to try out the contestants' offerings. Our friend did a sesame chicken and rice and ooooooh was it good! He won the People's Choice award. Another friend of ours won the Experienced first place prize. He had lots of good stuff going on, including dutch oven ICE CREAM. You don't heat it up, just pack the oven in ice and salt. It was goooood!
It was a great evening.
This morning was a return to the yard work. The sifting continued but all the kids pooped out on me before three hours was up and the goal was four hours. We were soooo close to finishing with the pile of dirt we piled up back in May. Maybe next Monday we'll get it all done. Then will come the next phase of our retaining wall project - lining the trench with the gravel we sifted out.
Have a good weekend!