Seven chuck wagon cooking teams circled their wagons at the Norris-Penrose Event Center for the Ride for the Brand Rodeo, June 29, to compete for bragging rights. Wagon chefs built wood fires in pits where they wielded heavy cast iron pots and skillets to prepare a menu of beef, potatoes, beans, bread and dessert.
As a judge, I was most impressed with the meat dishes. The chefs selected the cut of beef they wanted to cook which was donated by Mike Callicrate, owner of Callicrate Beef. The two chicken fried steaks were my top scorers. The potatoes I liked best were cheesy twice baked numbers. Beans were my least favorite. They all need more cooking to be tender and a couple more shakes from the salt shaker. Breads and peach desserts were a hit. It takes some real cooking skills to pull off baked goods in cast iron pots over wood fires.
First place went to Dale Grubelnik of Lubbock, Texas. He’s not new to the winner’s circle. This is third year in a row to take the top prize. He got the big belt buckle and a check for $1,887.50.
Second place went to Kit Haddock, of Monument and owner of The Heart Bar Wagon. Haddock won a check for $1,141.66.
Third place was taken by Solano Wagon Co from San Juan, New Mexico. They won$962.50 for their winning dishes.