“We have at least two former state champions signed up to cook,” said Tommy Tidwell, Wild Game Cook-off Coordinator for the Alabama Wildlife Federation. “We got about 15-20 teams so far, and I anticipate more sign-ups because a lot of teams do it last-minute.”
The sixth annual Alabama Army National Guard/Alabama Wildlife Federation Wild Game Cook-off at the Talladega Superspeedway is Feb. 5. The cook-off takes place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Garage. Gates open at 2:45 p.m. Track rides, available at a cost of $50 to the first 150 people who purchase their cook-off tickets in advance, are from 2:45-4:30 p.m. Each ride also qualifies the purchaser for a drawing for one six-lap Superspeedway Teaser with the Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure.
The cook-off features live music, door prizes, raffles, youth activities and a silent auction that includes hunting trips with celebrities, autographed racing memorabilia, outdoor themed art prints and ladies items.
The cook-off starts at 4 p.m., with awards presented to the winners at 6 p.m.
“There are a bunch of great silent auction items, with Auburn and Alabama football memorabilia and hunting-themed items,” Tidwell said.
Tidwell said the silent auction items are always a good fundraiser for the Alabama Wildlife Federation.
“Teams can still sign up,” Tidwell said. “You can register up until noon the day of the cook-off.”
Diane and Bobby Smith, owners of Montana Saloon & Grill in Lincoln, are entering the cook-off for the first time.
“We have friends who compete each year, and they talked about how much fun it is,” Diane Smith said. “And we have friends at the Superspeedway who have been after us to enter for several years.”
Smith said they plan to enter bison stew in the game category.
“It will have the bison meat, and also things like potatoes, carrots, celery—similar to beef stew,” she said. “We are really looking forward to it.”
Entry for the cook teams is free. Cook teams who sign up by noon, Feb. 3, are eligible for a drawing for four Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure three-lap qualifier rides—one ticket for each member of the team, as a little bonus for signing up early.
Cooking teams may include groups, a couple or a single individual. A team may represent a corporation, restaurant or simply be a local cook. Teams may have up to four members, and all four members will receive a one-year complimentary AWF membership.
The cook-offs are a celebration of game animals, game birds and game fish that can be harvested and utilized for food. “Wild Game” is defined as fish, fowl or game that can be found in the wild of North America. Teams are strongly encouraged to utilize fish, fowl or game they have harvested themselves or has been harvested by other hunters and anglers. However, use of fish, fowl or game species that are also commercially available does not result in disqualification.
Trophies are awarded for first, second and third place in three categories: fish, fowl and game. There is also an award for “Best Overall.”
Teams may enter up to one dish in each regular category, but a single team can only win first place in one category. If a team’s highest scoring dish wins one of the three categories, it is in the running for “Best Overall.”
The award for “Best Overall” will go to the cook team with the highest scoring individual dish, judged on taste and originality with taste weighed more heavily. The “Best Overall” winner earns the right to compete for the title “State Champion” at AWF headquarters in Millbrook at the end of the season.
Teams are asked to provide samples for up to four judges and to provide people attending the cook-off with at least 50-75 bite-size samples of any dish entered into the judging competition. If it is determined a team does not fulfill this requirement, they will be disqualified.
A “Best Presentation Award” will go to the cook team with the best decorations and presentation for their cook team area that best reflects the atmosphere of a “Wild Game” cook-off. Scoring is separate from and has no impact on dishes submitted to the food judges.
The Alabama Army National Guard is the title sponsor and will award a special “People’s Choice” award, which is voted on by the general public.
Judging takes place prior to the event opening to the public at a time determined by the local committee.
The AWF will provide one six-foot or eight-foot table, tablecloths, small Styrofoam plates, Styrofoam sample cups, sporks, toothpicks, paper towels, Styrofoam bowls, food handler gloves, “Clorox water,” a jug of cold water, a cooler with ice, AWF hats and aprons for up to four participants and a team sign.
Cook-off teams are responsible for bringing additional items, if necessary for their entry, such as a grill, smoker or other cooking device, warmer such as a large pot or chafing dish with heat source, charcoal/propane or other fuel and matches, small generator, serving utensils and chairs and additional tables if needed. Some power is available at most cook-offs, however teams are asked to limit power needs and let AWF staff know if power is needed.
Complete team guidelines are available online at www.alabamawildlife.org. Participants may register online or by calling 1-800-822-9453. For more information, call Tommy Tidwell at 1-800-822-9453.
Contact Elsie Hodnett at email@example.com.