PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. —Pigeon Forge is calling all foodies, cowboy aficionados and anyone looking to indulge in a time-honored culinary experience to the annual Pigeon Forge Chuck Wagon Cookoff beginning 9 a.m. March 3 at Clabough’s Campground (405 Wears Valley Road).
Lunch, consisting of from-scratch dishes prepared for the competition, will be served at noon. Tickets are $12.50 each.
Ten competing chuck wagons will gather for this one-of-a-kind outdoor cooking event. An ancestor to the food truck craze sweeping the nation, the chuck wagon is a far cry from the mobile kitchens that chefs are creating today but it laid the foundation for the evolution of street food over the last several decades. In the late 1800s, early American chuck wagons fed hungry cowboys on the open prairies during cattle drives. Chuck wagon cooks, or cookies, as they are known, rely on simple ingredients to guide their menus and fire to power their ovens.
Chuck wagon cookoffs preserve cattle drive trail days as well as ensure the authentic reproduction of the mobile kitchens. The competition includes cash prizes for most authentic wagon and awards in various food categories, including meat, potatoes, bread, beans and dessert. All food items must be prepared onsite and using ingredients provided to the cooking teams. Condiments may be used at the cook’s discretion. Prohibited ingredients are announced prior to the competition.
The day also includes several free activities: an old-time Western Buckaroo Roundup for children of all ages featuring Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch Under Buckaroo Roundup providing roping and branding demos; roving cowboy lookalikes from the Golden Age of cinema, and Sisters on the Fly, the largest women’s outdoor adventure group in the country, with free tours of their Cowgirl Caravan of vintage trailers; and Western poetry and music featuring Andy Nelson, Marshal Andy & the Riders of the Silver Screen Band and Cal Farley’s Youth Cowboy and Cowgirl Poets from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
A special concert featuring award-winning artist RW Hampton and Andy Nelson will take place at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort at 6 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase for $20 onsite or in advance.
Sunday, March 4, features the Chuck Wagon Breakfast 8:30-10: a.m. and Cowboy Church 10:30 a.m. at Stages West (2765 Parkway). A chuck wagon breakfast is prepared and $5 tickets may be purchased onsite or in advance. Cowboy Church follows and admission is free.
For more information and tickets to all events, visit www.MyPigeonForge.com/ChuckWagonCookoff.
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