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Local cooks go “wild” for event

Local cooks brought their “A-game” — “A” as in “animals” — Thursday night to the annual Covington County AWF Wild Game Cook-off.

A crowd of about 200 sampled throughout the night as more than 10 teams served up dishes like drunk duck, squirrel dumplings, fired alligator and quail, wild turkey pasta-laya and more.

Organizer Hunter Grimes said the turnout this year was very good.

“People complimented on the variety of dishes and how good each of them were,” he said.

Cooks competed in one of three divisions, including fish, fowl and game, with first, second and third place awards presented in each division. Cook teams also competed for a “best overall” award, and some winners advanced to the state wild game cook-off next spring.

Team “Smokin’ Ashes” was named as the event’s overall winner and winner of the game division with their seven-pepper venison supreme. Second place in the game division was the “Wild Ones” of the Southeast Alabama Gas District with their Southern delight hors d’oeuvres; and third place went to the “Wild Boar Cookers” with South Dakota wild pheasant/Bellwood yard bird.

Team “Bellwood Basters” took a first-place win in the fowl category; second place went to the “Wild Boar Cookers” with their wild turkey pasta-laya; and third place went to “Smokin’ Ashes” with turkey tots with taco dip.

The “Dixie Dirt Duo” took first place in the fish category with spicy shrimp on dirty fried grits; second place went to “Smokin’ Ashes” with Creole shrimp with Texas grits; and third place went to the “Bellwood Basters” with their Bellwood mudbugs.

Burlin Findley with the “Wild Boar Cookers” said he has participated for the last four years.

“Last year, I went home with a trophy, but that’s not what it’s all about,” he said. “It’s about having a good time and enjoying some good food, and I think the folks here did a lot of that.”

And that’s exactly what Jody and Timothy Dillard were doing. Timothy, who works for Covington Electric Cooperative, said he and his family come each year.

“It’s all about the food, and here there’s lots of it, and we love it,” he said.