State champs: Local cook team takes 1st place in Alabama Wild Game Cookoff

Published 12:23 am Friday, August 10, 2018

The judges in the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s (AWF) Wild Game Cook-Off State Finals held this past weekend in Millbrook learned what Covington County residents already knew: Davey and Addie Sightler are good cooks.

The Sightlers’ team, Smokin’ Ashes, won the 2018 AWF Wild Game State Championship.

This wasn’t the Sightlers’ first trip to the state finals. They’ve won the Covington County Wild Game Cookoff at least five times, and have won with their entries in the game, fish and fowl categories.

This past November, they captured the local championship with Turkey Tots and Taco Sauce.

Davey Sightler explained.

“I use the sweet peppers, kinda like bell peppers,” he said. “We split them in half and fill them with cream cheese, then put turkey on top.”

The stuffed pepper is dipped in an egg wash, the battered with a mixture of flour and Zattaran’s seasoning, then deep friend and served with a taco sauce.

“It’s just something I made up, trying to come up with something new,” he said. “I did a different variation with the sauce, which was Taco Bell seasoning and sour cream.”

In the local competition, teams enter several categories. At state, they choose one category, and they don’t have to use the dish with which they advanced to the state level.

“Last year, I think we made a fried deer meat dish with a pepper jelly dip. We’ve tried state with shrimp and cheese grits. I think we’ve been six or eight times.”

Sightler said he has competed in the event every year, first competing with a with a team from the Dixon Center when the Covington County event began.

According to the Star-News’ digital archives, the Sightlers have won five county titles since 2009.

This year, the Sightlers included grandsons Gage Sightler, 13, and Jaylee Spicer, 16, on their state cook team.

In addition to wowing the four judges, the team prepared 200 to 250 samples for those attending the state event.

“There were still people coming around to get them when they were all gone,” Sightler said.

With the state title behind them, Sightler said he and his wife are brainstorming what to cook in this year’s local contest. He said he hunts deer and turkey, but especially enjoys the spring turkey season.

Thirteen teams competed at the state level, entering dishes like

Swordfish on Summer Succotash, Venison Duck Fat Fries and Brick House Bass Tacos, but it was the Sightlers’ dish that won the $1,000 grand prize.

Judges included Alexia Borden, senior vice president and general counsel at Alabama Power Company; Christine Denton, Auburn store manager at the Walmart Neighborhood Market; Draper Stanford, commercial relationship manager at Regions Bank; and Mark A. Harris, branch manager at Consolidated Pipe & Supply Co.

Talladega County’s Lumbee Smokers including Bracy Cummings Jr., Bracy Cummings Sr., Derrick Cummings and Tim Borden placed second with their Southwest Turkey Steak and Chips.

Clarke County’s Dozier Hoggware including Andy Black, Eddie Tucker, Ryan Black and Butch Black placed third with their Blackened Bass with Remoulade Sauce.

Best Presentation went to Co-Op Cut Ups from the Selma Cook-Off, while Runner-Up went to Smokin’ Ashes.