Our rich natural resources and abundant wildlife make it possible for us to enjoy the bounty of the outdoors in numerous ways. One, obviously, is through friendly (albeit fierce) competition like the AWF Cook-Offs, where outdoors-oriented groups put on the chef’s aprons and demonstrate just how tasty wild game, fowl and fish can be. And people who turn their noses up at such fare are letting their brains completely override their taste buds.
For the AWF, the cook-offs offer a venue for its members to join in the competition and interact, while those who aren’t members get to sample the camaraderie the cooking teams’ exhibit during the night. Foremost, though, this is a showcase for responsible hunters and anglers to display how they turn what they take from the wild into delicious table fare.
Fortunately for me, I was again asked to judge the competition and I didn’t hesitate. The creative recipes these guys and girls come up with are just mind-boggling. Some of the food preparation is extensive and worthy of a culinary institute. Some dishes are as simple as can be with the emphasis on care of the fare, proper preparation and the right seasoning.
The teams compete in three categories: game, fish and fowl. The top three teams are picked in each category and then an overall winner is announced. That overall winner advances to the State Finals next August.
Drum roll, please. And the overall winner for the 2011 Gulf Coast competition is the Mobile Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association with the dish it called Gill Net Delight, continuing a precedent set last year during the oil spill to inject humor into naming the dishes.
The overall winning dish, with bobwhite quail as its main ingredient, claimed the fowl category, while Delta Waterfowl’s Mobile Chapter finished a close, close second with its Wood Duck Wontons. Choctaw Bluff’s Wood Duck Supreme finished third.
Choctaw Bluff scored a first in the fish category with Redfish Onionaise, followed by the Hen Hunters’ Delta Shrimp Blast and Mobile Gas Service’s Shrimp Kabobs.
In the game category, Fat Boys Catering’s Hog Wings came in a finger-lickin’ good first, followed by Delta Waterfowl’s Down the Bay Doughnuts and Southern Draw’s Venison Backstrap with Root Beer BBQ sauce.
But back to the overall winner. The recipe is obviously for a large crowd. The ingredients follow: