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The Amazing Dutch Oven Cookoff 2019 at Heritage Park; John Chester Would Have Been Proud!

Johnny “Buffalo” Chester took great pains and great pride in practicing the pioneer craft of outdoor cooking in iron utensils over an open fire or coals. No matter if it was a skillet, a stew pot or a covered ‘dutch oven’, he could cook anything, and had not only mastered the skill in his adult life but demonstrated it everywhere he could get a gathering. Following his passing, his friend Rick Wilson decided to start a contest in Johnny’s memory. Now, 15 years later, the tradition is still thriving and is eagerly practiced by cooks from all over Northeast Texas, thanks to the Hopkins County Historical Society. On a beautiful early Fall morning, about a dozen cooking teams set up camp inside Hopkins County’s Heritage Park, getting their fires started and coals glowing! Here are a few photos!

The Texas Tech Team of Dan Powell and Geary Almon prepared spare ribs and other delicious offerings, assisted by Linda Almon. This team won Second Place Overall!

Texas Tech Team prepares the judging sample

Hillbilly Gang members: “Big Mama” Melinda Hitt, Kornbred, HAM, Bakn, Tater, Chikn and Peeches. They made a bacon-wrapped Cauliflower that was a show stopper! and their Smothered Pork Chops won Best Meat!

Melinda Hitt, “Big Mama” of the Hillbilly Gang Team


Brother team Tim and Jim Berger
Benji and Krista Brown, the NeTX Co-op Team
Benji’s specialty Banana Bread

A couple of ladies from the Tulsa, Ok. area have been competing for the past 13 consecutive years. They’ve had an impressive number of wins! Here is Margie Ford’s Chocolate Caramel Cake packaged for the judges!

Donel Davis, Karen Hunter and Donald Wiggins prepared Stuffed pork loin, Lemon Pound Cake, a corn medley and hot bread

Ms. Donel Davis…

…and her dad Donald Wiggins

Donnie and Katie Martin were Champs again, with their smothered steak with bacon, a pecan pie, butter beans and biscuits.

Donnie’s butterbeans with ham
Katie Martin displays 2015 cutting block from another Championship year.
Abbie Peckham was one of the best biscuit makers at the contest

Eddie and Sheila Etmus of Cumby prepared a bacon wrapped pork loin with bacon laced on top for visual effect!


Richard and Tina Watkins and their team of Shawn Coleman of Mt. Vernon and Larry Johnson of Nelta offered a huge brisket with colorful root veggies, cheesy jalepeno cornbread and blueberry cobbler.

Richard Watkins
Best in Pot!!! Richard’s Brisket with Fall Vegetables n Peppers

Coley Jones is a Dutch Oven competitor with a neat campsite, he is stirring cowboy beans and his wife Beth made briskets and a Coconut Pecan Cake

This pot of bacon green beans belongs to the couple who won Best dessert, Don and Carol Barfield of New Boston, who also prepared a Peanut Butter Brisket with Pineapple Glaze and French Onion Biscuits.

Author: Enola Gay

Has enjoyed working for KSST since 1989. Hosts the Good Morning Show with Enola Gay on weekday mornings from 6-9am, so 'start your day with Enola Gay'! Guest interviews during the Morning Show can also be seen in playback on Cable Channel 18 TV. Along with local country music fan Benny Potter, co-produces 1230 West, a Country and Western Swing radio show which airs weekly on Saturdays from 7-8am and repeats on Thursdays from 7-8pm. Also writes "At the Corral Gate", a column appearing weekly in The Millennium Shopper and in the Lifestyles section of ksstradio.com.

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