SANDY "Practice makes perfect" seemed to be the theme of the International Dutch Oven Society's World Championship Cook-Off last Saturday at the International Sportsmen's Expo in Sandy.
The champions, Dian Mayfield and Omar Alvarez of Burley, Idaho, have cooked together in various barbecue and chili competitions for the past 10 years and Dutch oven competitions the past three years.
"Last year, we came here as rookies and tried to play with the world-class cooks, and we learned a lot," Mayfield said.
Their expertise paid off this year to the tune of $5,000 for their Flat Iron Steak and Smoky Potato Stars, Raspberry Twist Bread and Tiramisu Cake.
There were 15 teams in this year's finals, coming from as far away as Oklahoma. Each team prepared three dishes: a dessert, a bread and a main dish, all in Dutch ovens using only hot coals for heat.
To win a berth in the finals, each team had to win an IDOS-sanctioned cook-off during the past year and then cook in the semifinals on Thursday and Friday night.
The second- and third-place teams were also veteran cooks. Second place went to brothers Scott Clawson of West Jordan and David Clawson of Saratoga Springs, last year's champions who were invited back to defend their title. They made Jared's Southwest Chipotle BBQ Ribs, Queen Margherita Rolls and Key Lime Meringue Pie.
And it was the third time at the World Championships for Wil and Jen Ward of Tooele, who took third place. They made BBQ Ribs, Meat and Cheese Bread with a Kick, and Mixed Berry Pie.
"From year to year I've learned a ton," said Wil Ward. "Last year we used a product called Ultra-gel as a thickener for the pie filling and we realized it was real temperamental."
In fact, the pie fell apart as they were taking it out of the pot. "This year, it's the same pie, but we went to tapioca as the thickener."
Mayfield and Alvarez said that heat control is the most important thing in Dutch oven cooking.
"You want to try to duplicate your home oven," said Mayfield. "If you get too many coals too far in the middle underneath the pan, it will burn your bread instead of baking it. But if you're sauteing, you want to have a lot of coals on the bottom, because you want high heat."
Bystanders who equate Dutch oven cooking with stew were amazed to see the dishes being turned out in the competition: cheesecakes, pies, beef tenderloin, crown rib roast, salmon filet, and from-scratch breads and rolls. One team made ice cream by putting the Dutch oven in a cooler of ice layered with salt.
"When the cook-off first began many years ago, it was a lot more backyard stuff," co-chairwoman Nancy Rappeleye said. "But as the years have gone on, it's become more gourmet. People have really stepped it up."
The two teams from Newkirk, Okla., made the 19-hour drive to the cook-off together. Curtis and Gaye Ann Grace and Jim and Dawn Mills plan to do some sightseeing in southern Utah's national parks before heading home.
"We've found it's a good way to spend time together as a couple," Gaye Ann Grace said. "When we first started doing it seven years ago, we would argue. Now we have learned how to work together and it's really good."
On Sunday, local chefs competed in a Dutch oven cook-off. Each chef had to prepare a meal based on a mystery ingredient, which turned out to be moose. Chef Todd Leonard of Utah Valley Community College took first place, second place was chef Jason Innes of Nicholas and Company, and third place went to Troy Wilson of Utah Valley Community College.
Dutch ovens weren't the only smoky cooking going on at the Expo. Six barbecue teams took part in the Frostbite Challenge, sponsored by the Utah Barbecue Society. They cooked beef ribs, flat iron steak and Flaming Gorge Burbot, a fish with white, mild flesh.
"We just want to get the word out that anytime is barbecue time," said Brian Brinkerhoff, who organized the event.A cookbook of recipes from the semifinals and championship cook-off is $15 and available at IDOS.org.
FLAT IRON STEAK AND SMOKY POTATO STARS
Equipment needed: one 12-inch, one 14-inch and two 5-inch Dutch ovens
Steak and marinade:
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
Coarse ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
In a medium bowl, combine Worcestershire sauce, pepper and garlic to taste. Add steaks and marinate for half hour. Remove steaks to a platter and rub rosemary into steaks.
1 cup dry red wine (or beef stock)
1 tablespoon plus 3 tablespoons butter
2 medium shallots, chopped fine
2 cups demi glace or beef stock
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
In a 5-inch oven using five coals on the bottom, reduce wine by half. In a 14-inch Dutch oven with 20 coals on bottom, melt 1 tablespoon butter, add shallots and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add stocks and bring to a boil until reduced to 1 cup, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour reduction sauce into a small oven to stay warm, scraping out all the bits of shallots so they don't burn. Cover.
Place 30 fresh coals under the 14-inch Dutch oven. Once oven has started to lightly smoke, sear steaks for 3 minutes on each side. Reduce coals to 20, and continue cooking, turning steaks every 2 minutes. Remove when internal temperature reaches 130 degrees. Cover with foil.Pour broth reduction and cream back into the steak oven, scraping up the bits of steak. Bring to a boil and reduce until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Add wine and lemon juice. Stir 5 minutes. Remove from heat, let sit 5 minutes and whisk in remaining butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Serve steaks drizzled with sauce, accompanied by Smoky Potato Stars. Serves 6.
2 pounds Yukon Gold or Idaho potatoes
1 head garlic
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons butter
2 scallions, finely chopped, plus 1 sliced scallion for garnish
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (more or less, to taste), minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Roast garlic head in a 5-inch oven for one hour using 2 coals on bottom, 3 on top. Bake potatoes for 1 1/4 hours in a 12-inch Dutch oven, using 12 coals on bottom and 18 on top. Refresh coals at 45 minutes. Potatoes are done when a fork pierces skin easily. Remove potatoes but leave coals. Replace lid. Slice potatoes long way and scoop into a potato ricer, using a fine disk. In a small bowl, combine garlic, sour cream, butter, scallions and chipotle, taking care to distribute chipotle evenly.Pour over riced potatoes, add salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Check seasoning and adjust as necessary. Add cheese and mix well. Fill pastry bag, fitted with a large star tip, with potato mixture. In Dutch oven, pipe potatoes in one star pattern for each of six servings. Replace lid and move all coals to the lid of the oven. Broil for 20 minutes until light brown. Serve with Flat Iron Steak. Serves 6. Dian Mayfield and Omar Alvarez, first place, International Dutch Oven World Championship 2008
JARED'S SOUTHWEST CHIPOTLE BBQ RIBS
Equipment: 12-inch Dutch oven
4-5 pounds pork ribs
1 1/2 cups Dry Rub (see recipe below)
2 liters ginger ale
Slice ribs between each bone. Coat with the Dry Rub and place in 12-inch Dutch oven. Pour ginger ale over ribs until they are covered, which is usually a little more than half the bottle. Simmer with about 20 coals on bottom and 15 coals on top for almost 2 hours, until the meat is tender and just about ready to fall off the bone.Pour off liquid and put your BBQ sauce on the ribs and simmer 15-20 more minutes with about 15 coals on the bottom and about 10 coals on top. Extra chipotle peppers can be added to your BBQ Sauce if you want it spicier. Serve ribs while they're still warm, with extra BBQ Sauce. Serves 8.
1/2 cup garlic powder
1/2 cup onion powder
1/4 cup paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon cumin
Mix all ingredients together.
1 1/2 cups apricot preserves
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup mustard
1/2 cup molasses
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Mix ingredients together. Scott Clawson and David Clawson, second place, International Dutch Oven World Championship 2008
MIXED BERRY PIE
Equipment: 10-inch aluminum Dutch oven
4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups lard
1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs slightly beaten
6 tablespoons water
In a bowl, cut the flour, lard, shortening and salt together. Mix eggs, water and extract in a separate bowl. Once mixed, add to the flour mixture. Combine until soft dough is formed. Divide dough into 2 equal-size pieces, place in zip-locking plastic bags and set aside.
2 cups fresh strawberries, diced
3 cups other fresh berries as desired, diced
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 to 1/2 cup instant tapioca
3-4 tablespoon butter (optional)
In a bowl combine and stir the berries, orange zest and sugar together. Add the instant tapioca and stir again. Set aside.
Pie directions: Roll out one of the balls of dough on a lightly floured surface to form a 14-inch circle. Place the dough in a greased or parchment-lined Dutch oven, making sure to press the dough up the sides of the Dutch oven to secure it in place.
Pour the berries into the crust and smooth out evenly. Dot with the butter at this time if desired.
Roll out the second dough the same way, but place the second crust in any design desired over the berries.
Cover and bake for 40-50 minutes with 9-11 coals on the bottom and 6-16 on top, or until the crust is golden brown in color. Rotate Dutch oven every 15 minutes to avoid hot spots.Once pie is done, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool at least 20 minutes before trying to remove it from the Dutch oven. Serves 6-8. Wil and Jen Ward, third place, International Dutch Oven World Championship 2008
RASPBERRY TWIST BREAD
Equipment: 12-inch and 5-inch Dutch ovens
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 3 tablespoons, melted
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon rapid-rise active dry yeast
1 large egg, beaten
18-ounce jar raspberry seedless preserves
Combine milk and 3 tablespoons butter in small oven, heat to 110-115 degrees. In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Slowly mix in milk mixture, and beat until smooth.
Slice half of the raspberries in half.
Punch down dough and divide in half. Roll out first half to fit the bottom of the 12-inch pot. Place dough in oven and brush with melted butter. Coat dough with raspberry preserves. Evenly distribute raspberry halves.
Roll out second half of dough and cover the first half. Press a small condiment cup lightly into center of dough to mark a 2-inch circle. Remove the cup and slice through both layers of dough from the circle to the edge of the pot, in 16 increments. This is easier if you cut into quarters and then split quarters.Twist each section 3 to 4 times and set back in Dutch oven. Cover and let rise 30 minutes.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (not melted)
2 tablespoons milk
In a small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. In another bowl, mix milk and egg yolk with a fork. Once bread has risen, brush top with egg mixture and sprinkle with dry topping. Using 10 coals on bottom and 16 on top, cook 30-45 minutes, until top is golden brown. If after 30 minutes, the top still needs more time, remove the bottom coals to prevent burning.
1/2 pint raspberries
1 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
In a 5-inch Dutch oven, combine raspberries (reserving a few for garnish), sugar, lemon juice and water. Simmer until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh, extracting as much juice as you can. Drizzle over bread.
1 cup powdered sugar
In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and milk and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over bread. Garnish with reserved raspberries. Serves 12. Dian Mayfield and Omar Alvarez, first place, International Dutch Oven World Championship 2008