Thursday, June 25, 2009

Getting Ready For Our Big Family Cookoff

Every year in July my husband's family does a big BBQ cookoff. We plan for it for months. The rules consist of this: You must enter a main dish, a side dish and a dessert. You must provide enough for everyone to sample (this can be hard since we have over 100 people that attend). All of the dishes must be made on the BBQ or have something cooked on the BBQ for it.

We do have judges, they are usually friends that like to eat. Oh, and there is a people's choice award for the crowd to pick.

Most of the family breaks off into teams for the competition. The first cookoff started off mild with about 6 contestants, the next year it got serious! Now it seems that all entrants pick a theme. One team had a bayou theme, my sis in law decided she would try to bribe the judges with her "Swamp Water" (which was really a margarita, cheater!) she served it up in old canning jars. Her tables were covered with vintage cloths and she had fresh flowers on her serving table.

My husband comes from a family of five boys, (it's a wonder his mother survived) the youngest brother is pretty clever. He came up with a Beach theme. Somewhere he found a 20 foot long, 8 foot high banner of a tropical beach scene for a backdrop, a tiki bar complete with torches to serve his food and beach balls strewn everywhere. It really was wonderful. He served fish tacos and won the main dish catagory.

My sister Dixie and her hubby created an old saloon out of a tent. She bought the saloon bottle backdrop from Party City and put it up all around the tent. They had a bar to pull a stool up to, dressed up like cowboys and they served steak for their main dish.

All of this happens in the middle of 30 acres with a creek and a pond. We camp out on a big grassy area all weekend and have a blast! We have so much fun that even the kids away at college make it a point to be home on that weekend. I guess it's kind of a big family reunion with loads of food and plenty of stories to tell afterwards.

What in the world can I come up with this year to top all of this? My husband is a master with the BBQ so I don't worry about that part so is the darn theme thing that gets me. I WANT TO WIN!

Give me some ideas!



  1. Feelin' your pain, my dear...I'm working up a theme for our tent for the tent decorating contest at BarnHouse!

    a Farm theme... complete with hay bales, straw all over the floor, tractor seats on milk cans as barstools, etc. and a backdrop of a big red barn. Wear overalls and a straw hat. Serve a drink called 'the Chesney'. ('She thinks my tractor's sexy', get it?)that is John Deer yellow with a green garnish.

    a Mountain Fishing Camp theme... logs, Adirondack chairs, lots of vintage fishing gear and camping cots & stools. Hang a Billy Bass talking fish on the tent wall. Wear waders and fly fishing vests, or plaid flannel shirts. Use enamelware dishes. Serve a drink called 'the One That Got Away' that looks like the color of lakewater. Murky green! ;0)

    Sometimes I really think I should be committed.....

  2. You are something my dear! Leave it to you to come up with terrific ideas! I want to come to the barn boys sale, hopefully I can make that happen.

    Funky Junk Sister #2

  3. What a wonderful family event with great memories!

  4. How about an iconic tv show theme, like Gilligan's Island (dressing as the characters would be easy, pull up a rowboat, drink martinis like the Howells, etc. Or the Flintstones - cook a huge roast on the bone, everything has a prehistoric theme, dress like Betty and Barney Rubble. Any of those 60's tv shows could be a lot of fun - Leave it to Beaver with real "60's" food would be easy to do, too.
    I'm a new reader, love your blog and am sad I missed the sale in June!
    JoyceG in Gig Harbor, WA