Location: Tumbleweed Ranch, 2250 South McQueen Road
Start Time: Friday, Nov 9th 2012 10:00 AM
End Time: Friday, Nov 9th 2012 08:00 PM
Nine authentic chuck wagon teams from across the southwest will bring their old fashioned cooking techniques and tasty grub to Chandler’s Tumbleweed Ranch on Nov. 9-10, 2012. The Chandler Chuck Wagon Cook-off demonstrates a bit of the 1880s Old West lifestyle and features a culinary competition from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 10. The teams will prepare their foods from their authentic chuck wagons and use cooking methods and utensils in the style of those used in 1880s cattle drives.
Now in its third year, the event is known for the authenticity of the chuck wagon teams, the musical entertainment, and good food. It has been named one of the best chuck wagon events in the country by American Cowboy magazine. Tumbleweed Ranch is located within Tumbleweed Park at 2250 S. McQueen Road.
On Friday, November 9, the ranch gates open 10 a.m., and visitors can meet the wagon team members and get an up close look at the daily life of a cowboy cook as they prepare for Saturday’s main competition. The wagon teams will be giving Dutch oven cooking demonstrations starting at 3 p.m. on Friday, but chuck wagon food will not be available for sale at that time. However, food will be available for purchase from on-site vendors. Wagon displays will be judged for authenticity between 10 a.m. and noon on Friday.
Then, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, ranch visitors can enjoy each team’s roaring camp fire, roast marshmallows to make s’mores, and relax under the stars. S’more fixin’s can be purchased at the ranch, or families can bring their own marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. Cowboy singer Wally Bornmann will perform throughout the evening.
The main event on Saturday, November 10, is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and in addition to the cook-off will feature toe-tappin’ music from Pioneer Pepper and the Sunset Pioneers, historic home tours, and hands-on activities for kids, such as candle dipping. Admission, parking and most activities are free; however there are fees for all food and beverages.
For the competition, each wagon team will cook five courses that were typically prepared on an 1880s cattle drive: bread, beans, meat, potatoes, and dessert. Most of the food preparation and cooking will be done from 9 a.m. to noon, and the judging will take place between noon and 1 p.m. A panel of judges will decide winners in each category, as well as most authentic wagon and best overall meal, and the winners will be announced at 2:30 p.m.
A limited number of meal tickets will be available for the public to purchase, beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and they are expected to sell out very quickly. The public can purchase a plate of chuck wagon food for $10, and the meals will be served at noon.
Quantities are limited, and tickets will most likely sell out by 10:30 a.m. A typical meal is a plate of chicken fried steak or stew, cowboy beans, sliced potatoes, biscuits, and a fruit cobbler. For those interested in smaller portions, the cook-off host team, Biscuitflats Chuck Wagon, will be selling samples of biscuits and gravy, beef n’ beans, and fire roasted corn for $2.
Several local vendors will also be selling food and beverages throughout the day, including the Arizona Fry Bread Co., Chandler BBQ Co., Pea & Pa’s Kettle Corn, Old Fashioned Soda, Paletas Betty, Squarz, Swirl It Frozen Yogurt, Food City’s chili roaster, and the Chandler Lions Club.
Headlining the Saturday musical entertainment will be Marshal Pioneer Pepper and the Sunset Pioneers, billed as “The Greatest, Funniest, Bestest Cowboy Stage Show Around,” and The Bluegrass Pioneers. Visitors can also enjoy tours of the historic 1917 McCroskey House and the 1920s general store. Additional entertainment includes period activities, like candle dipping, weaving and spinning demonstrations, western themed games, and exhibits.
The 2012 Cook-off has been designated as an official Chandler Centennial event. It is presented by the Chandler Museum in association with Biscuitflats Chuck Wagon and the following event sponsors: Family Friday Sponsor, SDB, Inc.; Meal Sponsor, Arizona Beef Council; Meal Sponsor, Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants; Meal Sponsor, Von Hanson’s Meat Market; Wagon Sponsor, Sundt Construction, Inc.; Games Sponsor, The Event Team; History Sponsor, FASTSIGNS Chandler; Bashas’ and Food City, Chandler BBQ Company, Camp Chef, and Mark Duebner Design, Inc.
For more information, call 480-782-2873 or visit www.chandleraz.gov/chuckwagon.