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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Packing List / 2011 Mesquite Cook-off

1st off I want to apologize. I’ve been slacking a little. I had a hysterectomy on the 13th of December and then the holiday’s hit, and well I’ve been doing more than my Doctor says I should, but it’s so hard to just stay down when there is so much to do. You’d think I’d update my blog, but when, on pain pills nothing makes sense.

Well, on that note, (yes I know my 6 weeks of recovery are (still) not up yet) I am preparing for a $5000 cook-off in Mesquite NV next week Jan 7-8. Before I sent in my registration, I verified with the organizers if I could have a 3rd person on my team – their sole responsibilities are lifting (see, I’m listening to the Dr.). Melissa and I are cooking and Rod will be our “Lifter” the only things he can touch while we are competing are; the coals, to put the ovens on the coals, and to carry our dishes to the presenting table. Becka and Dad are going for moral support. I am pretty excited for this cook-off – it will  be like a mini vacation.

The next few days will be interesting to say the least.  Packing, for most people that would not be a problem, I drive a mini-van – not a truck. We will be playing the game of Tetris to fit all our stuff in and make room for everyone. I’m grateful Dad is coming because we might have to pack some stuff in his car (only if necessary).  So I thought I’d share with ya’ll my packing list. This is what I use whenever I compete or for that fact whenever I cook with my Dutch ovens –not at my home.

I’ll break it down for you so you can understand my thinking.

My necessary equipment for cooking;
The Stove:
Camp Chef two burner (I like the 2 burner because I can heat water and coals at the same time)
Mair Lid Lifters
Dutch Oven Tables / or Volcano
Dutch Ovens
Lid Lifters (I like the Mair ones)
Leather Gloves
Camp Chef

Matches (as a backup)
Metal Bucket
Small Shovel
Domes (Camp Chef and Volcano both make these)  

The Kitchen:
Folding table (this one has adjustable legs so I can set it to counter top height (saves the back). For food preparation)
Banquet tables (I usually take 2. Sometimes they are provided for you. I use one at the front for display and the other is used for my wash basins and pantry. My have a upside down “T” leg others have a straight leg and you can make risers for them so all your tables can be at counter top height – they don’t work with mine that why I take the other table.)
Paper Towel Rack
Pop-up garbage cans
Garbage bags
Camp Chairs
Wash basins
Water jugs / water (some places will have access to water some will not)

Dish Duty:
Dish soap
Clorox (for sanitation purposes)
Towels / Washcloths
Nylon Scrubbie (never use a copper scrubbie on your ovens)
Disinfecting wipes
Paper towels

The Gadgets:
Cutting boards (multiple are nice, one for veggies, one for meat, etc…)
Knife set (I have a camping knife set that I found at a local sporting goods store has all the knives you will ever need. If you can’t find one of these sets then you’ll want a couple good chopping knives, a fillet knife as well as a couple paring knives, don’t forget you’ll need them for presentation too.)
Serving ware (spoons, forks, spatulas, as well as the knives)
Basting brush
Can opener
Dough Scraper
Garlic Mincer
Bounce Chopper
Salsa Chopper
Glass Measuring Cups (liquid)
Measuring Cups (dry)
Measuring Spoons
Mixing bowls
Mixing spoons
Silicone/ rubber spatulas
Rolling pin
Metal spatulas
Mandolin slicer (this is a nice gadget to have for uniform slices and thin slices)
Vidalia Onion Chopper (makes chopping veggies easier)
Vegetable peeler
Thermometer Bread (Candy)
Thermometer Meat (instant read)
Plastic ware (for tasting don’t use your fingers)
Parchment paper
Gloves (latex, plastic…food handlers)
Food Tents

Pantry Necessities:
Canola oil (for cooking as well as re-seasoning your ovens)
First aid kit w/Burn Jel
Ziploc bags (all sizes)
Cooking spray
Hand sanitizer
Foil (don’t use to line your ovens, line your Dutch Oven table – for easy clean up)

Now can you see my dilemma – I get to figure out how to fit all this plus 4 people, their luggage and a couple coolers full of food, into a minivan and drive 371 miles to Mesquite.  I think we will have to use the car top carrier too. I am grateful the forecast for this weekend shows 48° for the high on Saturday and no rain or snow. I am looking forward to warm weather…wooo hooo, only because it is 27° outside right now.

I will post my (winning(I hope)) recipes on here when I get back.

Have fun cookin’
If you want more information about this cook off check out theses web sites.


  1. I can't wait to see your pictures and recipes! Good luck! You'll do great!

  2. Camp Chef two burner (I like the 2 burner because I can heat water and ...


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