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m2102

Utica il

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m2102

Don't know if anybody on here has heard of or gone to Utica for the burgoo festival this weekend but hear it quite an event. From what I gather it's big lots with all kinds of stuff put in it and cooked I guess kinda like hobo style. Thinking about going up Sunday. Anybody else interested? Can see what it is about by googling Utica burgoo festival.

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Monkeytrucker

Down here we call it chowder.  Estella and I used to make our own chowder and the recipe was this.  Take all of the meat that was in the freezer that was in the way of the meat from the newly butchered cow, pig, chickens and maybe some rabbit and squirrel into the 50 gallon cast iron kettle filled about 3/4 full of boiling water.  When the meat was well cooked and you had a great broth we would use a leaf rake and pull the meat to the surface and use tongs to break it up and also look for bones.  Once that was done we added diced potatoes, diced onions, tomatoes that had been pureed, (or cans of mixed vegetables if you were short of garden veggies) and cook it for a while.  Now the important part.  We had a oak slab about 8" wide and 2-3 ft. long with a well braced long handle.  The blade usually had holes cut in it and it was curved to fit the kettle.  You had to continuously keep steering the whole kettle to keep from scorching the chowder, and believe me if you did scorch it you had lousy tasting chowder.  Old fashioned chowder was always cooked in the big cast iron kettles that sat in iron rings.  You tended the wood fire under the kettles and tried to keep just enough heat to keep the kettle at the right temperature.  Now you know the reason for the stirrers with long handles.  The stirrers were usually the older people at the chowder making as kids would tend to get sidetracked and forget to keep stirring.  Then just before you were ready to remove the fire you added the kernel sweet corn.  You wanted it just warmed.  Then the fun began as it was the time to serve chowder to everyone at the chowder making and if the chowder was the old fashioned one all of the neighbors contributed to the kettles and you might even have more than one kettle.  Then the remaining chowder would be poured into the containers all had brought and they would take it home to eat some more or can it for winter use.

 

Today chowder is usually cooked with gas fires as health codes do not like ash particles in the chowder.  It is now made without wild game and the beef, pork and chicken along with all of the vegetables are from the store.  It just does not taste the same.

 

Our Ruritan club used to have a deal with a local egg producer.  When they were changing out the hens in their hen houses we would come and do the grabbing  out of the cages and put them into the shipping crates.  In return we would get around 100 hens.  Sounds like a lot but we had 8 sixty gallon kettles cooking for our town chowder that made our funds to use for community benefit.  

 

The real fun was dressing the chickens.  Now if you have never been to a chicken dressing you have missed the fun.  You grab a chicken by the legs, place its head over a piece of tree trunk and remove its head with an axe.  OR you trapped the chickens head under a hoe handle and simply pull the chickens legs till the head comes off.  Either way you simply toss the chicken free and the fun of watching the chickens run around the fenced in lot with out their heads gives new meaning to the term "running around like a chicken with its head cut off."  Then you collect the chickens as they stopped flopping around and using their feet as a handle you dunk them in boiling water for a couple minutes and then start plucking feathers.  Believe me getting all of those pin feathers off is a job.  After the chicken is bald you take a very sharp knife and slit the chicken open to remove the innards.  You get the hearts, livers, gizzards and any eggs that are in the process of forming removed.  As for the intestines, you have to be very careful not to rupture them as they will contaminate the meat requiring a thorough washing in boiling hot water.  BTW, there was usually a lot of throwing chicken guts at each other.  The chickens got wrapped in butcher paper and several men would take them home to put into their freezers until the chowder. We always had a supper meal that evening where we fried several chickens and deep fried all of the livers, hearts and gizzards.  Those were the best times any country boys could have. Butchering Chickens and having a meal.  

 

We also had a farmer donate a young steer and we would butcher it and a couple of pigs another farmer would donate.  Chowders are big events either for local families or for town money makers.  You only have to see the tables of pots and pans with peoples names on them awaiting chowder that is left over from the hundreds of people who just come to eat chowder and at a set time the bulk sales begin.  When the kettles are empty the next pan in the line just does not get filled so you can only guess how early people get their pans in line.  If a kettle gets scorched it gets sold last and the people are told it has been scorched and they get some money off if they want it.  No problem selling it.  By the time the chowder is done and all of the pots and etc. have been scrubbed and returned to their owners (cast iron kettles are prized items and usually loaned to others) every person involved in making the chowder event successful is totally worn out.  The Fireman's lemonade was being made.  Squeeze a lemon, add sugar, water, ice, shake it up and if the person getting it wanted a true fireman's lemonade a generous dose of Jack would get added.  One could only hope there was no fire alarms that evening.

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m2102

Very interesting read Gary. I've never been to a " chowder" fest but sure sounds like a good time. I have however been around and chased by headless chickens. Old times were good times.

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yooperfan

I'm not that old, but I'm no spring chicken either.  I remember seeing a garage filled with a bunch of headless chickens running around after my BIL got done with them.  Later, my mom plucked the feathers and propped them up on the counter for a funny photo op.

As for the burgoo, MrsY and I have been there many times over the years.  A secret is to go a little later, after some people have left, to get a better parking spot.  I've seen cars parked a mile away.  Taking the wing helps since it can fit almost anywhere and there is m/c parking at Stonehead.  Sadly, I have to work this weekend, so I won't be going this year.

 

P.S.   Get the burgoo early.  We have missed it before because we waited for the line to die down and they ran out.

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youngnbald

Actually went to this event on Sunday.  Will be going again next year!!!!!  The food was much better than Clinton, IL Apple Pork Festival.  The Burgoo was excellent and other food vendors blew me away!  I know my food, so to say this is pretty powerful.  Just outside of Stonehead, a vendor was selling sausages.  Absolutely the best I have ever had.  He said he won first place in Chicago and he does many competitions.  What is weird, he doesn't have a shop or store.  Said he was from Indiana and no way to get his stuff without catching him at events.  That sucks!  For Michele to eat sausage, this had to be good stuff.  We were blown away.

Had a 200+ miles for the day of riding and was well needed.  Thanks for the heads up Mike.  We couldn't tell you where to meet up with us due to our crazy schedules, but will be making this event yearly now.

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m2102

Glad to hear you went and hard a good experience. We went Sunday also got there about noon and from the bridge we couldn't believe the people and cars. I'm having knee replacement surgery in November didn't try and park.  Walking in a crowd like that gets a little hard to walk in. Took us about half hour to get from the bridge to route 6. What time did you get there and where did you park?

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youngnbald
2 hours ago, m2102 said:

Glad to hear you went and hard a good experience. We went Sunday also got there about noon and from the bridge we couldn't believe the people and cars. I'm having knee replacement surgery in November didn't try and park.  Walking in a crowd like that gets a little hard to walk in. Took us about half hour to get from the bridge to route 6. What time did you get there and where did you park?

We got there about 10:30 or so?  We parked free at Stonehead and that made it nice to get in and out.  Was lots of people, but the food made up for it!  They did a great job on bathrooms and places to sit once you got your food.

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Monkeytrucker
On 10/9/2017 at 9:43 AM, youngnbald said:

We got there about 10:30 or so?  We parked free at Stonehead and that made it nice to get in and out.  Was lots of people, but the food made up for it!  They did a great job on bathrooms and places to sit once you got your food.

 

From the guy that waited in an hour long line to get a moonburger only to get back in the line 10 minutes and a moonburger or two later.....  Mark, you are an "expert" at eating the good stuff.:SLOBBER:

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youngnbald
13 hours ago, Monkeytrucker said:

 

From the guy that waited in an hour long line to get a moonburger only to get back in the line 10 minutes and a moonburger or two later.....  Mark, you are an "expert" at eating the good stuff.:SLOBBER:

I call myself a professional!  I have amazed waitresses and I just let them know "I am a trained professional!  I have been doing this all my life."  Always gets a smile.  Michele and I have traveled to distant cities just to see "the largest tenderloin" or "best pizza"

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