Thursday, November 8, 2018

Event: 2018 Scenic City Eggfest Recap

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] This is not a sponsored post, although we do have a sponsorship with the Certified Angus Beef® Brand.

Team Nibble Me This had fun cooking and teaching a grilling class at the 2018 Scenic City Eggfest two weekends back.  For the uninitiated, an Eggfest isn't a food festival serving omelets, scrambled eggs, and eggs Benny.  An Eggfest is a food festival that features all sorts of food cooked on Big Green Egg kamado-style grills.

Here are some pictures from our perspective as a cook team so you can see what it is like to cook at one of these events.  They are a lot of fun and you get to meet plenty of great folks.

This new home for the Eggfest is Founder's Hall at The Commons in Collegedale, TN.  This beautiful, brand new facility is probably one of the most excellent Eggfest venues that I have attended.  It is second only to the Pensacola Eggfest (THIS COMING WEEKEND) which is held in the Blue Wahoos stadium, right on the water. 

I was so impressed when we walked into the venue.  It is also great seeing local companies like First Tennessee Bank supporting the event.

This event was hosted by Elder's Ace Hardware Stores, and they had an event store set up. I think the reason they have the best selection of grills, accessories, seasonings, and sauces in East Tennessee is that their leadership loves grilling and actually uses the products that they sell.  

Food City also got involved as a sponsor.  This might be a positive trend with Food City; they were the location of the Lodge Steak Cookoff in Johnson City earlier this year.

We actually ran two menus.  We had the Pizza Porta in a large Big Green Egg and John, and Anna Mae cranked out pizza after pizza.  On the XL Egg, we did flank steak tacos, street corn, Jordan's Drunk Pickles, and beef tenderloin.  

The prep starts way before the first grill is lit at the Eggfest.  Thursday night we seasoned a pair of pork butts with Albukirky Seasoning's Green Chile Rub and smoked them overnight.  These are for the Jordan's Drunk Pickles.

The day before the Eggfest, we dry brined Certified Angus Beef® Brand flank steaks with the Albukirky's Green Chile Rub.

My dad was supervising in the background while I and Jeff of GrillPorn get the Egg's set up.  Sure, he looks friendly but when no one is looking, he beats us with the umbrella if we are moving too slowly ;) :)

My sister, Alexis, and I making last minute decisions about service.

Anna Mae and my dad enjoying a moment of peace before things get too chaotic.

Alexis and Rhonda are stuffing the Jordan's Drunk Pickles so they'll be ready to cook during crunch time.

John and Jeff waiting for grills to come up to temp.  Not sure what I'm doing here....probably barking orders at Rhonda and Alexis?  ;) 

A rule of cooking live events is "Many hands make light work."

Being the end of Summer made it difficult to find corn.  Rhonda and my parents scored the last of Summer corn from the Asheville, NC farmers market on the other side of the Smoky Mountains.

As you can see, we are all about seriousness.  No cutting up on our team.

We were teaching the first class, which was good since that let us get it out of the way before focusing on serving the festival attendees.

Our class went well.  People are laughing here because no one knew what "scoring" meant when I talked about prepping the flank steaks.  I told them that was okay because this year, Tennessee's football team didn't know what scoring was either :) ;)

Rhonda and I were so glad to have my parents cooking with us for this event.

Once the gates opened and the crowd came in, it was all hands on deck.

Breakfast pizza ready to hit the Egg.

This is one of my favorite pizzas because I always manage to steal a piece to have some nourishment for the day.

This pizza surprised many folks.  It was maple infused apples, bacon, and blue cheese which sounds like an odd combination but it really worked.

John slicing up one of the Maple Apple, Blue, and Bacon pizzas.

Of course, pizza isn't pizza until you've given it a dash of Olde Virden's Red Hot.  Olde Virden's is an East Tennessee company that makes their custom blends of dried chile sprinkles.  We had it out for the pizzas, tacos, and Mexican street corn.  You can find Olde Virden's in Food City and other locations in East TN.

This was Jeff's first time cooking at an Eggfest and it was good to have him on board.  He manned the XL and kept the food coming out steadily all day.  

Sigh....I'm going to miss corn until next Summer.

Rhonda splitting up the corn and getting it ready for the crema.

Mexican Street Corn was a big hit.  I think the crowd gets so inundated with meat, meat, meat that a good fresh grilled vegetable is a welcome treat.

My favorite shot of the day - my mom took this one of me temp checking flank steaks with my red Thermapen.  I just love the perspective.

Flank steaks resting.

Putting the flank steak tacos together.

Jordan's Drunk Pickles are essentially a Cuban sandwich or the ingredients for it, stuffed inside of a pickle. Sounds weird but these are a favorite at every Eggfest.

We seasoned the Certified Angus Beef® Brand beef tenderloins with our NMT Umami Steak Seasoning and slow roasted them to 124-125°f.   The Thermoworks ChefAlarm helps us to cook it perfectly even when we are busy doing other things.  If you don't already have a remote probe thermometer, I highly recommend that you get one.  I have had 3 of these for years and they have taken the abuse of traveling to Eggfests, BBQ contests, and being mishandled in my backyard.

Jeff getting one of the roasts out of the Cambro to sear.  Coolers do okay for holding cooked food but if you do a good bit of catering, transporting food, and/or cooking at events, Cambro hot boxes are worth every penny.  Shop around before buying one.  I've seen the exact same model vary in price by close to $150 at different websites. Websturant Store usually has good prices but double check.
When it came time to sear off one of the tenderloins, the fire in our XL Egg was losing it's strength and it wasn't running hot enough to sear at the grate.  No worries.....I went caveman and seared it directly on the red hot coals.  

Caveman style!
Each contest, we try to do something small for the team.  This time it was these 3/4 sleeve baseball shirts that we had printed with our logo on the front and our slogan on the back.

Notice that the seared tenderloin is still perfectly medium rare even after its "nap" in the coals.  It was a blessing getting to cook side by side by my mom.  

We served the beef tenderloin seasoned with finely ground NMT Umami Seasoning and drizzled with a red wine/stock reduction.

Reactions like this are what makes it worth it all of the work that teams put in.
Scenic City Eggest is well organized, is in a wonderful new location, and Elders Ace Hardware is putting it out there for the East TN grilling community.  I hope you'll join us next year, either as a taster or as part of a cook team.

People always ask me where is the cheapest place to buy a Big Green Egg.  Eggfests are it for sure.  The grill has been used for one day only, it is covered by warranty and you are getting it for a substantially reduced priced.  
  • If you are in the East Tennesseee or North Georgia area, I found out Elder's still has a few demo Eggs available.  If you are interested in one of these reduced Big Green Eggs, stop by their location on East Brainerd in Chattanooga.  
  • If you are in the Florida Panhandle region, the Pensacola Eggfest is this weekend.  You should get a taster ticket and enjoy a plethora of amazing grilled delights.  They also will be selling used demo Eggs but I can't promise they have any left.  They sell out quickly!