We had a fantastic time at the 2019 Chain of Lakes Eggfest this past weekend in sunny and warm, Winter Haven, FL. An "Eggfest" is a BBQ and grilling food festival featuring teams of Big Green Egg enthusiasts serving their most creative and tasty dishes cooked on the chromatically named kamado grill. It is all for a good cause, the proceeds from this event benefit the Citrus Center Boys and Girls Club.
Nibble Me This was on hand to serve as a cook team and to perform a cooking demonstration at the event tent. Here are the behind the scenes pictures of the fantastic time that we had with friends new and old this weekend.
Friday was prep day. Another key to having a blast at an Eggfest as a cook team is to prepare any and everything that you can BEFORE the event. Ideally, at the festival, you should only be grilling and serving.
|Prepping Rolled Flank Steak with Bacon Jam and Smoked Gouda for our grilling demo and for sampling.|
|Is there any more appropriate place to shuck corn than the tailgate of a truck? Many hands make light work.|
|Carrie and Sean coring out the pickles that will become Jordan's Drunk Pickles on Eggfest day.|
|We got up at dawn and clouds covered the sky. The forecast the day before had increased the chances of a morning storm. Ru-roh......|
|Pork's Peak BBQ was one of our neighbors. Here one of their members was wrapping scallops with bacon. I joked that I knew I was in Florida if scallops were fresh enough and cheap enough to serve at an Eggfest.|
|Crystal John, David John, Cortlandt Minnich and Chris John setting up to serve pizzas from the Pizza Porta kamado accessory.|
|Everybody was busy doing last minute food preparations and setting up their booth.|
|The whole reason that we go to so many Eggfests is friendships. Chris Gentry of Gentry's BBQ, Alexis, and Scott Wehner from Team BAMF saying hello before the gates open.|
|Just before the gates opened, the cloud cover broke up, and it became "Chamber of Commerce weather." It was very warm, gorgeously sunny, and we had a refreshing breeze coming off of the lake.|
|The Mannix Pools and Grills team set up an onsite store so Eggheads could buy their favorite grills, rubs, sauces, tools, and other supplies.|
|Teams making their final preparations.|
|Egg Timers BBQ readying their booth for the hungry crowds.|
|Alexis, Laurie, and Carrie making the ever-popular Jordan's Drunk Pickles - it's a Cuban sandwich stuffed into a pickle and fire roasted.|
|Laurie, Carrie, and Alexis stuffing the pickles, which is a tedious thing. If memory serves, we did 6 jars of pickles which average 36 servings a jar or about 216 Jordan's Drunk Pickles, and we still ran out early.|
|Rhonda, Alexis, Laurie, Sean and Carrie doing the final preparations of slathering the corn with the chile lime butter before grilling.|
|BJ arranged for a seaplane flyover to kick off the food festival on the lake. Okay, that probably was just coincidental but now I'll expect it next year too!|
|Our menu for the day, two of the recipes are from my new book.|
|Once the gates opened, we would be feeding the crowds all day. They tend to come in waves.|
|Another benefit to this event? Winter Haven is right next to Disney World and the Orlando attractions. Plan a "get away from Winter" vacation next year. Bring your family, do the Eggfest, and hit the tourist attractions. It's a win-win.|
|Mexican Street Corn from the Big Green Egg. Chile butter, Mexican crema, Cotija cheese and cilantro - fantastic!|
|Our great friends, Team BAMF: Justin Bishop, Alicia and Scott Wehner, and Scott Davis. They had a killer menu and served the best thing I ate all day.|
|Sean and Laurie serving the crowds. I kept getting called away, and Laurie did a fantastic job replacing me as the meat carver. See that huge sword (actually a scimitar) she was using?|
|How gorgeous is this location in Winter Haven, FL? It's called "Chain of Lakes" because it is on 10 lakes that are connected by a canal system.|
|The live music was fantastic - Southerndipity, Kitchen Killaz, and Jill's Cashbox all performed solid sets and kept the music flowing.|
|Sigh...did I mention how beautiful the location and weather were?|
|I am sooooo stealing this idea!|
|Everyone was having a good time.|
|The food just kept coming and coming. Sausages and tri-tip roast at a team's booth.|
|This is a terrific Eggfest whether you are a taster, a cook team, or a volunteer. It ran so smoothly, on all appearances.|
|My man, Chad Romzek of Kick Ash Basket, introduced his latest innovation - the Kick Ash Can.|
|Serving up reverse seared beef tenderloin with a red wine reduction sauce, one of the recipes from our new book. Photo courtesy of Carrie Godbey|
|The two Scotts of BAMF showing off their loaded Rodizio. Photo courtesy of Pat McDonough.|
|It was good to see our friend, Josh Tahan of True Craft BBQ. Photo courtesy of Carrie Godbey.|
|Justin from BAMF taking a moment to visit our team's booth.|
|Jordan's Drunk Pickles are a tradition for our team at Eggfests and people get upset when we run out. We should have made another 100 for this event, I think. Photo courtesy of Carrie Godbey|
|Rhonda and Alexis checking on the corn. Picture courtesy of Jennifer Thurlow.|
|Got to meet our new friend, Pete the Pirate, for the first time.|
|Our neighbors next door - Pork's Peak|
|Team BAMF's savory breakfast version of their famous Pound Town. The pipette was hot sauce and maple syrup and you squeezed it as you pulled the pound cake and sausage into your mouth.|
|For our demo, Alexis and I showed how to make our Rolled Flank Steak with Bacon Jam and Gouda Cheese. Photo Courtesy of Pat McDonough.|
|I was surprised to have a full house for the demo. Usually most people are too caught up in checking out all of the food. We had 48 samples and they were all gone quickly.|
|When you slice the rolled flank steak, it comes out as pinwheels like this. Photo courtesy of Carrie Godbey.|
|Lee Ann Whippen of the highly regarded Deviled Pig bbq restaurant gave a demo on how she likes to make lamb chops. Lee Ann was on the best season of BBQ Pitmasters (when they showed real competitions), Beat Bobby Flay, and more.|
|Third Place - Nibble Me This|
Everyone is picking on me because they got 1st without me last year 😅
|Second Place - our good friends Team BAMF|
Sure we'd rather beat everyone, but we are genuinely happy when our friends win too!
|First Place - Pork's Peak|
Our neighbors made a strong move up from Third place last year to unseat the reigning champ - Nibble Me This. Way to go, fellas!
So Team BAMF won that Yeti cooler and said, since they couldn't split it 4 ways, they decided to donate it back to Boys and Girls Club. The organizer BJ conducted an impromptu auction and sold the thing off for $1,000 to one of the guys from Pork's Peak! How awesome is that? I get to hang out with some of the greatest people.
|Another Eggfest is in the books and it was a blast to win alongside our friends! Photo courtesy Carrie Godbey.|
Again, if you are an Egger or just like food festivals - BOOK THIS EVENT FOR NEXT YEAR NOW!!!! Come to sunny Winter Haven and get a break from dreary winter!