Hundreds of hungry people came to sample the smoked pork bellies, chops, tenderloin, turkey legs and tacos at a launch party for CampChef’s Woodwind Grill and Smoker on May 3.
But for me, it was also a chance to reconnect with the great chefs doing the cooking. Five teams competed for a $1,000 prize for the best dish. But none of them went away empty-handed; they all got to take home the Woodwind Grill that they cooked on (valued at $899, according to the company’s new advertisement.
This was the first time I’ve meet Jack Carlisle, chef at Carriboo Ranch, who served smoked double pork chop with smoked baby veggies.
But over the years I’ve interviewed the other four chefs, judged cook-offs where they’ve competed, and tasted some of their fabulous food.
Todd Leonard, a culinary professor at Utah Valley University, took first place for his Caramel Apple Smoked Bacon with BBQ Beans, Chipotle Pineapple Pork Loin with Roasted Corn Salsa, and Smoked Pulled Pork Taco.
Back in 2011, Todd was a finalist for the American Culinary Federation’s National Chef of the Year. He had also been asked to cook for the Draper Utah Riverview Stake’s Pioneer Trek. providing meals for about about 250 hungry “pioneers.” He spent two days cooking meals on the trek. Then he hopped a plane for Dallas, arriving in time for the “Iron Chef”-type competition among four of the country’s top chefs. Although he didn’t end up winning the national title, he told me he had no regrets about doing the trek gig.
Second place and $500 went to David Grover and Jamie Boyle, known as the “Half-Baked Hippies.” The nickname might sound off-beat, but their cooking is definitely on point. They have won the International Dutch Oven Society’s World Championship Cook-Off , and are well-known on the competitive BBQ circuit. In 2014, they won the $10,000 recipe category of the World Food Championships.
At the grill-off, they served smoked pork belly with smoked asparagus and creamy grits.
Cooking next to Grover and Boyle was the husband-and-wife team of Terryl and Clyde Miller of West Haven. They are also former champions, having won the International Dutch Oven Society’s World Championship Cook-Off (I was a judge, so I can vouch for their terrific cooking!). For many years, they have organized an annual professional chef’s Dutch Oven cook-off at the International Sportsmen’s Expo. Terryl serves as a judge at the World Food Championships, and also makes extraordinary cakes. Check out her Facebook page for some of her fabulous creations!
The Millers served slices of smoked pork tenderloin, on top of a puff pastry, along with smoked proscuitto-wrapped asparagus. I loved how smoke and heat gave the prosciutto a crispy edge, and perfectly flavored the asparagus.
David Bench of the Lion House Pantry did barbecued turkey legs, in keeping with his San Pete County heritage (home of Norbest turkeys). The de-boned legs were marinated in the traditional “San Pete” marinade of Sprite, soy sauce, oil, garlic and a bit of horseradish (at least, that’s what I remember of his directions, as the food line was too crowded and crazy to stop at take notes.) Then they were smoked to perfection, sliced up and served on a baguette with BBQ baked beans. One tidbit people may not know about David: he’s an expert at pulling homemade taffy. This is a skill he learned from his mother, Karla Bench of Moroni.
Since it’s a Utah company, I’ve written past posts and news stories about CampChef. In fact, I’ve been at the Hyde Park headquarters when they were testing a wood-pellet smoker/grill very similar to the Woodwind Grill — maybe even the same model.
The Harmon Brothers, known for their snazzy ads such as Poo-pouri, Purple and Chatbooks, came up with a video that shows how the Woodwind Grill works, shown here:
“In the game of grilling, the new Woodwind pellet grill and smoker is your cheat code to great smoked BBQ, seared steaks, amazing ribs, wood-fired pizza, and so much more,” said Travis Simon, Director of Marketing for Camp Chef.
Some of the Woodwind’s features:
- An LED digital control unit with built-in Smart Smoke Technology allows a more consistent temperature range.
- The patented easy Ash Clean-out system keeps the grill running at maximum performance.
- The optional sear box accessory gives users the option to get a true high heat-sear.
To find out more about the grill our Camp Chef, visit www.CampChef.com.