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Pigeon Forge Chuck Wagon Cookoff fires up on March 3

PIGEON FORGE, TN — Pigeon Forge is calling all foodies, cowboy aficionados and anyone looking to indulge in a time-honored culinary experience to the annual Pigeon Forge Chuck Wagon Cookoff on Saturday, March 3.

pigeon forge chuckwagon cookoff
Pigeon Forge Chuckwagon Cookoff. Image courtesy of Pigeon Forge Tourism Dept.

Lunch, consisting of from-scratch dishes prepared for the competition, will be served at noon.

“Our Pigeon Forge Chuck Wagon Cookoff offers a unique experience to journey through time and taste a bit of history,” said Pigeon Forge Executive Director of Tourism Leon Downey. “This interactive event pulls back the curtain on the culture of the old American West through a delicious meal, music, and poetry.”

Ten competing chuck wagons will gather at Clabough’s Campground (405 Wears Valley Road) for this one-of-a-kind outdoor cooking event. An ancestor to the food truck craze sweeping the nation, the chuck wagon is a far cry from the mobile kitchens chefs are creating today but it laid the foundation for the evolution of street food over the last several decades. In the late 1800s, early American chuck wagons fed hungry cowboys on the open prairies during cattle drives. Chuck wagon cooks, or cookies, as they are known, rely on simple ingredients to guide their menus and fire to power their ovens.

Chuck wagon cookoffs aid in the preservation of cattle drive trail days as well as ensuring the authentic reproduction of the mobile kitchens. The competition includes cash prizes for most authentic wagon and awards in various food categories, including meat, potatoes, bread, beans and dessert. All food items must be prepared onsite and using ingredients provided to the cooking teams. Condiments may be used at the cook’s discretion. Prohibited ingredients are announced prior to the competition.

The day also includes several free activities from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: an old-time Western Buckaroo Roundup for children of all ages featuring Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch Under Buckaroo Roundup providing roping and branding demos; roving cowboy lookalikes from the Golden Age of cinema, and Sisters on the Fly, the largest women’s outdoor adventure group in the country, with free tours of their Cowgirl Caravan of vintage trailers; and Western poetry and music featuring Andy Nelson, Marshal Andy & the Riders of the Silver Screen Band and Cal Farley’s Youth Cowboy and Cowgirl Poets from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

A special concert featuring award-winning artist RW Hampton and Andy Nelson will take place at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort at 6 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase for $20 onsite or in advance at

Sunday, March 4, features the Chuck Wagon Breakfast and Cowboy Church at Stages West (2765 Parkway). Served from 8:30-10 a.m., a chuck wagon breakfast is prepared and $5 tickets may be purchased onsite or in advance at Cowboy Church follows at 10:30 a.m. and admission is free.

For more information about the Chuck Wagon Cookoff and other events, please visit

Published March 2, 2018

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