Everett Smith top Cass chef

Published 4:24 am Monday, August 7, 2006

By By JOHN EBY / Dowagiac Daily News
CASSOPOLIS – Dowagiac hog farmer Everett Smith, 37, won bragging rights Saturday as Cass County's Best Backyard Chef and has the apron to prove it along with the $500 prize.
The fair appears to have a hit on its hands and an instant annual event with 41 entrants for the first-time cookout and a crowd materializing at 5 p.m. to hear the winners announced and to sample their dishes.
Creations judged on appearance, taste and tenderness included fancy burgers, melt-in-your-mouth meat and one roast wrapped in bacon and injected with maple syrup that tasted like waffles.
Hank Hill must be particularly proud that the "Kings of the Hill" in county grilling both cooked with propane.
Smith, who scored 174.86 with his babyback ribs for grand champion, said, "I came late because I was washing the herd."
"I cook a few hogs for hog roasts" with his sideline, E&R's Barbecue.
"I'm shocked" to win, Smith said.
The $250 reserve champion, Derrik Bench, 17, of Benton Harbor, will be a senior at Coloma High School.
He cooks at Lakeview Inn at Sister Lakes.
"I came down here Thursday for the demolition derby" and noticed the poster while standing in line for tickets.
Bench created chicken battered in tortilla chips with a salsa sauce.
"I came up with the idea the night before last," he said.
"I'm so excited," Bench added. "I get to fix my car!"
Judges included First National Bank President and CEO Rick Dyer, Lyle Taylor, the longtime butcher at North Side Food Shop in Dowagiac, Steve Pobuda, owner of Lindy's restaurant between Dowagiac and Cassopolis, and Andy Badner of Midwest Propane.
FNB and Midwest Energy Cooperative sponsored the event.
"All of our judges said they want to be back next year. They had a great time," said fair board member Becky Moore at the Agnes Gregarek Building afterward, when Terry Swisher announced winners and presented the six of them and the two sponsors with director's chairs.
Moore said the money local businesses such as FNB and Midwest Energy kick in furnishes the fair with about $45,000 in sponsorships.
Winners of $100 include:
Michael Kramer, charcoal beef.
Jon Silveus, charcoal pork.
Jim Collins, charcoal poultry.
Derrik Bench, propane poultry.
Everett Smith, propane pork.
Kellie Montgomery, propane beef.