Jambalaya Cookoff in Gonzales

Next week we are competing in the World Championship for Jambalaya in world capital of Jambalaya, that is Gonzales Louisiana. Competition Jambalaya or Gonzales Jambalaya as some might call it, is different than what we typically cook while we are deployed during disasters. This also will be the first time that I am cooking a pot of Jambalaya over a wood fire, so it should be interesting.

Last year I cooked with my friend Shane and his family at the Swamp Pop Jambalaya Cookoff in Gonzales. It definitely peaked my interest in learning more about this style of cooking and competition. I had the pleasure of cooking a couple of weeks ago in a preliminary event which was a fundraiser at the VFW in Gonzales. Both of those events we were able to use LP for our heat source, which for me, is less intimidating.

I will give you the basics of what I see the difference is in the two styles of Jambalaya. Competition Jambalaya in my opinion is all about the rice. It should be not too wet, not to dry or too oily and NO hard grains. The color of the rice should be golden brown, no black flakes, no large pieces of vegetables or other ‘trash’. And most importantly, the rice should open like a little hot dog bun. Yes, an open hot dog bun…

For this event, they provide the ingredients so everyone has the same choices. Ingredients to choose from are, yellow onions, green onions, red hot sauce, celery, black pepper, garlic, red pepper, bell peppers, salt and cooking oil. In the first heat you are given 25lbs of chicken and 10lbs of rice.

The rice is long grain and not, I repeat not par-boiled. When we cook out in the community, we use par-boiled rice. It seems to be more forgiving than long grain. Now as I say that and have been practicing with long grain, long grain does taste better to me now. You will also notice that in this event, no sausage will be used in Jambalaya. Sausage is a mainstay in our typical servings.

Wish us luck next weekend as we throw our hat in the ring with some of the best competition Jambalaya cooks in the world!

A preliminary event in Gonzales a couple of weeks ago, cooking on wood.
It will be an early morning, but maybe the best because of Louisiana temperatures
The awards we are hoping for!

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