Hungry community members eagerly lined up at the Parkside United Methodist Church on Saturday, January 23, 2016, to enjoy smoked chicken dinners and raise funds for their local parish.
Banquet tables were laid out with barrel smoked chicken, rice casserole, fresh fruit, green and gelatin salads; crusty sourdough bread and warm dinner rolls rounded off the evening’s menu.
Members of the congregation provided many of the side dishes as well as the variety of homemade desserts.
The main attraction was the chicken cooked in a barrel.
Half chickens hung inside a barrel by stainless steel “S” hooks, and rested above an almond wood fire at the base.
“Cooking time depends on a lot of factors,” stated Edward Emerick of Williams, who was managing the barrel, “Sometimes the dripping fat can cause the fire to flare quickly and the chicken burns. You have to monitor the fire at all times and be ready to put out any grease fires.”
Mr. Emerick explained that he cooks the chicken halves at a time and plans on about an hour and a half of cooking time for each batch of ten.
“The slow cook allows the chicken to be tender and moist, and, of course, gives it the smoky flavor,” he added.
When asked if the event was a fundraising success, board member, Betty Koch replied, “Oh yes, it was successful.
Kotch commented that attendance was slightly down from last year; however, needed funds were raised.
“You just never know how these events will go when there are other events on the same night,” she said.
Koch added that she would like to thank local sponsors for the door prizes.
“They were all very generous,” she said.
The event was the second Chicken in a Barrel fundraising dinner for the organization and is planning a future event.