Chicken Bog

Trip Start Dec 01, 2010
Trip End Mar 01, 2011

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Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Saturday, October 15, 2011

Today Gail and I were off to the 32nd Loris Bog Off. This festival celebrates a true southern dish that has helped many a poor family feed themselves over the years and now is eaten not by necessity but by choice.

The dish looks as if the cook went on a binge the night before, but legend has it one Yankee officer liked it so much he switched uniforms. It's called Chicken Bog, and it's a conglomeration of rice, spices and chicken, topped with bacon and or pork sausage. To coastal South Carolina natives, the dish is as traditional on Fourth of July and other holidays as barbecue and coleslaw is to the rest of the south.

A distant, but more savory cousin of rice pilaf, Chicken Bog combines the best qualities of both chicken & rice. Cooked properly, the chicken is juicy and tender and tweeked with spices. The rice assumes the flavor of the chicken and other ingredients, and in best Southern style, the grains don't stick together. Chicken Bog apparently gets its name because the "chicken is bogged in rice." A woman I asked, a Northerner who now claims South Carolina as her home, claims it is named bog because it is a "boggy, soggy mess." (It's a favorite dish of hers however.)

The recipe is liked by many Palmetto State residents because it is easy to prepare; it can accommodate large crowds (10 or more people); and can be served formally or informally. History has it that men cooked Chicken Bog on the banks of the Pee Dee & Waccamaw Rivers in big black iron pots and served it with butter beans, artichoke relish, and tomatoes. Old-timers believe that it probably had its origin years ago at the tobacco barns or warehouses since it was served traditionally at the barn supper, usually held at the end of season.

As we walked around the event I was amazed at how this community gets into this festival. ALL streets in center of this old town are closed to traffic and venders of all types have set up camps with a multitude of items for sale. Anything from Politicians to Church groups are there to say hello and offer you some of their baked goods. Ah yes, the baked goods. A diabetic’s worse nightmare, these tasty treats are all home made by the various woman and youth groups of each church. Recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation are carefully prepared and offered for your sweet tooth to enjoy. Wonderfully, most are not for sale but rather given away as a simple gift just for saying hello and praising the Lord. I like it.

Being from the north, I am used to having an eye in the back of my head at functions such as this. Sadly, most gatherings like this are a feeding frenzy for the low lives of our society to wreak havoc and steal, bully and ruin a family outing. With foul mouths, rude actions and violence, these groups destroy the essence of festivals, fairs and the like. Well, not here. People of all ages, colors and creed congregate as a community. Yes, there are the groups of older teens that look as though they would harass you if you got near them but this is not the case. They all, bar none, are as polite and courteous as any Father would want their children. They might dress the part but they certainly do not act like it. Respect for others, a “Sir, Ma’am, thank-you, or your welcome is always there. I am quite certain that the older women of these church groups would have no problem going over to any of these young folks and getting into their face if they spotted any disrespect. I for one respect and admire their family values.

After visiting the car show, Kiddy, and bandstand areas, there we were in my little piece of heaven. We had entered the food vending areas of the event. Foods of all kinds are available. Fried everything, smoked Turkey legs & Wings, sausages, burgers, fish, you name it and it was there. Gail spotted a BBQ stand and quickly headed over, fully knowing that I never turn down a chance to taste test BBQ. Ordering a $4.00 order of ribs (7 bones) Gail was set. We stood on the sidewalk and devoured these unbelievably tasty bones in no time. As I was blotting the slopped sauce from my new shirt the cook stopped over to see if we enjoyed his BBQ. We exchanged friendly BBQ bull for a few minutes and then it was time for his chopped BBQ pork. Simply delicious! James of JAB BBQ was just starting out cooking BBQ for the public and was thrilled at the kudos I gave him. His smile was as wide as the street and you could just see the pride he was feeling. He wanted to talk more with me but the crowds he had to feed could not wait, in a flash he was back to his pits, sucking down smoke and pulling pork. I only hoped it didn’t show how much I wanted to be in there with him, the smoke, and pork and sauce… my heaven!

Bellies full and feet getting tired we headed to the van. Another wonderful day had been had. While driving home my thoughts were what a great day I had spent with the love of my life and what a great decision we made moving here. Gailsy, as usual you did good.
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