Collards are a Southern Specialty

DSC_1320The Fourth Annual Collard Cook off celebrated in Murrells Inlet February 21, 2016, named Wicked Tuna the winner; Bernie Ortiz-Robles and Ms. Rai Catering and Cheesecake won second; and Henry Ford of Seven Seas Seafood won third place.

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Wicked Tuna won the competition last year also.

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Yummy collard egg rolls won for the most creative use of the greens.

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Rutabaga added the color and juicy flavor to Henry’s tasty pot.

Here’s the official judging wrapping up with calculations of their individual scores which were via blind tastings off-site. Our colleague Andreann Geise (top right) judges this and dozens of other competitions annually including the World Food Championships 2015.DSC_1342

Two dozen vendors entered the competition, and hundreds of visitors sampled as much as they could eat during an afternoon in the parking lot of Uncle Tito’s Bar and Grill.DSC_1299

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Some were seasoned with a little possum (probably not really), according to one of these chefs.

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Some were accompanied by cornbread and/or fried fish or more.

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These were seasoned with duck and country ham.

Collard greens are loose leaf vegetables in the cabbage family (along with kale and broccoli), supposedly with cholesterol lowering ability and cancer-preventative qualities among many other health benefits. Long before healthy eating was a huge consideration, collards probably have been enjoyed in the South for hundreds of years for their ease of growing in a garden.

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