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ABC's "The Chew" host Carla Hall judges the Western Heritage Classic chuck wagon cook-off

Published On: May 12 2013 01:49:38 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

People in Abilene got an up-close and personal look at historic West Texas life during the Western Heritage Classic at the Taylor County Expo Center.

On Saturday, the chuck wagon cook-off sizzled with good smelling food and remnants of old country western life. Chefs who traveled from miles away to compete in the chuck wagon cook-off prepared meals in dutch ovens and cast iron pots. 

It was such a unique event that ABC's "The Chew" Host Carla Hall was on-hand to judge the event.

"This is my first chuck wagon cook off," Hall said. "Last night was my first rodeo. Even though I had been saying well this isn't my first rodeo, it really was my first rodeo. It is amazing and the fact that this is how cowboys actually cooked at the turn of the 20th century and they were doing it like this right now and turning out some pretty amazing food."

The chefs cooked in actual chuck wagons and resurrected the historic western culture. 

"Most of the time when the trail riders were on the trail, there wasn't no place to eat," Chuck Wagon Chef Nolan Fontenot said. "You couldn't stop at a cafe or a convenience store. The only time they got to eat was right off of that chuck wagon."

Hall said, "I know how hard it is in the kitchen, but they're doing what I do with gas and a dishwasher. They're doing it with a fire pit. They're doing it with coal and wood and actually chipping their own wood. It's incredible and they're smiling.

Later in May, ABC will host a special called the "Ultimate BBQ Cookout" that will feature the chuck wagon cook-off.

The entire Western Heritage Classic wraps up Sunday morning with a church service and "Bit and Spur" show.