Saturday, February 1, 2014
Murrells Inlet likes its collards.
People like ‘em sweet, creamed, tangy and regular.
On Sunday, they got a chance to try the southern staple a number of ways as 11 teams put their skills to the test during the second annual Collard Cook-off at the Mullet Hut on the MarshWalk.
Captain Bubba entered for the first time, bringing his special Bubba Sauce to flavor his offering.
“It’s mostly vinegar,” he said of his sauce. “But there’s a secret ingredient.”
Larry Jones was making his debut in the event, which was sponsored by Seven Seas Seafood and A&A Produce.
“They tried to get me last year, but I had to go to Columbia,” he said.
He tried to make up for lost time, grabbing his three bunches of collards as soon as the cannon sounded to start the event.
“Hmmm,” he sniffed. “These seem to be a bit ice burnt.”
That didn’t matter though, as he set to work cooking up his fatback and ham bones to flavor the greens.
The idea behind the competition was a shotgun start, with everything ready for the judges — all 10 of them — and the dozens of collard lovers who purchased bowls by 3:30 p.m.
Jackie Doctor and Crystie Helms — the Collard Green Hoes, as they called themselves — were lured to the competition by friends.
“They say I have great collards,” Doctor said. “So I should prove it.”
Of course, proving it was difficult, as last year’s runner-up, Bubba Love, took the top prize. It didn’t hurt his chances that last year’s winner, Big D from Island Deli, was missing from this year’s event.
“I honestly don’t like doing competitions,” said Bubba, reaching into his nearly empty pot to serve one last customer.
“I’m blessed by being Bubba Love and I get the chance to meet new friends.”
Robert from A&A Produce finished second and Kenny with Creek Ratz took home the third-place prize.
As for those who came to eat, they got a rare treat, too.
The offerings from A Difference in Dining, a personal chef business owned by Tom Mullally and Randi Rimedio, included fresh tomatoes and Parmesan, while Adam Wiseman’s collards included red peppers and “a little bit of this and a little bit of that.”