A Taste Of History

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Local chefs put their own spin on Aberdeen’s classic pheasant sandwich recipe

This past November, the Aberdeen Area Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted the first ever Pheasant Sandwich Shootout cooking contest at the historic Milwaukee Depot. A total of 11 contestants, eight in the home chef category and three in the restaurant chef division, brought their culinary creations in front of a panel of judges who sampled the sandwiches and had the tough job of determining a winner.

Judges were Tyler Oliver from the Aberdeen American News, Dacotah Prairie Museum’s Sue Gates, NSU President Dr. Timothy Downs, CVB Board of Directors President Gretchen Sharp, and Emmett Lenihan with Pheasants Forever.

Ultimately, Rachel Hogan of Pine Shadows Daybreak Lodge in Brainerd, MN, took away first place among restaurant chefs. Her toasted slider bun sandwich topped with shredded, braised pheasant thigh and leg meat tossed in a special barbecue sauce and served “Memphis” style with coleslaw on top was a hit. For home chefs, Jason Hill came out with a victory thanks to his one-of-a-kind “Coq Au Vin” pheasant melt sandwich. First place winners received a plaque, a $300 Aberdeen Chamber gift card, and perhaps most importantly, bragging rights. Second and third place entries also received a $200 and $100 Chamber gift card.

The event started with an open house in the afternoon where about 120 people came in and sampled classic pheasant sandwiches while touring the depot and James Valley Model Railroad Club display. Pheasant canteen ladies, who helped serve pheasant sandwiches to troops passing through Aberdeen during WWII, were on hand sharing their stories, as were many veterans with experiences of being at the depot and shipping out from there during their time in the service. // — Jenny Roth