I have a great nephew who is 3-years-old. For the entire second year of his life he wore an old, weathered, black cowboy hat. His parents could not get him to take it off. He even slept in it. I have now met the man who is going to be his hero, Jim Rogers.
Jim isn’t an urban cowboy wannabe. He is the real deal. “I was always a cowboy,” he says. “I love horses and the outdoors. I worked for Lodge Corporation, who specializes in outdoor cookware. One day a cowboy cook came in for some supplies and he told me what he did. It sounded great. He had to have shoulder surgery and so I helped him out. I knew immediately it was for me.”
Jim came to Sevier County 15 years ago from Michigan because the motorcycle and horse riding seasons there were too short and the winters were too long. “When I read that the average winter temp here was 55° I knew this was the place for me,” he says. Now he travels around the country participating in cowboy chuck wagon cook offs while he seeks to bring cowboy cooking to Wears Valley where he lives.
“Cooking outdoors is different,” he confides. “You have so many variables; wind and temperature of course. Once we were cooking on a mountain top and one of the cooks was having trouble. She came over and asked me if I knew the problem. I said, ‘have you calculated how much less oxygen you have up here?’ It is an art – a dying art.”
His business, Cowboy Cooking provides a meal with laughs, a real cowboy atmosphere and he can add music and stories. He cooks on wood or charcoal depending on the setting and he can handle groups up to 60 people. “I can cook outdoors without damaging your lawn, he says. “You can get the feel and fun of the great outdoors even in the city for your family reunion, open house, wedding or party. My ideal client would be someone who wants an outdoor event without having to prepare it.”
Jim serves foods like country fried steak, fried chicken or butt roast with all the fixings including biscuits. He can make a cobbler, baked and fried pies, pineapple upside down cake or pinto bean pie for dessert. “Anything you can cook in the house, I can cook in the Dutch oven,” he said.
Jim is a member of the American Chuck Wagon Association and participates in contests that judge not only the cooking but the authenticity of the clothing, the campsite, the chuck wagon, pots, pans and utensils. “I had my girlfriend helping me at a cook off,” he says. “When it came time to wash up she started to put my cast iron into the dish water. I had to run over to tell her that’s not the way we do it.”
To book Cowboy Cooking for your next event, call Jim at (865) 803-3963 or visit his web site at www.CowboyCooking.net or email JimRogers@CowboyCooking.net