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Llano River Chuck Wagon Cook-off tickets going fast

Chuck wagon cooks prepare the High Noon meal of chicken-fried steak, potatoes, beans, bread, and peach cobbler at the Llano River Chuckwagon Cook-off. Courtesy photo

Get your tickets now for the chicken-fried steak luncheon at the 17th annual Llano River Chuck Wagon Cook-off, which is returning to Badu Park at 300 Legion Drive in Llano on Thursday-Saturday, April 1-3. Tickets for the High Noon meal on April 3 are $20 each and going fast.

Tickets can be purchased at the Llano Chamber of Commerce, 100 Train Station Drive, or by calling 325-247-5354 to charge tickets and pick them up at the cook-off.

The meal is all part of a chicken-fried steak competition with teams dressed in authentic chuck wagon attire. The entire meal, including chicken-fried steak, potatoes, beans, bread, and a peach cobbler, is prepared in dutch ovens over open fires.

Here’s how it works: 14 teams with actual chuck wagons each prepare their version of the same meal. Each team serves a meal to the judges. Additional meals are sold to the public at noon Saturday.

“Everyone gets chicken-fried steak, and each wagon is given the same ingredients,” said Kim Webb of the Llano Chamber of Commerce. “Some people may have different techniques and different dredging for the chicken-fried steak, the potatoes, the beans.”

Webb recommends showing up at Badu Park early to watch the cooks at work.

“It’s best to get there at 10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m. (Saturday) to watch them cook and find your wagon and get in line for your meal,” Webb said.

Teams begin arriving Thursday and set up their wagons Friday morning.

On Friday, you can visit team campsites where competitors will be dressed up in attire reminiscent of Old West cattle drives. Along with the food on Saturday, judges will evaluate teams Friday on their chuck wagon authenticity.

The results will be announced at 3 p.m. Saturday.

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