Tucker and son cook up crowd-pleasing feasts

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 30, 2007

Ro Tucker and his son, Scott Tucker, have been cooking together for quite a while. It was not until 1995 that they combined their talents and took their cooking skills on the road.

Twelve years later, they have a traveling grill center and a 10 person staff that they take to church functions and events all over the state.

Among their specialties are fried catfish, ribs, steaks, Boston butts, jambalaya, Brunswick stew and most any kind of wild game.

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The smallest events that they do now are for approximately 100 people and the largest can be up to 700 people. One of the ways they are able to feed so many people is with their mobile grill center and its huge grilling capacity, Scott said.

The Tuckers generally create their own recipes, but they&8217;ve also gotten help from family, friends and of course, Southern Living.

In their time cooking together, they have had the chance to meet some interesting people. At a wild game supper where they cooked, the two were able to meet Jay Barker of the 1992 national championship football team for the University of Alabama and John Croyle of the 1978 national championship team.

The Tuckers said they are always looking to try something new. An item they recently added to their repertoire is funnel cake. According to Ro, Scott has picked up the technique much quicker than he has.

Something they would like to add to their cooking arsenal is crawfish.

When asked about how they work together, the two just laughed. According to Ro, he handles the majority of the public relations part of it and Scott is in charge of the grill. Ro said he also helps to prepare the food before it goes to the grill.

For Ro, the best part about cooking for crowds is the response he gets.

The most surprising thing about the Tuckers is that their cooking expeditions are only a part-time gig. They own Tucker and Son Cabinetry, which they operate out of Linden.

The majority of their business has been acquired by word of mouth, and they have been in operation since 1970.

Pineapple Chicken Kabobs

2 cans (one 20 oz.&one 8 oz.) unsweetened pineapple chunks

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

1 package (1 lb.) sliced bacon

2 large sweet onions

4 large green peppers

32 cherry tomatoes

Drain the pineapple, reserving juice; set pineapple aside. In a bowl, combine the Worcestershire sauce and reserved juice. Cut each piece of chicken into four strips. Pour one cup marinade into large reseal able plastic bag; add chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat: refrigerate for at least one hour. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade for basting. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until partially cooked but not crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain; cut in half widthwise. Cut each onion into 16 wedges; cut each pepper into eight pieces. Drain and discard marinade. Wrap a piece of bacon around each chicken strip.

On 16 metal or soaked wooden skewers, alternately thread the bacon-wrapped chicken, vegetables and pineapple. Grill, uncovered over medium heat for six to eight minutes on each side or until juices run clear, basting frequently with reserved marinade.

Yield eight servings.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

8 medium ears sweet corn

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 Tablespoons minced fresh basil

2 Tablespoons minced parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

Soak corn in cold water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the butter, basil, parsley and salt. Carefully peel back cornhusks within one inch of the bottom of the cob; remove silk. Spread butter mixture over corn.

Rewrap corn in husks and secure with kitchen strong. Grill corn, covered, over medium heat for 25-30 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally. Cut string and peel back husks.

Yield eight servings.

Black Forest Dream Dessert

1 cup all purpose flour

2 Tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup cold butter

1/2 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

1 cup confectioners&8217; sugar

1 carton (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping thawed, divided

1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

2 1/2 cups cold milk

2 packages (3.4 oz. Each) instant vanilla pudding mix

In a bowl, combine flour and sugar; cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Stir in coconut and walnuts. Press into an ungreased 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add confectioners&8217; sugar; beat until smooth. Fold in one cup whipped topping. Spread over crust. Top with pie filling; cover and chill.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips; stir until smooth. In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for

minutes or until soft set. Whisk a small amount of pudding into melted chocolate. Return all to pudding, whisking constantly. Pour over cherry filing. Chill for 2 hours or until set.

Just before serving, spread remaining whipped topping over dessert. Garnish with chocolate curls if desired.

Yield 12 servings.

Kelli Hilyer is a staff writer for The Demopolis Times. She can be reached by e-mail kelli.hilyer@demopolistimes.com. If you would like to nominate a cook to be featured, please call The Demopolis Times at 334-289-4017 or e-mail us at news@demopolistimes.com.