This past weekend I was lucky to serve as one of the judges of the seventh annual Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Beer Weekend at the Hangout in Gulf Shores.

A full weekend of food, beer, booze and music, the main event took place on Saturday. One of the growing number of festive occasions hosed by the Hangout (Including Hangout Music Fest,

Oysters & Sunsets

which I’ve attended the past four years and already have my tickets for 2015!), the Oyster Cook-Off boasted oysters created by more than 70 chefs and restaurants from across the country competing in three categories, the second annual Absolut Vodka Bloody Mary Invitational, beer, wine, moonshine, champagne and live music.


The judging of the oysters was helmed this year by the Kansas City Barbeque Society and took place in three categories: Raw, Rockefeller and Cajun, which was open to “any variation on (the chef’s) take of Cajun flavor from the Gulf Coast.” Winners can be found here.

While I truly enjoyed judging the more than 16 oysters that were placed in front of me (judging is done blind, by tables of six and submission number, as all KCBS judging is done), the most fun I had was getting to know the judges next to me: Erin Street, Senior Editor of Travel & Integrated Content for Southern Living (@erinshawstreet) and David Holloway, Food Writer for (@eatingdude).

If you’re looking for an excuse to visit Gulf Shores during the fall, the Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Beer Weekend at the Hangout is the best you could ever find.

Oysters & Sunsets


Thank you to New Orleans Magazine Food Editor Dale Curry for giving up her spot to me this year; to Ashley Fulmer, Krissy Nynas and Niki Lim for all their assistance and support; and to #oco14 and @thehangoutGS for a wonderful time!