Kinion Bankston, owner of Southern Boyz Outdoors, served Louisiana jambalaya and fresh alligator during Big Bird’s Bait and Bows second annual open house, hosted by owners Big Bird and Jenell Ciak on September 13.

The Ciaks befriended Bankston, who is from Pumpkin Center, LA. The Louisiana native visits Grant City to hunt each year. Bankston is friends with Swamp People celebrity Bruce Mitchell and the alligator he was serving was one of the alligators caught by Mitchell on the last season.

Bankston and his crew were in Texas the previous week, serving 5,000 plates of jambalaya to hurricane victims. He stated that jambalaya needs to be cooked in a cast iron pot and that he usually uses a 50-gallon pot.

“Jambalaya is a Louisiana delicacy. We take pride in how we cook it,” Bankston stated.

Bankston explained that he never serves the same two pots of jambalaya because he does not measure his seasonings. He just adds a little of everything until he likes the taste. He advocates cooking each meat separately to keep their original flavors intact. He also recommends using parboiled rice because it’s not as sticky. See his recipe below.

Using a cast iron pot:

Brown 2 lbs. smoked sausage; take it out.

Brown 3 lbs. boneless chicken, add Worcestershire sauce, Louisiana Hot Sauce and Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning to taste; take it out.

Brown 5 lbs. lean pork, add the same seasonings used for chicken; take it out.

Crystallize 1 lb. onions with bell peppers and celery, stirring so it doesn’t burn.

Add 1 can Rotell

Add 1/2 tsp. garlic

Add more Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning; cook until water is gone.

Add meat and mix.

Add 3 C. parboiled rice and 6 C. water.

Bring to a boil, cover with lid and turn fire down to low. Let sit 20 minutes.

Flip the mixture and recover. Continue to flip and serve when rice is soft.

In addition to jambalaya and alligator, participants also had the choice of fried fish and BBQ pork catered by Jerry Godsey of the Back 40 BBQ.

Local professional AJ Jacoby, Ravenwood, gave participants a seminar on catfish and Andrew Nordye, Mozingo Lake fishing guide, gave a seminar on bass fish. Bill Brookshire gave a presentation on archery.

Members of the Nodaho Bow Hunters performed free bow inspections.