If you have lived in North Dakota for the past several years, you’ve probably seen the advertisements for pitchfork fondue in Medora.
By COLE BENZ | Record Editor
If you have lived in North Dakota for the past several years, you’ve probably seen the advertisements for pitchfork fondue in Medora. But did you know, you don’t have to travel very far to taste the unique style of cooking?
Every year the Hettinger Area Chamber of Commerce brings their own pitchfork fondue event to Hettinger, an event that dates back a few decades. This year’s event is at the Hettinger Country Club on Saturday, Sept. 17. Social hour begins at 5:30 p.m. and the meal is served at 6:30 p.m.
For years, Don Howe was in charge of the event, and he provided an old fashioned cast iron kettle he owned for cooking. Due to health reasons, Mike Marion has stepped in and taken over the event, as well as providing a new kettle for the cooking.
The event is very popular among area residents, as Marion usually sells most of the advance tickets.
Marion is also in charge of the crew that cooks the steaks for serving.
Cost to attend is $20 for advance tickets and $25 at the door, but according to Earlene Friez, the event isn’t really meant to be a fundraiser, it’s designed to be more of a social event, with a neat twist in the method of cooking the food. The cost includes a thick and juicy ribeye steak, baked potato, tossed salad, a roll and a brownie.
You won’t be shortchanged when it comes to the main item on your dinner plate. The oil is heated to roughly 380 degrees fahrenheit, and to be considered ‘medium,’ the steaks need to only be in the oil for five minutes. Because of this method, and the way the oil cooks the meat, the steak needs to be large and thick to retain a premium taste.
There’s a lot of meat consumed at the event. In past year’s, the crowd has been served well over 100 lb. Dating back to 2002, Friez said records showed that 125 people were served, and the size of these steaks averaged 1 lb.
The steaks have been purchased from both Kennedy’s Fresh Foods and Dakota Packing, and the pitchforks are a mainstay of the event that have been used from year to year.
If you haven’t tried pitchfork fondue, its a unique opportunity, and a unique taste, according to Friez.
“[The meat] has a unique taste,” Friez said. “It’s not like grilled, I mean it has a unique taste of its own.” Friez says that the taste and method of cooking is all a part of what makes the event such great experience for people that come out and partake.