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Rodeo Reliant Roundup 2020: Corn and Cocktails for the Win

Pooja Salhotra
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  • Crime Stoppers and Buzz team members

    For winning “Best in Show,” Crime Stoppers of Houston won an extra $5,000. Pictured here with the check is (from left) Kaitlynn Frey, Nichole Christoph, Russell Weil, Pooja Salhotra, Sydney Zuiker and Joni Hoffman. 

  • Cooking

    Nichole Christoph roasts shishito peppers while Russell Weil prepares the creamed corn. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

  • Sweet N Smokey Homestyle Corn

    The winning Sweet N Smokey Homestyle Corn. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

  • Nichole Christoph

    Deputy Director of Crime Stoppers of Houston Nichole Christoph prepares to share her masterpieces with the judges. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra) 

  • Deborah Duncan, Nichole Christoph, Russell Weil,

    Emcee Deborah Duncan pauses for a picture with Nichole Christoph and Russell Weil. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

  • Crime Stoppers and Buzz team members
  • Cooking
  • Sweet N Smokey Homestyle Corn
  • Nichole Christoph
  • Deborah Duncan, Nichole Christoph, Russell Weil,

As preparations for the 2020 Rodeo Houston BBQ Cookoff were underway on Thursday afternoon, teams of media personalities and charity partners scurried around a tent at NRG prepping their dishes for a timed charity cooking contest.

For the second year in a row, The Buzz partnered with Crime Stoppers of Houston for this annual event, called the Reliant Rodeo Roundup Cooking Charity Contest. Russell Weil represented The Buzz while Nichole Christoph represented Crime Stoppers. This dynamic duo prepared a “Sweet N Smokey Homestyle Corn” as their side dish and a “Buzzin Mexican Mule” as their cocktail. After winning “Best Bite” last year for their “Buzzin’ Bacon Mac n Cheese,” Russell and Nichole were rooting for another victory.

After 45 minutes of cooking, a panel of five judges tasted each of the 10 teams’ drinks and dishes. Judges were Fred Gaines of Freddy G’s BBQ, Emily Trusler of B.B. Lemon, Kara Slife of Café Annie, J.J. Moses, former Houston Texans player, and Katherine Whalley of ABC13. 

Monetary awards were first given out for “Best Bite,” “Best Sip” and “Best Presentation.” Finally, Russell and Nichole heard their names announced for “Best in Show” – the top prize. The team threw their hands in the air and burst into applause, thrilled with the win and with the $5,000 check that would go to Crime Stoppers. 


Nichole Christoph and Russell Weil show off their creamed corn dish. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

See below for a complete list of winners plus recipes for our winning dishes.  

  • Most Creative Recipe: Erica Rico & Kevin Kline, 93Q – Snowdrop Foundation
  • Most Unique Recipe: Syan Rhodes, KPRC (NBC) – Hair Dreams by Christal
  • Most Spirit: Brandi Smith, KHOU (CBS) – Generation One
  • Best Knife Skills: Meagan Clanahan, Houston Moms Blog – Graeme’s Run
  • Best Kitchen Skills: Chelsey Hernandez, KTRK (ABC) – Houston Area Women’s Center
  • Most Social: Derrick Shore, KPRC’s Houston Life (NBC) – The Pablove Foundation
  • Best Bite and $1,000: Natalie Harms, It’s Not Hou It’s Me/InnovationMap – Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Best Sip and $1,000: Allison Bagley, Houston Tidbits – Dress for Success
  • Best Presentation and $1,000: Ubaldo Martinez & Carlos Robles – Telemundo – Lupus Foundation of Texas 
  • Best in Show and $5,000: Russell Weil, The Buzz Magazines – Crime Stoppers
Cocktail and corn

Winning dish and cocktail: Buzzin’ Mexican Mule and Sweet N Smokey Homestyle Corn. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra) 

Recipes: 

Sweet N Smokey Homestyle Corn

Recipe courtesy of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse – Del Frisco’s Grille, Chef Ariel Fox.  

Roasted Sweet Corn & Roasted Shishito Peppers, ingredients:  
8 Qts Shucked Sweet Corn
¾ Cup Oil Blend, 90/10
3 Tbsp Salt and Pepper Mix
1 ½ oz of Shishito Pepper
1 tsp of Sea Salt
2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

Basic Cream, ingredients:
½ cup Oil Blend, 90/10
¾ cup Garlic, minced 
2 Gal Heavy Cream, 40%
12 fl oz Cold Water
10 oz Corn Starch
¼ cup Salt & White Pepper Mix

Creamed Corn, ingredients: 
2 cups Heavy Cream
1.5 cups Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 tbsp Lime Juice
1 tbsp Salt and White Pepper Mix
1 ½ Tbsp BBQ Spice
2 ½ qts Basic Cream 
6 qts Sweet Corn  

Directions for Roasted Sweet Corn & Roasted Shishito Peppers:

  1. Place sweet corn and oil blend in a large mixing bowl. Mix to evenly coat the corn with the oil
  2. Add the salt and pepper and mix thoroughly
  3. Distribute evenly on three sheet trays
  4. Place in hot broiler, with the drawer up all the way. Roast under the broiler for approximately 3-4 minutes, stirring 2 to 3 times. Remove from boiler when corn has reached a slight amber color. 
  5. Let cool. Place in Cambro. Label, date and refrigerate (Shelf Life: 5 days) 
  6. In a separate mixing bowl, toss peppers in olive oil then season with sea salt. 
  7. Roast under broiler on high heat at medium level drawer setting, approximately 3-4 minutes to achieve a light brown blister.
  8. After roasting, let cool, remove stem and cut into ½” pieces
  9. Prep small amounts, often, to retain dark color of shishito pepper. Do not use next day. 

Directions for Basic Cream:

  1. Take a saucepan and add oil
  2. Heat oil slightly, then add garlic and sauté in oil until lightly brown in color and toasty aroma
  3. Add heavy cream and bring cream to a boil
  4. In a separate stainless steel bowl, add the water and cornstarch and whisk with wire whip to form a slurry
  5. Add slurry to boiling cream in slow steady stream while whisking quickly to thicken sauce
  6. Once sauce is thickened, return it to a boil and then season with salt and white pepper

Directions for Creamed Corn: 

  1. Bring heavy cream to a boil and whisk in basic cream sauce
  2. On medium-low heat, whisk in the parmesan cheese until it has melted into the sauce
  3. Add the grilled corn. Simmer just until the corn is heated throughout. 
  4. Add the lime juice, salt & pepper, and BBQ spice. 
  5. Top with shishito peppers and serve

Buzzin’ Mexican Mule

Recipe courtesy of Del Frisco’s beverage operations division 

Ingredients: 
1.5 oz Don Julio Blanco Tequila
.5 oz Cointreau Orange Liqueur 
.75 oz Fresh Lime Juice
.5 oz Peach Real 
.25 oz Liber and Co Gum Syrup 

Recipe directions: 
Shake and strain ingredients over fresh ice. Then, top with 2 oz of Ginger Beer and serve immediately.  

Crime Stoppers and Buzz team members

For winning “Best in Show,” Crime Stoppers of Houston won an extra $5,000. Pictured here with the check is (from left) Kaitlynn Frey, Nichole Christoph, Russell Weil, Pooja Salhotra, Sydney Zuiker and Joni Hoffman. 

Cooking

Nichole Christoph roasts shishito peppers while Russell Weil prepares the creamed corn. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

Sweet N Smokey Homestyle Corn

The winning Sweet N Smokey Homestyle Corn. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

Nichole Christoph

Deputy Director of Crime Stoppers of Houston Nichole Christoph prepares to share her masterpieces with the judges. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra) 

Deborah Duncan, Nichole Christoph, Russell Weil,

Emcee Deborah Duncan pauses for a picture with Nichole Christoph and Russell Weil. (Photo: Pooja Salhotra)

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