3rd Annual Vaquero Cook-Off in full swing at Historic Market Square

The cook-off gives a total of 13 teams across two divisions an opportunity to show off their skills.

SAN ANTONIO – The cattle drive is on, and the San Antonio Stock Show is just ahead.

With Saturday’s parade of longhorns in downtown San Antonio comes all things rodeo, including plenty of live music and lots of good eats.

The 3rd annual Vaquero Cook-Off kicked off just after the parade at the Historic Market Square and campout cooks are glad to be back after the pandemic canceled last year’s culinary exhibition.

We are just excited to be back. We are ready and I think everyone’s ready for this city to just get back to celebrating, getting together, having a good time,” said Karen Dudek, chairman of the Vaquero Cook-Off.

The cook-off gives a total of 13 teams across two divisions an opportunity to show off their cooking skills.

“OK, so for the regular kickoff members, it is cook’s choice, which is any traditional Mexican food dish, chili, Menudo, and postre Mexicano -- a Mexican dessert. And for the kids, it’s Spanish rice and charro beans,” said Dudek.

A competing team of teenagers from Cotulla High School said they have what it takes to really impress the judges and maybe take home the cash.

I feel, I feel pretty good with our team. I feel very confident. We have a lot of good, hardworking individuals here, and you know, I know we’re capable of it and all we can do,” said Kaleb Linares, a contestant.

Team Leader Reynaldo Narvaiz said they’ve won several grand championships with their Spanish rice and beans — a recipe that’s been tried, tested, and perfected.

“You got brown rice with oil. And once you get a nice brown crispy color, you do get to put your tomato sauce. So, I’ll tell you a bit there and then add your water for one cup of rice is two cups of water. If you want to be pretty squared on,” Narvaiz said.

The prize for all their cooking efforts is $1,500, a team championship plaque, and a free space at next year’s cook-off.

“I wish everyone good luck here and I think we’ll be all right,” Narvaiz said.

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About the Author:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.