Aldersgate raises summer camp food to new level
Summer camp food is a lot more than hot dogs and trail mix at Aldersgate Camps and Resorts in Turner, Oregon!
Snuggled within a 40-acre forest, Aldersgate is a year-round camp that hosts children programs, women’s groups, business offsites and other events. And Foodservice Director and Chef Bradley Evers makes sure the food is as inspiring as the camp’s gorgeous surroundings.
In fact, camp-goers often arrive to appetite-inducing aroma of Chef Brad’s specialties like turkey, ribs and beef eye-of-round roast that are slow-smoking at the central kitchen.
Aldersgate Summer Camp Food video transcript
My name is Bradley Evers. I’m the food service manager and chef here at Aldersgate Camps and Retreats. We’re located in Turner, Oregon.
Aldersgate is a 40-acre camp and retreat center. We have about 450 beds here of which about 250 are camp style A-frame tents where you hike to the restroom and showers and back.
And then we have about 200 beds that are motel-style rooms where three or four people sleep in a room. They have their own bed and shower and bath.
We work with adult civic groups. We do churches and nonprofit organizations. So children to high schoolers to adult men and women to families.
We don’t do the stereotypical summer camp food that camps are famous for. We like to serve good fresh food. One of our signature items are fresh baked goods. Almost all our bread is fresh out of oven.
We try not to do a lot of breaded things like fried chicken — that sort of thing. You’ll find more marinated unbreaded things. But really I call it my aroma therapy. So as guest groups start arriving on a Friday night they can smell the smoke from the Traeger smoker. They can smell of fresh bread in the oven.
Turkey breast provides flexibility
The turkey breast is a new item introduced about three or four weeks ago and started doing some smoking with it. It just has such a wide variety of uses. We can smoke it and serve it hot. We can cool it and do a real turkey breast sandwich — not the process chopped and pressed deli meat — that kind of stuff. It’s real meat, it’s whole meat.
What we have here is Foster Farms marinated, tumbled turkey breast loaf. It’s about four to five pound average. I’m going to put a little olive oil on and then massage that in to give it a nice coat. And I’m going to sprinkle it with the Montreal chicken seasoning. Coat it liberally. You can’t get too much on it.
So we’re going to put this in our smoker on smoke mode. The pellet smoker will run a hundred and seventy five to 200 degrees. And so we’re going to go ahead and leave it in the smoker. We’re going to insert our temperature probe. The most important thing is to pay attention to the internal temperature. When you’re done you want to be 170 degrees.
About every hour I come out and I base that with a little butter on top just to keep it nice and moist and to give it a nice color. We’ll have a beautiful golden brown turkey breast ready to be sliced.
Look at that… isn’t that beautiful just a light smoke ring around the outside. You can either chill it, chop it or prepare for a hot dish or any other item.
One thing that I really appreciate about my job here is that I get to work with young people, young adults with their first jobs. Fourteen, 15, 16 years old and you know they’re learning to work. It’s a first time experience working. Lot of them have a goal of saving for college or a car or maybe it’s as simple as purchasing a cell phone plan.
And so it’s fun to bring those children in and nurture them from small and get them going.
There’s a part about serving people that helps benefit my spirit.