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The meat-cutting crew includes (from left to right) Scott Olson, Tom Congar of Buffalo Gap, Keith Williams and Jay Cutts. Photos by Cyndi Beers and LeAnne Cutts. Click to enlarge photos.
The meat-cutting crew includes (from left to right) Scott Olson, Tom Congar of Buffalo Gap, Keith Williams and Jay Cutts. Photos by Cyndi Beers and LeAnne Cutts. Click to enlarge photos.
These pitchforks are used for food only.
These pitchforks are used for food only.
The Cutts family, Olson and Williams held their 5th pitchfork fondue party last month.
The Cutts family, Olson and Williams held their 5th pitchfork fondue party last month.
An old scalding pot, homemade burner and 25 gallons of peanut oil are used to cook the pork and beef chunks.
An old scalding pot, homemade burner and 25 gallons of peanut oil are used to cook the pork and beef chunks.
Pitchfork fondue cook Keith Williams pulls finished meat out of the hot oil.
Pitchfork fondue cook Keith Williams pulls finished meat out of the hot oil.
Removing the meat from the hot forks.
Removing the meat from the hot forks.
'Skinny potatoes' and Dutch oven desserts round out the meal.
"Skinny potatoes" and Dutch oven desserts round out the meal.
97 people attended this year's party.
97 people attended this year's party.
Bob's Country Band of Ponca, Neb. provided post-meal entertainment one year.
Bob's Country Band of Ponca, Neb. provided post-meal entertainment one year.
Ruby Cutts, Jay's mother, and Eugene 'Swede' Olson of Gayville were two of the dancers.
Ruby Cutts, Jay's mother, and Eugene "Swede" Olson of Gayville were two of the dancers.

Tines of Thanks

Aug 19, 2013

The pitchfork is sometimes used as a symbol of hard work, or perhaps as an indicator of an angry mob. At Jay & LeAnne Cutts’ farm near Mission Hill, it’s a sign of friendship. For the past 5 years, the Yankton County couple and their sons Frank, Robbie and George have hosted a pitchfork fondue party to show appreciation for friends, neighbors and acquaintances. “I invite people that have touched me or my family in some way, people I want to share with and say ‘Thank you for being my friend,’” LeAnne says.

The Cutts family provides the meat — this year, a case of pork loin and aged prime sirloin — and other fixings. Mission Hill residents Scott Olson and Keith Williams bring the setup, the fondueing know-how, and the clean pitchforks. “They’ve got it down to a science,” LeAnne says. 

Williams also prepares “skinny potatoes,” shredded hash browns cooked in a Dutch oven with heavy whipping cream, cheese and two pounds of bacon. Raw vegetables, fruit and Dutch oven desserts fill out the menu.

Guests gather their lawn chairs around the fondue crew to watch them work. After the meal is served, there’s live music and dancing, outdoor films for the kids, and plenty of good conversation.  

It’s hard for South Dakotans to come empty-handed, but Olson, Williams and the Cutts family provide everything needed for a pleasant summer evening. “People always say, ‘What can I bring? What can I bring?’” LeAnne says. “I tell them just to come and have a good time.”



Pitchfork Fondue Tips

  • Use a big pot. At the Cutts’ party, they use an old cast iron scalding pot, a relic of hog butchering days, which holds about 25 gallons of oil. “If you were using a smaller pot, it’d be tough to keep the temperature up where it needs to be,” says Jay.
     
  • Heat the oil to 325-350 degrees.
     
  • Cooking time varies by the size of the meat chunks. “The trick is to know when to pull the meat out,” says Jay. “It is so hot that it keeps cooking as you take it off the fork,” He recommends going by color. “The pork turns to a light tender brown and the beef is probably gray. You don’t want any brown to the beef.”
     
  • Season the meat with a bit of seasoned salt — no steak sauce or other condiments are needed.

 

Comments

09:00 am - Fri, August 23 2013
Heidi said:
Sounds like there's nothing "skinny" about the potatoes! Love it!
07:35 pm - Sun, September 22 2013
Cheri said:
Photo credit should be Cyndi Beers vs. Cyndy Bierce.
07:11 am - Mon, September 23 2013
Connie Jensen said:
It is a summer social at its best!!!!
02:33 pm - Thu, September 18 2014
Donna Uhrenholdt said:
For Jay & Leanne?(wife):
Dale Hebda & I have been trying to locate your mailing address for crop insurance reasons. Is Mission Hill, or Viborg your mailing address?

He would like to visit with you someday. My husband (Rich) & I work with Dale in the business.
Appreciate your response. Neat website, looks fun!
Donna

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