By Becky Billingsley
Saturday, May 26, 2012, Myrtle Beach - Tonight at 7:05 p.m., the Myrtle Beach Pelicans will attempt to clinch a series of wins over the Wilmington Blue Rocks, and fans can clinch great new food choices.
Ring of Fire Grille is now open behind first base at TicketReturn.com Field sporting dramatic flames and bright orange and red hues. Within that Ring of Fire is a grill kicking out half-pound Angus Burgers, Italian Sausage, Bratwurst and Veggie Burgers.
Pelicans Director of Food and Beverage, Brad Leininger, says a Premium Steak Sandwich is already a hit with fans.
Baseball lovers can also get a taste of traditional Horry County cuisine with Chicken Bog Balls. Chicken Bog's roots began in Antebellum days when this area had dozens of rice plantations. Then and now local residents are rice eaters, and the traditional dish evolved from when a big cast iron pot of rice with game meat was a dinner staple for field workers.
As time passed and fewer people hunted, chicken edged rabbit, duck and venison out of the pot. Slicing up smoked sausage and chunking that in the mix added just the right spiciness to give the meal character.
And that, basically, is Chicken Bog: rice, chicken and smoked sausage.
In Georgetown County an almost identical dish is called Pilau (pronounced PERlow). The main difference is that more liquid is used, making the grains more separate and less sticky, or boggy.
But it took two fellows from Pittsburgh - Ed Flambard and T. J. Allinder of local restaurant Socastee Station - to come up with Chicken Bog Balls. They seem to be starting a new tradition, judging from the dish's popularity.
Four chefs brought their AAA games to TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark in Myrtle Beach on April 4 as finalists in the 2012 Home Run Recipe Contest.
Socastee Station's Chicken Bog Balls were declared the winner, and Leininger said Chicken Bog Balls are perfect for bringing local flavors to the ballpark menu.
The Socastee Station duo forms chicken bog into golf ball-size balls, dips them in beer batter and flash-fries them. They're cut in half, dusted with Old Bay Seasoning and served with a spicy mayonnaise-based sauce.
Chicken Bog Balls and the rest of the Ring of Fire treats will be available at Pelicans home games, including at tonight's and Sunday night's games against the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Ticket prices start at $8. Ring of Fire menu prices range from $6-$9.75.