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Fire co. promises a ‘hot’ time

Hot bologna is a favorite Coal Region snack, and the Citizens Fire Co. No. 1 in Tamaqua wants to know who has the best recipe.

While they’re at it, the 99 W. Rowe St. fire company is also looking to see who has the tastiest smoked cheese - and intends to find the answers to both during its first Hot Bologna and Smoked Cheese Cookoff on April 8.

It will the first event of its kind for the fire company.

“We were at a company meeting one night and we were all talking and saying, ‘We have to come up with something that no one does,’” said company Captain Jeff Hartz. “You know you kind of run the same stuff that everyone else does, and it kind of gets old.”

They realized that most members enjoy hot bologna and smoked cheese. Hartz suggested a contest to see who has the best.

“Everyone said, ‘That might work. Let’s see what happens,’” he said.

Those who make hot bologna often have their own secret spins on the recipe, which typically calls for ring bologna, red pepper, vinegar and water.

“You always hear, ‘You gotta try this person’s, or you gotta try that person’s,’” Hartz said.

He knows of a deli in Tamaqua that makes an exceptional one, for example.

“My dad makes good stuff. I like his,” Hartz added. “And there’s a guy from Summit Hill who makes it with hot sauce that’s pretty good.”

As for the smoked cheese, he expects different types.

“People could go from anywhere from pepper jack to Cooper sharp to Gouda, all different types of cheese. It all has different flavor,” he said.

The event runs from 4-8 p.m. Folks can judge by purchasing a “judging card,” he said, or just show up at the social hall for refreshments and festivities. Cash awards will be given for the hottest and best overall in both categories.

Information on how to enter is available at “Citizens Fire Company #1 Tamaqua” on Facebook. Preregistration is being taken at citizensfirecompany@yahoo.com.