Culture

2020 Men of the Year: Hot Spring Chicken Chefs

View of the 'Old Faithful' geyser which
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Larousse Gastronomique, "the world's most famous culinary reference book," contains more than 40 recipes for chicken. But none of them includes how to cook one in a hot spring. So we are truly grateful for the intrepid efforts of Eric Romriell, Eric Roberts, and his cousin Dallas Roberts.

Last August, the three men took their families to Yellowstone National Park. But rather than roast your typical hot dogs over an open fire, they decided to cook chicken in one of the Shoshone Geyser Basin's hot springs. That's right: They took the bus to Flavortown.

Romriell, an Idaho ophthalmologist, told the New York Times that he and his cohorts brined two chickens before placing them in a roasting bag and burlap sack, which he then lowered into a hot spring, where water temperatures can exceed 200 degrees.

Alas, a park ranger spotted the pots, asked a few questions, and returned the following day to issue citations. Turns out it's illegal to put any foreign object into a hot spring, and that apparently includes chicken (as George Costanza would say, "Was that wrong?"). Our courageous cooks were placed on two years' probation—banned from Yellowstone Park for the duration of that time—and issued minor fines.

Making your way around geysers and hot springs can be perilous. Dozens of hikers have met horrible fates when they ventured off the boardwalks, falling through a thin crust of earth into boiling liquid. (The Chicago Tribune described one such victim as having "dissolved.") Which is why we remain in awe of these modern-day pioneers who could've gotten their gooses cooked instead of their chickens. (As for the meal itself, Romriell told the Times, "It was fantastic.")

And so we congratulate Eric Romriell, Eric Roberts, and Dallas Roberts for being chosen Washington Free Beacon Men of the Year. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!