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Don’t labor on Labor Day

I live in Desloge and I live close to the city park, so needless to say the Desloge Labor Day Picnic has always been a favorite with my family.

We have never had to worry about finding a place to park because it’s easy enough to just walk down to grab a bite to eat, to visit with old friends or to watch the parade. Since we are so close to all the festivities, our house became the gathering place for many (and I do mean many) of our children’s friends during the holiday. It was easy for them to come by to cool off when it was hot, to get out of the rain when it was wet, but most of all to find something to eat when they ran out of money.

Feeding hordes of children became easy and cheap when I discovered that the crock pot was my best friend and deer and/or elk roast made delicious Sloppy Joes. Half the children didn’t even know they were eating wild game and the other half couldn’t wait to tell them (after they had eaten their sandwich).

I still make these on Labor Day even though the days of scampering children and rowdy teenagers are only dim memories. I believe the reason we still love this treat is just for that very reason – it reminds us of the days our house overflowed with hungry youngsters having fun on the last unofficial day of summer.

It takes two days to prepare these Sloppy Joes, but since the crock pot needs no attention, that should not be a problem. Put a fair-size deer or elk roast into the crock pot. The size will depend on how many people you plan to feed.

I always poured about a half can of beer on top (throwing away the other half of course), and set the crock pot on simmer early on Sunday morning and let it cook down all day. That evening, I removed the meat, threw away any liquid in the pot, cleaned the pot very well, replaced the meat and put the pot into the refrigerator.

The next morning, I poured a bottle of barbecue sauce over the meat – Maull’s is my favorite – and let that simmer until someone got hungry. Keep buns, plenty of napkins, and I always fixed a plate of fresh vegetables with some dip. Everyone helped themselves and there was no mess and no fuss.

It makes a completely labor-free Labor Day.

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