∞ Dorr's Famous Ox Roast ∞
The Legend of the Dorr 4th of July Celebration and Ox Roast
According to Steve Dutkiewicz, President Dick’s Market
2019 Dorr Sesquicentennial Celebration should give us pause to reflect on how we got here and who helped along the way. This account of a little Dorr history comes from a guy who was born here in 1957 and has lived, worked, and played in Dorr his whole life. There are probably many Dorr residents who can enhance or correct my memory of events and I welcome them to do so here.
My earliest recollection of the 4th of July Celebration is that it was held at the ballfield where the Epiphany Lutheran church now stands. The highlight for us youngsters was to ride around town on the Dorr fire truck again and again. Just hop on the side or top and hold on, Weee!
Then in the mid-60’s Joe Gries donated the land that is now south park. We watched in wonder as the bulldozers cleared away trees and brush until finally the new park was created. A few years later the park finally got the building that stands today. It was pulled from it’s foundation at the old Dorr Raceway on 141st ave and put on a flatbed truck which slowly transported it to the park.
Dorr's 4th of July Celebration continued to grow throughout the 60’s & 70’s with many of the townsfolk volunteering and participating as it was with many small towns that would make merry together. These were the days before central air, swimming pools, gas grills, made our own back yards so much fun. Many small towns have seen the demise of their traditional festivals due to lack of participation and volunteers. Indeed, Dorr’s Celebration has been run by just a handful of dedicated volunteers the last 10 years. Luckily we had a few more step up the last few years as we’ve also lost a few volunteers.
My personal commitment began the summer of 1987. Both the town’s small grocery stores closed as the new Dick’s Market opened in the Hillcrest mall. As the head butcher here the Ox Roast Prep fell to me. At that time, Jerry Jansen’s crew were doing all the prep and cooking. They were still doing this in much the same way as the original guys did it in the 60’s. Men like Bob Herp, Dick Dutkiewicz, and Glen Snyder would all join in on July 3rd to bone, trim, tie, & mount on spits the big beef rounds. These slow-roasted all night until they were brought in and cut up to put on the slicers the morning of the 4th.
The beef was then added to the simmering pots of the Secret Barbecue Sauce. To my knowledge the sauce was created by the aforementioned Glen Snyder but some would argue it was another person’s creation. I just know that even to this day I couldn’t tell you the ingredients or preparation for the Dorr Ox Roast barbecue sauce.
My specialty has been to bring the beef prep and cooking into the 21st century. After working with Jerry’s crew the first year and watching everyone’s hands bleeding from the butcher twine while trying to tie the beast up, I knew there had to be a better way. I showed Mel Stoepker of Sparta Sheet Metal the stuffing horn that we used to net our rolled roasts at Dick’s with. I challenged him to make a XXL one of stainless steel for the Ox Roast which he did. That served us well until finally Jerry’s crew retired and I was left on my own to cook the beef.
The large roasters at the park had seen better days and it required many men to put the ox on those spits and then watch them roast all night. At that point which was about when the new Dick’s Market opened in 2008 I decided to make the health inspector happy and not prep and cook the beef outdoors at the park any longer. These days I spend the days before the 4th trimming, rubbing, and cooking the beef in our Smokehouse which is actually an over-sized convection oven. I takes about 15 hours to slow-roast the pieces of beef in several rounds/days before completed. Then my new crew of friends and volunteers gather in our meat prep room to slice and sauce the beef until it is ready to be served to you on the 4th of July.
Thanks for your support of Dorr’s July 4th Celebration.