Let the Games Begin!

by Big Cedar Lodge 27. July 2012 12:21

So you can’t run a mile under four minutes, or hurl a javelin further than a few feet… Don’t give up on your Olympic dreams.  Big Cedar Lodge’s Ozark Olympic Games are about to begin!  But don’t expect to find the usual track and field events in this competition; instead, athletes take part in Bobbin’ for Pig Ears, Cow Patty Toss, Seed Spittin’ Contest, Squealin’ Pig Toss, Pie Eating Race, and many more Ozark themed games of skill.  Follow us next week as several aspiring Olympians fulfill their dreams of bringing home gold while “Gittin’ Spiffy” in authentic hillbilly attire.  Check your Big Cedar Lodge Facebook for updates!

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Kids Only | Outdoor Fun

Who Knew I Could Make Fried Chicken Taste Like That???

by Big Cedar Lodge 24. July 2012 15:24

After posting the blog with Genny Morris’ Buttermilk Fried Chicken recipe, I decided to try the method myself.  I must admit, I’ve tried to make fried chicken before but each time it turned out dry and overcooked, or soggy and completely unattractive to potential partakers.  My last attempt left my brother-in-law questioning what exactly was in the pan as I lifted the lid. “What happened to the chicken?” was his response.  In other words, I’m not a fried chicken cook, and I have never played one in a television movie.  So when I decided to try Genny’s recipe, I never thought that it would actually turn out to look just like the picture.

But it did!  When I served my family the crispy, perfectly browned breasts, they looked at me in suspicion.  “You made this?” my husband asked, “It looks like (I won’t post the three letters but it starts with a K and ends with a C) chicken.”  And the best was yet to come.  As everyone started cutting into the chicken, it was obvious they were as amazed as I was… It was moist, flavorful, and perfectly cooked.  I don’t mean to pat myself on the back (actually I really do!), but it was the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.  And my family agreed… Thank you, Genny Morris!

Todd Leonard is Keeping it Fresh at Big Cedar Lodge

by Big Cedar Lodge 20. July 2012 09:29

One thing Todd Leonard knows is good food.  Todd, the Director of Restaurants for Big Cedar Lodge, has been with the company for 21 years, and he makes it his business to serve the best and freshest food in the area. 

Each restaurant at Big Cedar has its own unique character.   “Buzzard Bar is very casual with a vast menu, Devil’s Pool is just a step up, a little more organized but still rustic, and Worman House, although not formal, is a little more elegant,” Todd explains.  Each one serves up dishes specifically chosen for the ambiance of that particular setting. 

Although the recipes vary at each restaurant, the quality is the same throughout.  “Keeping the menu fresh and interesting” is what sets Big Cedar Lodge apart from other dining experiences, Todd believes.  “The best thing about my job is seeing repeat guests and their families return again and again!”

One of Todd’s favorite Big Cedar Lodge recipes is “Genny Morris’ Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast,” made with free range chickens purchased locally and prepared according to the Morris’ family tradition.  By itself, or with the Mashed Potatoes and Creamed Gravy, we know it will become one of your family favorites as well!  Enjoy…


Genny Morris’ Buttermilk Fried Chicken Breast

4 medium size chicken breasts

½ gallon of butter milk

Seasoned flour (salt and pepper)




Heat peanut oil in a fryer or deep edged cast iron skillet to 275°


 Place the chicken in a plastic or glass container, season the chicken with salt and pepper, pour on the buttermilk, cover and place in the fridge for 3-4 hours.


Place the flour in a container and season, after 3-4 hours remove chicken from fridge, dredge in the seasoned flour and fry for 15 to 17 minutes.  If using cast iron, you will have to turn chicken half way though cooking. When cooked, allow to drain on a paper towel.



Mashed Potatoes


3 lbs of Yukon or Idaho Potatoes

½ lb butter

1/3 cup whole milk

Salt and pepper to taste


Peel and cut the potatoes into thirds, put the potatoes into a sauce pan and top with cold water, add quite a lot of salt to the water, place on stove and bring to a boil.  Once it comes to a rolling boil, turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 20- 25 minutes or until fork tender. Once cooked, drain the potatoes, place back in the pan and put them back onto the stove to dry them out. Cut the butter into pieces and add it to the potatoes.  Add a little bit of milk; beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.  If you prefer your mashed potatoes a little looser, add a little more milk.


Creamed gravy


¼ cup drippings or butter

¼ cup flour

2 cups whole milk




Take the drippings that you fried the chicken in and heat.  Add the flour and whisk till smooth, slowly pour in the milk a little at a time to prevent lumps, reduce heat simmer for 10-15 min. stirring occasionally until milk thickens and flour is cooked out.  Add salt and pepper to taste.



Just like Todd, we try to keep this blog “fresh and interesting.”  Please let us know if there is anything you would like to see shared or discussed.  We read and respond to comments, so let us know what you think!


Dogwood Canyon: Nature's Adventure Park

by Big Cedar Lodge 13. July 2012 11:06

Are you ready for a break from the big budget theme parks and high-tech roller coasters? Then step aboard the Dogwood Canyon Nature Park tram tour and enjoy an adventure ride of a different kind.

Dogwood Canyon is exactly that—a Canyon with steep cliffs cut into the Ozark Mountains by a constant stream of spring fed waters.  From the moment the towering bluffs come into view, it’s easy to understand why Native people, early settlers, and thieving scoundrels found the area so inviting.  Listen closely as the tram driver brings to life some of their harrowing adventures!

One of the first stops on the tour is the Indian Burial Cave, where a “burial bundle” dating back to 960 AD was discovered.  Next the tram takes Long Pine Crossing, a covered bridge built by members of an Amish community.  Just around the bend, guests find themselves in Ambush Pass.  No need to worry, the hooligans who once lay in wait for unsuspecting travelers have since moved on into the legend and lore of the park.

Further into the canyon, guests are able to view several waterfalls plunging over the towering cliffs.  The crystal clear pools at the base are home to some of the largest trout in the area, making the canyon a Fly Fishing Heaven.  But fishermen are not the only ones drawn to the spring fed waters; the park is rich with animal life including mink, woodchucks, flying squirrels, blue heron, and an occasional black bear.

The highlight of the tour is the beautiful blue-green pool called The Glory Hole.  The unique, natural coloring is created by the water depth and the reflection of light.  Guests can walk up to the observation deck to view the mouth of the waterfall, or feed the fish and take in the majestic setting from the pathways below.   No fishing is allowed in this special place, so the giant rainbow trout grow to unbelievable lengths.

When the tram crosses into Arkansas, the canyon gives way to rolling prairie hills.  Here guests are able to mingle with herds of elk, bison, white tail deer, and Texas longhorn.  If you’re lucky, the king of the Dogwood Canyon Prairie will make an appearance.  Elvis, a hulking American bison, has been known to walk right up to the tram car and proudly pose for a photograph.

Add the Chuckwagon Dinner to your tour, and you’re invited to a campfire dinner complete with singing cowboys, S’mores for dessert, and games for the entire family.  Get ready to duck and dodge because no evening is complete without the epic marshmallow battle between parents and kids.  Afterwards, the trams are loaded while friendly waves and goodbyes are exchanged.

As the trail leads back to the park entrance, it slowly begins to sink in… Before modern day amusement parks, families headed into the closest wilderness area for fun and adventure.  They still do at Dogwood Canyon, and as I overheard several children say when they exited the tram, “It was AWESOME!”  

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park offers guests the thrill and excitement of a themed amusement park, combined with the love and appreciation of our natural resources.  So avoid the long lines and crowded spaces; come to Dogwood Canyon and experience adventure the way Nature intended.

Blanket Seating at Big Cedar Lodge

by Big Cedar Lodge 6. July 2012 11:33

Blanket Seating at Big Cedar Lodge

There is something fascinating about watching families spread out their blankets in preparation for a Fourth of July fireworks show.  Each step is done religiously.  As their parents and grandparents did for them; so they train the little ones.  In time, the ritual will be carried out by their children and their children’s children as well. 

The Rite begins with finding the ideal spot.  Fathers must put thought into how the fireworks will be viewed, and then mothers adjust the position according to safety.  One cannot be too close or too far; in other words, the spot must be perfect.

Next, the blanket is placed and properly squared.  Although just a piece of material, on this night it becomes theatre seating under bursting clouds of celebration.  It’s our country’s birthday, and everyone wants a front row seat.

Finally, everyone takes their position for the evening.  “Daddy, sit by me,” can be heard across the lawn, and “When is it going to start?” echoes again and again.  The anticipation is felt by young and old. 

Then it happens.  The first notes are played from the song ingrained in every American heart, the song that silences every crowd, the song that symbolizes what it means to be an American… The Star Spangled Banner. 

The sky erupts as color and sound collide.  Each rocket streams upward and envelops the sky in shimmering beauty.  One after another, each color is a little brighter and bolder than the one before.    

Big Cedar Lodge offered Bar-B-Q, pony rides, live music, and kid’s activities throughout the day on the Fourth; but guests came to see the fireworks.  The show is without a doubt, the best display in the area. 

Families travel from across the lake and across the country to find their “front row” blanket seat amongst the Ozark Mountains.  And as each exploding plume cast light on the faces below, the ritual is complete.  Big Cedar Lodge was the perfect spot!   

Happy 235th Birthday, America.

Big Cedar Lodge

Big Cedar is tucked into the wooded hillsides of the Ozark Mountains just 10 miles south of Branson, Missouri on Table Rock Lake. This popular vacation paradise - complete with Jack Nicklaus signature golf course and Dogwood Canyon Nature Park - offers cozy accommodations, delicious dining options and first class service.

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