For 61 years, the city of Payson has put on a cookout on the first Friday of August the likes of which foodie dreams are made of—the Payson Salmon Supper.
This Friday, August 7, $16 will earn guests from near and far a ticket to snake through the city park in a line that will eventually lead to mecca on a plate—a full pound of smoky salmon, baked potato, corn on the cob, salad, roll and a cookie.
From 5-8 p.m., city firemen and ambulance workers tend fruitwood-fueled fires atop of which approximately 4,500 lbs. of Alaskan salmon are basted with butter, salted and grilled to perfection. Custom-made racks covered in chicken wire allow for cooking and transporting in what appears to be a seamlessly organized event.
High school football players bus tables and stock the serving line while cheerleaders collect tickets and fill trays. Town volunteers provide conversation, smiles and—most importantly—food to eager diners. The Payson Salmon Supper offers one of the most charming small-town experiences you can still enjoy here.
It will come as no surprise that the secret of the Payson Salmon Supper is out. Tour buses surround the park that is at times hazy from the fires as waves of attendees devour fillet after fillet of juicy, mouthwatering salmon. But the trip south to Payson and the small price for a heaping plate of food prepared with care are worth the experience—year after year. We’ll see you in Payson. Come hungry.