Brier Hill, St. Lawrence County
Annual Bullhead Feed
Fishing for bullhead, a bottom-feeding, scavenger fish of North Country waters that resembles a catfish, has long been a popular spring and early summer pursuit in the region. While many individuals fish for bullhead, one of the most common community traditions in the region is public suppers—”bullhead feeds”—most often organized and prepared by men’s groups. The Brier Hill Volunteer Fire Department continues one of the oldest bullhead feeds in the region in their fire hall which serves their small community. Begun in 1937 as a fundraiser, the bullhead feed is a community-wide social event as well, with nearly 1000 meals served each year. Nearly everyone in the area participates. Traditionally the women serve the food while the men prepare and cook the fish. An informal master-apprentice system prepares young cooks who are trusted with the well-guarded “secret recipe” for this regional specialty.
Click and listen to the audio clips below to learn more about the Brier Hill Volunteer Fire Department:
Fire chief Bob Simmons tells how community volunteers solicit food for the annual feed.
Charter member Dean Daniels recalls how the bullhead feed has grown over the years.