The All-American Certified Angus Beef® Cook-Off contest is now in its 30th year of providing food, entertainment and an educational experience to junior Angus members. The popular contest at the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS) not only teaches youth about the Certified Angus Beef® (CAB) product, but also how to communicate beef’s nutritional importance.
Juniors participating in the 2013 NJAS in Kansas City, Mo., should enter their teams into the cook-off by the May 15 deadline. To compete, teams of two to six National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) members decide on a recipe and prepare it in one of three meat divisions: steak, roast and other beef item. The second portion of the cook-off includes a creative skit showcasing CAB.
Sponsored by the American Angus Auxiliary and the NJAA, the focus of the competition is more than a winning team: “It’s about creating a generation of young people who are passionate about the beef industry and equipped to tell their stories,” says Anne Lampe, cook-off co-chair.
However in the spirit of competition, the Auxiliary provides hints for NJAA members to excel on contest day.
“Participants always do an excellent job of describing the CAB specifications in their skit,” Lampe says. “The Auxiliary challenges the teams to go further and explain why the specifications qualify the CAB brand as better than ordinary beef.”
The CAB website hosts several different information sources and ideas to prepare for the cook off, including the carcass specifications, various cuts and cooking methods, degrees of doneness, and recipes and marinade ideas.
“The recipes are a great source to begin developing a product for the cook-off contest,” Lampe says. “But the dishes that stand out aren’t from a recipe book; they are bold and original.”
Lampe also suggests preparing the recipe before the day of competition. Should CAB products not be accessible to the team, Certified Angus Beef is willing to locate and ship the product to NJAA members one to two weeks before the contest. The team is responsible of payment for the product and shipping costs. Teams can contact Marilyn Conley, CAB Supply Development Administrative Assistant, at 303-345-2333 or firstname.lastname@example.org
“Filling your skit with information is important, not only to impress the judges but also to inform the audience,” Lampe says. “But don’t forget to entertain, as well.”
CAB chef Michael Ollier says the cook-off contest is important for the future of the beef industry because it teaches youth where the product ends up, what it looks like and how it performs.
“It’s great that youth in the beef industry understand how to care for a live animal to create a high-quality product,” Ollier says. “But, it’s just as important to know how to treat each cut of meat to ensure a great eating experience.”
That’s powerful knowledge to have at such a young age, Ollier says, especially when consumers have a growing interest in where their food comes from.
“We can only be so lucky to have Angus junior members as the future leaders of our country,” Ollier says.
Visit www.angus.org/njaa to enter the All-American Certified Angus Beef® Cook-Off before the May 15 deadline. States can enter one team per category and age division.
Think you’re too old for the All-American Certified Angus Beef® Cook-Off? Consider participating in the Chef’s Challenge for junior Angus members, 18 to 21 years old, and adult members, 21 and older. Similar to the cook-off, the Chef’s Challenge involves preparing a meal – but using secret ingredients announced the day before the contest and received one hour prior to the competition.