Cooking up competition at the National Junior Angus Show

GRAND ISLAND, NE -- Forty-five teams of Angus juniors recently competed in the 33rd All-American Certified Angus Beef (CAB) Cook-Off July 5 in Grand Island, NE. The contest, sponsored by the American Angus Auxiliary and Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB), is one of the most popular events at the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS).

During the NJAS, historical figures, singing stars and pop culture characters were seen milling around the exhibition hall. Characters from the movies Anchorman and InsideOut mingled with baseball players, Willie Nelson, cowboys, Judge Judy, Olympic competitors and Minnie Pearl.

Participants prepare a CAB recipe, and write and perform a skit that promotes the product in an educational and entertaining way to the judges, the audience at the Cook-Off and, ultimately, to consumers. Teams may consist of two to six juniors, and are divided by age and type of beef used in the recipe: steak, roast or other beef.

“Year after year, we are always impressed by our Angus youth participating in the Cook-Off,” says Anne Lampe, co-chair of the competition. “The Angus breed and the CAB brand are fortunate to have such a strong future in the National Junior Angus Association members.”

As teams vie to present the best recipe and most informative and entertaining skit, they test their beef industry and CAB knowledge outside of the showring. Teams use the 10 quality standards and other research and historical facts about CAB in their skits to showcase the brand to consumers.

Andrew Livingston, Nokomis, Ill., portrayed Patrick Henry in his senior team’s steak division skit. His team prepared Sweet Onion Marinated Steak for the judges.

“There’s usually four or five in a group. You think of a meal, usually steak or roast, then you prepare the meal,” Livingston explains. “You perform a skit in front of the judges and when you get done you serve them the food. They ask you questions about your skit, about yourself and CAB questions, as well.”

In each age division — junior, ages 9-13; intermediate, ages 14-17; and senior, ages 18-21 — and beef category, teams are judged on their recipes and showmanship. Recipes are evaluated on taste and ease of preparation, while the showmanship criteria are presentation, costumes and creativity. Winners in each evaluation type, as well as an overall winner, are chosen.

“I love to get up and talk in front of people, though I still get nervous once in a while,” Livingston adds. “I also get to talk to some of the CAB people, which is true to my heart because it’s what I want to do when I get older. What I’ve learned about CAB and the connections I’ve made with the judges and the other kids doing the Cook-Off is something great and something to be proud of.”

The Black Kettle Award

Established in memory of Paul St. Blanc, a long-time friend and supporter of the Cook-Off, the Black Kettle Award is the highest prize a team can earn in the Cook-Off. It is presented to the highest placing team across all age and beef divisions.

This year, the Kansas intermediate team entered in the steak category took home the Black Kettle Award. Winning team members include Alexandria Cozzitorto, Lawrence; Grady Dickerson, Paradise; Kady Figge, Onaga; Eva Hinrichsen, Westmoreland; Sara Pelton, Paradise; and Cale Hinrichsen, Westmoreland.

A list of award winning 2016 Cook-Off recipes follows.

Black Kettle Award Winner & Overall Steak Recipe: Kansas Junior Team

Team members: Alexandria Cozzitorto, Grady Dickerson, Kady Figge, Eva Hinrichsen, Sara Pelton, and Cale Hinrichsen.

Tantalizing Steak Tacos      

4 CAB ball tip steaks 

CAB Signature seasoning

Olive oil

1/2 cup peanut butter

3 Tbs. soy sauce

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1/4-1/2-cup cilantro leaves, chopped

 2 Tbsp. vinegar

2 Tbsp. lime juice

1 Tbsp. sriracha sauce (add more if you want it a little spicier)

Small flour tortillas

1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into thin slices

Shredded or crumbled mozzarella cheese

To prepare:

Place the steak in a resealable bag with the Worcestershire sauce to cover. Refrigerate for at least half an hour.

Spread olive oil over the steak and sprinkle with CAB Signature seasoning. Cook steaks over a medium-hot grill for 5 minutes and turn once. Cook to medium rare or medium. Remove steak to a cutting board and allow to sit for 5 minutes before cutting into strips, against the grain.

Prepare the sriracha peanut butter sauce by combining the peanut butter and 1 tablespoon at a time of the soy sauce, rice vinegar and lime juice. Add a little more of each to suit your taste and make sure you stir it thoroughly to get the best consistency. Stir in the sriracha sauce a little at a time.

Warm the tortillas on the grill, set on the plate and place a few strips of steak on the tortilla. Top with a drizzle of sriracha peanut butter sauce, a couple of avocado slices, tomatoes and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Overall Roast Division Recipe: Nebraska Junior Team

Team members: Kacey Dethlefs, North Platte; Kasey Meyer and Kyra Meyer, Blue Hill; Nicole Nichols, Chambers; Rachel Smith, Osceola; and Tavin Uden, Franklin.

Chopped: The CAB Way

CAB top sirloin center-cut roast


1/3 cup tamari sauce

1/2 cup olive oil

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup Worcestershire

1 Tbs. black pepper A. 1.® Sauce

1 Tbs. dried basil

1 Tbs. dried parsley

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 Tbs. black pepper

1 tsp. chipotle chili powder

To prepare:

Mix all ingredients in a one-gallon Ziploc® bag and marinate roast for 1 hour.

Add olive oil to coat bottom of a Lifetime® liquid-core 5-quart cooker and heat to

350° F. Sear the roast on all sides.

Add sliced fresh mushrooms. Reduce heat to simmer and add 1 cup of cooking liquid of your choice (Red cooking wine, chicken broth, stock, water).

Cook on simmer for 3-4 hours, adding liquid if needed. The cooking liquid will reduce to make a nice sauce.

Overall Other Beef Division Recipe: Illinois Junior Team

Team members: Ella and Emily Brooks, Prophetstown; Anne and Jack Dameron, Towanda; Adam and Amelia Miller, Gridley.

Grilled Beef And Cheese Sandwich

2 lb. CAB precooked shredded beef

1 cup freshly grated Gouda cheese

1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese

11/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1 tsp. salt

1 medium onion, chopped fine

2 Tbs. butter

1 Tbs. olive oil

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup grated horseradish

1 loaf sourdough bread, sliced

butter, softened, for spreading on bread

To prepare:

Sauté onion in butter and olive oil. Let cool.

Mix beef, cheeses, cooled onion, salt and pepper.

Mix mayonnaise and horseradish together. Spread one side of each bread slice with horseradish mixture.

Place a generous amount of beef and cheese mixture on one slice of bread and top with second slice.

Butter sandwich on both sides and grill on hot flat pan until browned on both sides and heated through.

Note: This makes 10-12 sandwiches. Meat mixture may be frozen for later use. Thaw and continue with sandwich assembly.

For more news from the 2016 NJAS, visit Coverage is also available at Backdrop and candid photos, provided by Pearls Pics and Angus Media, are available for purchase online.

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