Cooking competitions at the National Junior Angus Show

Farm Forum

The All-American Certified Angus Beef Cook-Off ranks among the most popular contests each year at the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS). The competition challenges juniors to prepare a beef-inspired dish and creatively present their meal to a panel of judges.

While there are plenty of laughs and fun during the daylong event, participants learn the importance of communicating about beef nutrition and the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) brand.

“We are absolutely looking forward to another impressive year for the CAB Cook-Off at the National Junior Angus Show,” says Anne Lampe, American Angus Auxiliary Cook-Off co-chair. “Every year there’s something different, and we are impressed by the enthusiasm and talent our juniors bring to the competition.”

May 15 is the deadline to enter this year’s event hosted July 5 in conjunction with the 2016 NJAS at the Nebraska State Fairgrounds at Fonner Park near Grand Island, Neb.

National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) members compete in state groups to develop a recipe and prepare it in one of three meat categories: steaks, roasts and other beef items. Each group may consist of two to six individuals, and the age divisions are 8-13; 14-17; and 18-21.

The second portion of the Cook-Off involves a creative skit showcasing CAB. More than 40 teams participated in the competition last year, and the cast of characters spotted included Santa and Mrs. Claus, Scooby Doo, the Three Amigos and a pirate crew.

“When developing your skit and recipe, the main goal is to promote Certified Angus Beef to the consumer,” Lampe said. “Be creative and have fun, but remember to incorporate the quality characteristics of our branded beef program.”

Participating teams should do their homework and be equipped to answer a variety of questions. 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 and degrees of doneness.

The Cook-Off involves a few rules junior members should consider when making their plans:

• All teams will use the same CAB product in their respective categories, no exceptions. Each category will receive the following beef cuts: ball tip steaks; top sirloin, center-cut roast; and precooked shredded beef.

• No team may receive the CAB product until 8 a.m. on contest day. Please do not choose a recipe that requires overnight marinating or cooking time over five hours.

• Grills are strongly encouraged for preparation of beef.

Sound like fun? Adults attending the NJAS can also participate in their own type of cooking competition. The Chef’s Challenge is an event open to both NJAA members and adults, and participants showcase their skills using CAB and secret ingredients provided by the contest. Pre-entry is also required by May 15.

For more information on the All-American Certified Angus Beef Cook-Off, visit the Auxiliary’s website. Visit to learn more about the upcoming NJAS in Grand Island, Neb.