Annual Certified Angus Beef Cook-Off competition heats up

American Angus Association
Farm Forum

Junior Angus members and parents alike agree the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) Cook-off is one of the most highly anticipated contests held at the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS). In 1983 in Des Moines, Iowa, the first Cook-off was organized to encourage Angus juniors to practice their beef education skills while using ground beef. Later in 1988, the contest gained the support of Certified Angus Beef, and ever since, they have provided product to contestants. To add to the whimsy of the event, it was encouraged to create a theme, to dress and style the dish around, as well as prepare a presentation/skit for the judges focusing on the theme of the dish.

“The CAB Cook-off is a highly anticipated annual event that everyone in the family can get excited about,” said Anne Patton Schubert, past American Angus Auxiliary president and one of the founders of the CAB Cook-off. “Not only does this contest teach juniors to cook using the Certified Angus Beef brand, but it also molds the exhibitors to be beef advocates at the dinner table.”

Participants are to create a dish using the Certified Angus Beef brand, and these dishes were separated into three divisions: steaks, roasts and other beef items. Beyond these categories, the junior members are divided into age groups: 8-13, 14-17 and 18-21, with groups of two to six, the age being determined by the oldest member of the team.

Sponsored by the Beef Education Committee of the American Angus Auxiliary, this event requires an immense amount of teamwork and is a favorite of exhibitors, as well as families, due to its fun nature.

Eva Hinrichsen, Kady Figge, Clay Pelton, Kelsey Theis, Abbie Schwab and Nick Siemens were the overall winners at the 2019 National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) division, where they were able to wow the judges with their Molasses Spiked Steak recipe. This recipe uses CAB flat iron steaks marinated in a combination of spices and molasses and grilled to perfection.

The Black Kettle Award is given to the team with the highest score overall, among all different age groups. In commemoration of Paul St. Blanc, who was an avid Angus producer and cook-off enthusiast, this award was presented to Kansas in the Intermediate Steak division. The team appropriately chose the Kentucky Derby to coincide with this year’s NJAS theme.

The CAB Cook-off Contest is an opportunity for all juniors to be involved in the activities of the show week, even if they do not have livestock to show. This opportunity is educational as well as fun for all juniors involved and will continue being a favorite competition throughout the upcoming years.