What do Duck Dynasty, Gunsmoke, The Village People and Honey Boo Boo have in common with beef? Kids from around the country channeled these cultural references and more while competing in the 30th annual Certified Angus Beef Cook-Off during the National Junior Angus Show in Kansas City.
By ANNE BROCKHOFF
The American Royal was a flurry of activity by midday, with teams slicing steaks, garnishing plates and rehearsing lines. Each team presented a five-minute skit that explained the 10 specifications beef must meet to be deemed CAB-worthy; they also served a beef dish.
Judging was tough. I should know — I evaluated junior (ages 9-13) and senior (ages 17-21) in the steak division. There was also an intermediate group (ages 14-17) and divisions for roasts and other beef items such as ground beef, plus an over-18 Chef’s Challenge.
Other judges included Angus breeders, folks who work for CAB and the Angus Journal, and locals including an executive chef from the Power & Light District, an ambassador for Harvesters and the vice president of Kansas City-based Scavuzzo Meat Co., which provided beef for the competition.
Recipes ranged from Sweet Summertime BBQ Brisket and Cattleman’s Chicken Fried Roast to Honey Moo Moo Steak Fondue and CAB Marinated Strip Steaks. The kids cooked with top sirloin, chuck roasts, flat-iron steaks and ground beef. They grilled, smoked, marinaded and roasted.
It was quite a showcase for Certified Angus Beef, a branded beef program that started in 1978. The idea was revolutionary back then: take a commodity product, develop quality standards and begin selecting, packaging and marketing beef that met those standards.
Since then, branded meat programs have grown exponentially. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service counts 82 brands owned by producers and processing companies. Many restaurants and retailers also have their own certification programs, such as Whole Foods Market’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating, which requires suppliers adhere to certain specifications.
Each attempts to meet a singular consumer need — the desire to know exactly what they’re buying. In an age when many children have no idea where their food comes from, it’s refreshing to see a bunch of kids who understand exactly what it takes to get beef on consumers’ plates.
Details: the National Junior Angus Show continues at the American Royal through Thursday, July 11. Then, another cattle breed comes to town — the Junior National Hereford Expo runs from July 14-21, also at the Royal.
Gourmet Hamburger Steak
The All-American Certified Angus Beef competition drew entrants from across the country, each with their own tasty take on beef, but this recipe from Kansas’ junior team is the one I heard judges raving about in the hallways. Past cook-off recipes are collected online.
Makes 8 servings
2 pounds CAB ground chuck
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
choice of gravy or sauce
Mix all ingredients together and form into 8 patties. Grill over medium heat until done. Top with choice of gravy or sauce.
Source: 2013 All-American Certified Angus Beef Cook-Off
Anne Brockhoff is an award-winning spirits writer who writes a monthly column for The Star’s Food section, as well as food features. She blogs at food_drink_ life.wordpress.com .