Food Event: High Steaks

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Carnivores will unite on Saturday, Aug. 24 for the fifth annual Steak Cook-off. According to Tripp Haggard, founding chairman of the Oklahoma Championship Steak Cook-off, the event has raised more than $100,000 in its first four years, with proceeds benefiting nonprofit organizations.

Anyone can enter the cook-off. There are even two age categories for kids. Each team prepares two 16-ounce, hand-cut ribeyes and then picks the best to present to the judges.

“We usually start with 50 teams, but then they get narrowed down to 10. The winner is chosen from those 10,” says Haggard. “The steaks are judged on taste, tenderness and appearance.”

In the afternoon, the contestants prepare more steaks for a dinner held in the evening. At 5:30 p.m., hungry ticketholders fill their plates with an array of sides and decide which team will cook their steak.

Prizes include more than $6,000 in cash and trophies for the top five winners. The overall winner in the two kids’ divisions is awarded a gas grill.

Last year’s winner was Road Trip Inc. from Sanger, Texas. For Road Trip, the journey began when Tim Canterbury was watching a steak challenge on Food Network. It inspired him to form a team and enter cook-offs himself. He built a smoker out of scrap iron and traveled all around Texas participating in various competitions.

Festivities will kick off at 10 a.m. with the kids’ competition, inflatables and live music. Later, there will be a car show and a pretzel cart provided by Food Network’s Guy Fieri in conjunction with his Cooking with Kids Foundation.

“In the past, some of the charities that benefited (from the cook-off) were New Hope, Iron Gate, Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together Tulsa and Community Food Bank,” says Haggard.

Proceeds now benefit Our Garden Project. With the goal of promoting a spirit of community and giving, this organization offers fresh produce to those who otherwise might not be able to afford it. Our Garden Project plants gardens all around the city, with the understanding that the produce will be given away – not sold.

The cook-off promises great fun for a great cause. Tickets are $25. Visit www.oksteakcookoff.com for more information.

Tim Canterbury, part of the winning team of the 2012 Oklahoma Championship Steak Cook-off, offers tips for grilling a great steak:
• Let the meat come to room temperature.
• Season on both sides prior to grilling.
• Allow meat to rest 5-10 minutes before serving.
• Ribeyes are ideal for grilling because of the marbling.
• If unsure, use an instant read meat thermometer to ensure desired doneness of meat.

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