After the smoke had cleared and all the samples were given out, Troy Anderson of Fort Dodge earned the top prize and was crowned the 2019 Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Champion at the Iowa State Fair.
Anderson served up a beef chuck roast soaked in au jus and made incredibly tender by six hours in the smoker. He said he arrived at the fairgrounds at about 5 a.m. to stoke up the smoker.
The early morning paid off. For his dish, he received $200, a trophy and the title of Cookout Champion.
"It really means a lot to me," he said, moments after the announcement.
This was Anderson’s fourth trip to the statewide competition.
Thyron Mathews of Oelwein took home the showmanship award for the second year in a row.
He brought 25 years of smoked meat experience to bear at the event, offering thin cut pork loin that spent all morning in his mammoth smoker.
"My key thing is to let the loin speak for itself," Mathews said. "I want the meat to shine today. It’s the star of the show."
The 2019 competition followed Iowa Farm Bureau’s theme of "Real Farmers. Real Food. Real Meat." and highlighted the care and high-quality work of Iowa’s livestock farmers.
Ahead of winners being announced, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds held a signing ceremony at the competition officially declaring Aug. 13 as Iowa Farm Bureau Day at the Iowa State Fair.
Mathew sources his pork locally in Fayette County at the Fairbank Locker, Fareway and Big Boy Meats.
"At last year’s competition, I felt bad because a lot of people didn’t get samples," he said. "So I went ahead, footed the bill and got more loins this year to make sure everybody gets a sample. You got to do what it takes. When you love barbecue, you love to see people happy. That’s my goal."
Mathew was awarded $150 for his winning entry.
Wyatt Lewis of Maxwell was the winner of the youth division. The 15-year-old Nevada High School student grilled a sirloin wrapped in maple syrup bacon.
He said this is the first year he competed at the county level. He only signed up for the competition two days before the event and said he’s been "winging it" ever since.
"I made it here, so obviously I did something right," he said.
Lewis received a gas grill, valued at $1,000, and $150. The youth prize was donated by the Iowa Propane Gas Association.
Shawn McDermott and Kyle Johnson of Newton won the team competition and were awarded $200.
Other first place winners, county contest represented, and their categories were: Shannon Glaser from Adair County, lamb; Jared Merchant from Benton County, pork; Mike Anderson from Madison County, poultry; Ben Zehr from Iowa County, turkey; and Scott Degeneffe from Boone County, combo/specialty. All category winners received $150 each.
Second place finishers, county contest represented, and their categories were: Bob Carson from Lee County, beef; Shane Lindstrom from Hamilton County, pork; Mike Anderson from Madison County, poultry; Ben Zehr from Iowa County, turkey; and Duran Barlow from Hamilton County, combo/specialty. All second place category winners were awarded $100 each.