Emmalee Schafer of Mount Ayr captures youth division title, wins new grill

Brandon Bowden of Clinton slow smoked his way through the competition in the Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Contest to claim the crown and coveted title of ‘Cookout Champion.’  Bowden’s winning entry from the pork category topped more than 50 other grillers from around the state to win the 54th annual contest held on the Grand Concourse at the Iowa State Fair. 

Competitors in the Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Contest first had to qualify by smoking, grilling, or barbecuing their way to victory in a county Farm Bureau contest in one of eight categories: Beef, Combo/Specialty, Lamb, Pork, Poultry, Turkey, Team, or Youth.  Bowden qualified by winning his division during the Clinton County Farm Bureau Cookout Contest held earlier this summer.     

The Iowa Farm Bureau-sponsored contest always features a diverse array of entries and cooking styles.  Bowden’s winning slow-smoked BBQ pork ribs beat out traditional entries including prime rib, pork loin, and smoked chicken and turkey, and some more exotic entries like lamb nachos, rhubarb BBQ chicken, and Hawaiian turkey burgers.

“The annual Farm Bureau Cookout Contest on the Grand Concourse is a great way to showcase the diversity of Iowa livestock production and some of Iowa’s best backyard cooks,” says IFBF President Craig Hill.  “The Cookout Contest on Farm Bureau Day at the State Fair is a great tradition that features families cooking together and sharing grilling tips and award-winning recipes with the spectators while celebrating the important role of Iowa agriculture.”   

Bowden’s winning ribs recipe topped the other pork entries before being selected as the contest’s overall winner.  He received $200, the champion’s crown, and a permanent trophy as the 2017 Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Contest Champion.

Other first place winners and their categories were: Tracey Kenkel of Panama, beef; Terry Landers of Clive, lamb; Sean Van Cannon of Boone, poultry; Randy Stamper of Greenfield, turkey; and Rod Scarf of Anita, combo/specialty.  All category winners won $150. 

Second place finishers and their categories were: Brian Halstead of Vinton, beef; Lynn Pakala of Dike, lamb; Jimmy Graham of Masonville, pork; Jeff Whitson of Mt. Auburn, poultry; Michelle Bruce of Vinton, turkey; and Shawn Glaser of Bondurant, combo/specialty.  All second-place category winners won $100. 

Winners in special categories were youth first place – Emmalee Schafer of Mount Ayr and youth second place – Mackenzie Hermanson of Indianola; showmanship– Eldon Frye of St. Charles; and team winner– Kate Moore, Tim Moore, and Josh Yoder of Iowa City.  Schafer received a gas grill valued at $1,000 and $150, and Hermanson received $100.  Youth prizes were donated by the Iowa Propane Gas Association.  Frye received $150, and the team winners received $200.       

Prize sponsors for the Farm Bureau Cookout Contest include: IFBF, Farm Bureau Financial Services, GROWMARK, Inc., Iowa Propane Gas Association, Iowa Pork Producers Association, the Iowa Beef Industry Council, the Iowa Turkey Federation, Iowa Poultry Association, and the Iowa Sheep and Wool Promotion Board.

Visit www.IowaFarmBureau.com for Bowden’s winning entry and other recipes from the 2017 Cookout Contest.