Backyard chefs across Iowa are invited to showcase their culinary skills and compete for the title of "Grand Champion" at Iowa Farm Bureau’s 59th Cookout Contest.

The event is held Tuesday, Aug. 15 during Farm Bureau Day at the Iowa State Fair. The Cookout Contest is a celebration of Iowa farmers who raise real meats with animal care and sustainability as their number one priority. Since its inception in the mid-60s, more than 2,000 people have taken part in this competition prominently located on the grand concourse.  

First priority for competition spots are given to grilling and smoking enthusiasts who are named the overall winner of a county Farm Bureau Cookout Contest. Iowans who cannot make a county Cookout Contest qualifying event but are interested in competing in lamb, poultry, turkey or the youth division (ages 13-18) at the Iowa State Fair are encouraged to sign up online. Spots for these specialty categories are limited, and participants will be notified of their selection by July 25. 

“While people are often familiar with Iowa being a hog-producing state, they may be surprised to learn we also rank top 10 in the nation for beef, turkey and sheep production and have a growing meat chicken industry,” says Iowa Farm Bureau President Brent Johnson. “The cookout contest celebrates the diversity of Iowa’s family farms and the benefits of the animal protein they provide—in a way that brings creativity and taste to the forefront.”

Each first-place category winner will win $400. The Grand Champion will take home an additional $1,000 prize. The winner of the youth division will receive $300 and a gas grill valued at $1,000, courtesy of the Iowa Propane Gas Association. 

For rules, county contest locations or specialty category sign ups, visit