Since the mid 60s, Iowa Farm Bureau has held the Annual Cookout Contest on the Grand Concourse of the Iowa State Fair. This event promotes the preparation of Iowa meats and outdoor cooking. Over 2,000 chefs have competed for the Cookout crown as well as other prizes!

Click here to view / download the 2021 Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Contest Recipe Book.



Any Iowa resident 13 years or older is eligible to participate in the Cookout Contest. Past cookout champions and Farm Bureau or affiliated company employees are not allowed to compete. 

How to enter

Interested contestants should contact their county Farm Bureau office for contest information. In order to compete in the Iowa State Fair contest, participants must have competed at the county level and won their category. The county office will submit those winners interested in competing at the state level. Click here to download the 2021 Cookout Contest Brochure.

Entry categories

Each county may send one entrant per category:  
  • Individual:
    ­- PORK
    ­- BEEF
    ­- LAMB
    ­- POULTRY
    ­- TURKEY
    ­- COMBO/SPECIALTY A recipe combining two or more meats from the eligible meat categories.
    Specialty Iowa - Domestically raised meats including venison, goat, fish, etc. excluding wild game.
  • Youth (13-18 years old as of 08/01/2021)
  • Showmanship
  • Team

Contest rules

  • The State entry must be the same recipe that won the local contest.
  • The delivery and loading/unloading of all equipment including meat and grill is the responsibility of each contestant.
  • Good food handling and preparation guidelines must be followed.

Individual category rules

  • Refer to the Iowa Meat Scorecard for judging criteria.
  • The Individual Category winners are eligible to win the title of Cookout Champion. 

Youth category rules

  • Refer to the Iowa Meat Scorecard for judging criteria.
  • Youth entries will compete in both the Individual Category and the Youth Category. 

Showmanship category rules

  • Refer to the Showmanship Scorecard for judging criteria.
  • Pre-registration is required in order to compete in the showmanship category. 

Team category rules

  • Refer to both the Iowa Meat and Showmanship Scorecards for judging criteria.
  • A team must consist of 2-4 members.
  • Team members are NOT eligible to compete in the Individual Category.
  • Teams are encouraged to have a coordinated theme
  • Team members are NOT eligible to win the title of Cookout Champion or the Showmanship Award.

State contest awards and prizes

Prizes will be given to the following:
  • Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Champion
  • First and second place for each Individual Category
  • Youth Category Winner
  • Showmanship Category Winner
  • Team Category Winner 

Important dates

May – August: County Farm Bureau Cookout Contests
August 6:  Deadline for county Farm Bureau to submit State entries
August 9:  Mailing of contestant packets
August 17:  Annual Cookout Contest
­           - 8:00 a.m. Registration
­           - 10:00 a.m. Judging begins
­           - 12:00 p.m. Announcement of Winners 

For more information

Contact your county Farm Bureau office or Lavonne Baldwin at:
West Des Moines, IA 50266
Phone:  (515) 225-5633