Youth cook off at national Angus show

July 25, 2023




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Holly Martin, director of communications



Youth cook off at national Angus show

Cook-off competition elevates beef at the 2023 National Junior Angus Show.


Tensions are high, costumes are flying, and smoke fills the air. During a week where most of their time is spent in the barn, participants make time to fire up their skills for a beef cook-off.

Hosted by the American Angus Auxiliary and the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA), the 2023 Certified Angus Beef® brand (CAB) Cook-Off challenged 28 teams to exhibit creative beef dishes and develop their meat science knowledge during the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS) in Grand Island, Nebraska.

When it was founded in 1983 in Iowa, members did not know it would grow to be one of the biggest contests at the NJAS. Today it continues to encourage Angus juniors to practice beef education.

The educational opportunities continue past the cooking. Cook-off judge and producer communications manager for CAB, Morgan Boecker said it is all about creativity.

“The contestants are all given the same information about the Certified Angus Beef ® brand specifications and have to figure out how to present it all in a way that is authentic and genuine,” she said. “You have to be creative to do that in five minutes.”

Participants use CAB cuts to create dishes in one of three categories: steak, roast or other beef items. Judges also encourage participants to have a theme for their presentation, complete with a costume, table service and unique recipes.

“If junior Angus members are able to study the specs and understand even a little bit about what Certified Angus Beef does, then they can promote it and supply it later when they own their own cows,” Boecker said.

Teams of two-six youth from the same state form groups by age: ages 8-13 for the junior division, 14-17 for intermediate and 18-21 for senior. The oldest member of the team determines the group division.

The coveted Black Kettle Award established in memory of Paul St. Blanc and known as the overall team award, went to the Nebraska Senior Roast Team for the second year in a row. Team members include Addison Cotton, York; JessaLynn Hudson, Belvidere; Kasey Meyer, Blue Hill; Tucker Stagemeyer, Page; and Tavin Uden, Franklin.

Additionally, the top junior division team from Virginia was awarded the Ardyce’s Apron award in memory of past American Angus Auxiliary president Ardyce O’Neill who served as the contest’s first chairman. Team members consisted of Quincy Clayton, Staunton; Lindsay Davis, Winchester; Ella Jane Michael, Fishersville; Sadie Poole, Staunton; and Sophie Salling, Orange.

“Each year I am amazed by the work and thought put into the recipes, skits and props at the cook-off,” said Anne Lampe, beef education co-chairman for the American Angus Auxiliary. “I love that the participants are having fun while learning about Certified Angus Beef.”

The contest creates some friendly competition for all juniors, even those not showing cattle. Beyond the competition, the CAB Cook-off Contest is a family-friendly event, educating juniors on retail beef as they have fun with their presentations.

View results of the 2023 NJAS, including shows, contests, awards and scholarships at Additional coverage is also available on the NJAA social media channels and in the September issue of the Angus Journal.


Written by Julie Isbell, Angus Communications



About the NJAA

The NJAA promotes the involvement of young people in raising Angus cattle while also providing leadership and self-development opportunities for more than 4,500 active members nationwide.


ANGUS MEANS BUSINESS. The American Angus Association® is the nation’s largest beef breed organization, serving more than 22,000 members across the United States, Canada and several other countries. It’s home to an extensive breed registry that grows by nearly 300,000 animals each year. The Association also provides programs and services to farmers, ranchers and others who rely on Angus to produce quality genetics for the beef industry and quality beef for consumers.


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