Taste the Fun at the South Dakota State Fair Cook-Offs

Fairgoers can "taste the fun" at one of the many cook-offs during the South Dakota State Fair.

 The State Fair BBQ Beef Cook-Off presented by 1st Financial Bank USA and the South Dakota Beef Industry Council will be held on Beef Day, Friday, Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. CDT when fairgoers can participate in the people's choice judging by tasting brisket from each contestant for free. The formal judging begins at the same time.

The champion in the BBQ Beef Cook-Off will receive $500; second- and third-place winners will get $250 and $125, respectively. All place winners will receive trophies.

Winners of the people's choice competitions will get cash prizes and trophies, too.

The Jack's Campers Chili Challenge will add to the cook-off excitement on Friday, Aug. 31, by sharing space with the State Fair BBQ Beef Cook-Off.

Contestants will arrive in the morning to start brewing their chili.  Fairgoers will have an opportunity to participate in the people's choice judging at 1 p.m.; formal judging of the chili will also be at 1 p.m.

The winner of the Chili Challenge will receive $250 in cash; second- and third-place finishers receive $150 and $75, respectively.  Each winner will also receive a trophy.

Applications for the Jack's Campers Chili Challenge and the BBQ Beef Cook-Off are available online at www.sdstatefair.com or at the South Dakota State Fair office.  People interested in competing in the cook-offs are encouraged to return entry forms before Friday, Aug. 24.

The South Dakota CattleWomen's State Fair Beef Cook-Off will be held on Saturday, Sept. 1, in the Women's Building Kitchen.  The theme this year is "Destination: Dinner."  Many people have fond memories of their favorite meals on vacation or at trend-setting restaurants. This year's theme challenges cooks to replicate recipes that represent specific places. Think Bourbon Street Steak, Lone Star Salad, Beef Burgundy, Korean-Style Ribs.  Beef's versatility makes it a natural for various ethnic creations.

In order to compete in this cook-off, people had to submit entry forms and recipes by Aug. 1. Finalists competing at the State Fair were chosen from that pool of entries. The finalists are assigned time slots between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to cook their recipes at the Women's Building Kitchen. Awards will be handed out at the conclusion of the Celebrity Beef Basket Challenge at 4 p.m.

First place in the adult category receives $500 and second place receives $250. First place in the youth category receives $250, while second place receives $100.  Many honorable mention awards are also handed out.

The cook-off is funded by the South Dakota Beef Industry Council through South Dakota Beef Producers Check-off dollars. 

This year's theme for the State Fair is "Taste the Fun," so food contests are fitting.  People who have recipes dating prior to 1950 are being sought to enter the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance Heirloom Recipe Contest. The contest is dedicated to celebrating, exploring and preserving unique food traditions and their cultural contexts in the Midwest.

The Heirloom Recipe contest will be held on Sunday, Sept. 2, in the Women's Building Auditorium. There is no fee to participate in the contest. While pre-registration is not necessary, it helps with preparation and coordination of the event. Deadline for pre-registration is Friday, Aug. 24. If contestants register before Friday, Aug. 24, one State Fair gate admission valid for the competition day will be sent out. Contestants registering after Friday, Aug. 24, must pay the gate admission to get onto the grounds and compete.

FeedStuffs FoodLink is sponsoring the cash prizes for the event. First place will receive $150, with second place receiving $100 and third place, $50.

More information on the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance Heirloom Recipe Contest can be found in the 2012 Static Exhibit Premium Book or by calling 605-353-7340.

Also on Sunday, Sept. 2, the South Dakota Pork Producers Pulled-Pork Cook-Off will take place. For more information on the cook-off, call the Pork Producers Office at 605-332-1600.

The 2012 South Dakota State Fair will run from Thursday, Aug. 30, through Monday, Sept. 3. Channel Seeds Preview night will be Wednesday, Aug. 29. The theme for the 2012 State Fair is "Taste the Fun!" For more information on State Fair events, contact the Fair office at 800-529-0900, visit www.sdstatefair.com or find it on Facebook and Twitter.

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