Great Steak Cookoff sizzles
West Memphis food fest draws dozens of teams
Hopeful cooks jammed the parking lot at the West Memphis Civic Center last Saturday for the first-ever city-sponsored Ace Hardware Steak Cookoff Association (SCA) contest. The ninth annual local event was handed off by Southland Casino Racing during its massive construction process to the city’s Advertising and Promotions Commission.
In all, 49 teams vied for a $5,000 total purse. Local cooks competed with teams from across the Southeast region. Grills from Mississippi, Florida and Texas dotted the south civic center parking lot for the competition.
“I am more than pleased with the number of teams we had for our first year,” said West Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Jim Jackson.
Gene Stimson’s Big Star cut USDA Choice boneless ribeyes an inch and one quarter thick to make two one-pound steaks per team for judges taste testing the cook off.
“We had 25 traveling judges from all over,” said West Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Jim Jackson. “They said the meat was as fine as anywhere and they get out a lot. Some of them do this every weekend.”
The cook teams frequent cook off competitions too. Teams gain qualifying points for placing and participation toward the nationally sanctioned SCA national cookoff in Dallas each year.
Cook Chris Reed landed the first place trophy and $1,500 for the best tasting steak. By virtue of his top finish he was also awarded the Golden Ticket, an automatic berth in the national competition.
Drew Griffith took home $750 for second place.
Judges awarded the third place prize of $500 to Sandy Brown. Richey Livingston and Robert Brewer grilled the 4th and 5th best steaks. The $100 prizes went to sixth through tenth place winners Robert Brewer, Zach Grubb, Jim Hudgins, Cheryl Williams, Hank Couch, and TIm Brown.
Live Rythm and Blues music provided the background and the sizzle steaks on the grill made for an irresistible aroma. Elmo & the Shades and Rock-abilly hall of famer Landon
“It was a successful event, but we hope to get more local people out next year,” said Jackson.