First Midwest Steak Cook-Off Takes Place In Van Buren

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VAN BUREN (KFSM) -- About 15 people put their grilling to the test Saturday (Sept. 5) at a steak cook-off in Van Buren that was certified by the Steak Cook-Off Association.

“We are here to cook a good steak, and possibly win this event,” Competitor Danny Jones said.

Danny and his wife Becky are two of the competitors at the cook-off.

"We have been doing it for about probably 20 years,” Becky said.

The couple won the steak cook-off at the Magnolia Blossom Festival in 2009, and it was right around that time they decided to start using separate grills.

“We started getting into a little bit of bickering and then we just decided ‘Let us just try our own thing,’” Becky said.

The two agree they each have a strength.

“I build a better fire than she does,” Danny said. “But she seasons the steak a little bit better than I do. So, you might think that is a great combination to keep together, but we feel like if we branch off, and kind of play off each other's strengths, she competes on one side, I compete on the other side.”

Neither would give away any cooking secrets, but they did give 5NEWS some insight on how they each master their grills.

"I have never used the exact same spice rub, nor have I had it written down where I could repeat it,” Becky said. “So it is a brand new thing every time, but it is kind of in the same character family and I just taste as I go when I make it.”

“I think everybody is still perfecting their steak,” Danny said. “I do not think you ever get quite satisfied with it. So a lot of people are still tweaking it just a little bit -- so am I.”

The winner of the cook-off will qualify for a world championship that will take place in Fort Worth, Texas.

Butterfield Assembly of God church and the Old Town’s Merchants Association worked together to make the event happen, according to president of the Old Town’s Merchants Association Lonnie London.

Hundreds of 16-ounce steaks were sold to the public Saturday night.

London said the proceeds from the event will benefit children, adding that they plan to make this a part of the Fall Festival in Van Buren in the future.