And the National Beef Cook-Off Category Winners Are…

How do judges keep mum after a major national contest? Judging is personally so all-involving – it’s hard to keep the results to yourself afterwards.

Having been sworn to secrecy after judging the 2011 National Beef Cook-Off earlier this month, I am now free to discuss the category winners, since they were announced last Wednesday. Whew.

It’s a huge achievement to be selected a category winner from more than 1,100 recipes submitted to the Cook-Off. And the honor comes with a generous $3,000 cash prize.

Experts from the beef industry national staff tested and scored more than 40 entries, narrowing them to the top 20 finalist recipes. From there, contest winners were selected based on a composite score from online consumer voting and a panel of contest judges, of which I was one.

But the show is not over yet. The 2011 National Beef Cook-Off Grand Prize winner is still to be revealed November 5. That person will receive $25,000 plus a trip to The Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show in Washington, D.C., where he or she will officially be proclaimed National Beef Cook-Off Champion.

In the meantime, beg, threaten or cajole, my lips are sealed.

From a judging perspective, since I already knew which recipes had won, the most interesting thing about the announcement of the category winners was the revelation of WHO won, since the recipes are judged blind. There were three women and one man, and winners were geographically divided between east and west: Tedd Smith of Mount Vernon, New York, and Ellen Verdugo of Gloucester, Massachusetts, on one side of the United States; and Peggy Calhoun of Portland, Oregon, and Edwin Gadsby of Great Falls, Montana, on the other.

Asian was a strong culinary influence in the winning entries this year, with Asian Barbecued Skirt Steak, Steppin’ Up Beef Fried Rice, Asian Beef Sandwiches with Slaw and Flash in the Pan Stir-Fry. However, as Chinese and Japanese have become more commonplace, these recipes dug deeper into the Asian flavor palette, summoning up Southeast Asian flavor notes: peanut butter in the steak marinade, Vietnamese-style Bánh mì sandwiches and the sweet-hot flavor of the stir-fry.

Versatile beef plays well with global flavors. All the recipes showcased simple preparation and cooking techniques, great taste and healthful ingredient choices.

To view all 20 finalists and their recipes, visit the National Beef Cook-Off’s www.beefcookoff.org website.

Here are the category winners and their sensational recipes.

ASIAN BARBECUED SKIRT STEAK
Recipe by Tedd Smith, Mount Vernon, New York
Category: 5:30 P.M. Dinner Crunch

To get the Asian Barbecued Skirt Steak recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.

Total preparation & cooking time: 15 minutes

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown or dark color barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 beef skirt steak (about 1-1/2 pounds), cut into 4 to 6-inch pieces
8 green onions, halved crosswise

  1. Combine soy sauce, barbecue sauce, peanut butter and garlic powder in small bowl; stir to combine thoroughly. Place beef steak and soy marinade in food-safe plastic bag; turn to coat steak. Close bag securely; marinate in refrigerator 6 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
  2. Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Place steak on rack of broiler pan so surface of beef is 2 to 3 inches from heat. Broil 8 to 12 minutes for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning once. During last 3 minutes of broiling, top steak with green onions. Carve steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Serve with green onions.
Makes 4 servings

Nutrition information per serving: 353 calories; 20 g fat (8 g saturated fat; 10 g monounsaturated fat); 116 mg cholesterol; 845 mg sodium; 7 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 34 g protein; 6.3 mg niacin; 0.7 mg vitamin B6; 5.6 mcg vitamin B12; 4.0 mg iron; 24.4 mcg selenium; 7.6 mg zinc; 122.2 mg choline.

This recipe is an excellent source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, selenium, zinc and choline.

STEPPIN’ UP BEEF FRIED RICE
Recipe by Peggy Calhoun, Portland, Oregon
Contest Category: Retro Recipes Revived

To get the Steppin' Up Beef Fried Rice recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.

Total preparation & cooking time: 25 minutes

1 cup uncooked whole grain instant brown rice
2 beef ribeye steaks, cut 3/4 inch thick (about 6 ounces each) well trimmed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
2 eggs, beaten

  1. Prepare rice according to package directions. Set aside; keep warm.
  2. Cut beef steaks across the grain into 1/8-inch thick strips, about 1-inch long; set aside.
  3. Combine soy sauce and instant coffee in small bowl. Stir to dissolve coffee; set aside.
  4. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, green onions and mushrooms; stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggs; cook 30 seconds to 1 minute or just until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Stir in cooked rice and soy sauce-coffee mixture; stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through. Remove from skillet; keep warm.
  5. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat until hot. Add half of beef; stir-fry beef 1 to 2 minutes or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. Remove from pan. Repeat with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and beef. Return beef to skillet; stir in rice mixture. Cook and stir about 1 minute or until heated through.
Makes 4 servings

Nutrition information per serving: 294 calories; 14 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 6 g monounsaturated fat); 137 mg cholesterol; 524 mg sodium; 21 g carbohydrate; 1.8 g fiber; 20 g protein; 5.6 mg niacin; 0.4 mg vitamin B6; 1.0 mcg vitamin B12; 2.0 mg iron; 27.2 mcg selenium; 3.6 mg zinc; 68.4 mg choline.

This recipe is an excellent source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, selenium and zinc; and a good source of vitamin B12, iron and choline.

ASIAN BEEF SANDWICHES WITH SLAW
Recipe by Edwina Gadsby, Great Falls, Montana
Category; Fuel Up with Beef

To get the Asian Beef Sandwich with Slaw recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.

Total preparation & cooking time: 30 minutes

2 well-trimmed boneless beef top loin (strip) steaks, cut 3/4 inch thick (6 to 8 ounces each)
3-1/3 tablespoons light Asian sesame dressing, divided
2 cups coleslaw mix
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Asian hot chili sauce
4 whole wheat French rolls or baguettes (6 to 7-inch), split lengthwise
1/2 cup thinly sliced seedless cucumber or sweet onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  1. Brush beef steaks with 2 tablespoons dressing; let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine coleslaw mix and vinegar in small bowl. Toss to coat; refrigerate.
  3. Combine mayonnaise and chili sauce in separate bowl; refrigerate.
  4. Place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals; grill steaks, uncovered 10 to 12 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, uncovered, 7 to 10 minutes) for medium rare (145ºF) to medium (160ºF) doneness, turning occasionally. Let steaks rest 5 minutes; carve into thin slices.
  5. Spread cut sides of rolls with mayonnaise mixture. Layer bottom of rolls with beef slices; drizzle with remaining 4 teaspoons dressing. Top with coleslaw mixture and cucumber; sprinkle with cilantro. Close sandwiches.
Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 519 calories; 15 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 5 g monounsaturated fat); 72 mg cholesterol; 1158 mg sodium; 66 g carbohydrate; 9 g fiber; 35 g protein; 11.0 mg niacin; 0.8 mg vitamin B6; 1.4 mcg vitamin B12; 4.3 mg iron; 81.5 mcg selenium; 6.8 mg zinc; 125.4 mg choline.

This recipe is an excellent source of fiber, protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, selenium, zinc and choline.

FLASH IN THE PAN STIR-FRY
Contest category: Stir Crazy Solutions
Recipe by Ellen Verdugo, Gloucester, Massachusetts

To get the Flash in the Pan Stir-Fry recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.

Total preparation & cooking time: 35 minutes

1 cup uncooked whole grain brown rice
1/4 cup orange marmalade
4 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1 inch thick (about 1 pound)
4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
2 red or yellow bell peppers, cut into strips
1 medium onion, cut into thin slices
1/2 pound fresh asparagus spears, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces

  1. Prepare rice according to package directions. Set aside; keep warm.
  2. Combine orange marmalade, chili-garlic sauce and salt in small bowl; set aside.
  3. Cut beef lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/4-inch thick strips.
  4. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add half of beef; stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. Remove from skillet. Repeat with 1 teaspoon oil and remaining beef. Remove from skillet; keep warm.
  5. In same skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat until hot. Stir-fry bell peppers and onion 2 to 3 minutes. Add asparagus; stir-fry 1 minute. Add beef and orange marmalade mixture; cook and stir 2 minutes or until heated through. Serve over rice.
Makes 4 servings

Nutrition information per serving: 471 calories; 12 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 5 g monounsaturated fat); 70 mg cholesterol; 538 mg sodium; 59 g carbohydrate; 4.6 g fiber; 32 g protein; 11.0 mg niacin; 1.0 mg vitamin B6; 1.4 mcg vitamin B12; 3.9 mg iron; 42.9 mcg selenium; 6.3 mg zinc; 127.8 mg choline.

This recipe is an excellent source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, selenium, zinc and choline; and a good source of fiber.

Special Fork is a recipe website for your smartphone and PC that solves the daily dinnertime dilemma: what to cook now! Our bloggers blog Monday through Friday to give you cooking inspiration. Check out our recipe database for quick ideas that take no more than 30 minutes of prep time. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Posted: Jul 25th by Sandy_Hu