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Where’s the beef?

Morgan County Cattlemen’s, Cattlewomen’s associations hold cook-off

Special to the Enquirer 

Gov. Kay Ivey designated October as Beef Month; in conjunction with this, the Morgan County Cattlemen/Cattlewomen organized a Beef Cook-Off among the top three students selected by the teachers from each junior and senior high school in Morgan County. The cook-off was held Oct. 9 at the Hartselle Civic Center. 

On the day of competition, each Morgan County Beef Cook-off contestant prepared his or her beef dish before arriving. Their recipes had to include any kind of beef that can be readily found at the local supermarket, and the student chefs were encouraged to keep their dishes low in sodium and fat. 

Jake Owens

Students left the room while local judges tasted and selected the winners based on appearance, flavor, intensity, palatability and healthfulness/nutritional balance.

First-place winners were Jake Owens, West Morgan, senior division, and Jaylin Daniel, Hartselle, junior division. 

As part of the competition’s festivities, students enjoyed entertainment, hamburgers and hotdogs. 

As first-place winner of the senior division, Owens can participate at the state level in Montgomery. Expenses for Owens and his teacher, Julie Robin, to travel to Montgomery will be paid by the Morgan County Cattlemen/Cattlewomen.

Schools received a small cash incentive for participation, and first-place, second-place and third-place winners received cash prizes. Dr. Jeremy Childers, director of the Morgan County Schools Career Center, stopped by to thank the teachers for all they do.

Jaylin Daniel

Winning Recipes

Beef Linguine

Senior division winner, cooked by Jake Owens, West Morgan, teacher Julie Rolin


1 lb. lean ground beef

1 large onion, pureed

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. turmeric powder

8 oz. tomato paste

1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped

½ cup shredded parmesan

Handful of chopped basil


  1. Boil a large pot of salted water for the pasta.
  2. Combine beef, onion, salt, pepper and turmeric.
  3. Cook meat mixture in a large, nonstick pan over high heat while mixing.
  4. At this point, go ahead and add the pasta to the water pot.
  5. After a few minutes, when all the liquid has evaporated from the beef mixture and it starts to sauté, add in tomato paste and combine while sautéing.
  6. Add garlic and combine. Sauté for a few minutes, making sure not to burn the garlic.
  7. Once the pasta has cooked to al dente, mix into the beef mixture and add parmesan.  Remove from heat and mix.
  8. Add basil, give a quick toss and serve. 


Easy Steak Marinade

Junior division winner Jaylin Daniel, Hartselle Junior High, teacher Tricia Beverly


Two New York Strip steaks, 8-10 oz. each

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup low sodium soy sauce

2 Tb. Worcestershire sauce

1 Tb. minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the steak in bowl or zip-top bag.
  2. Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk until combined. Pour over the steak. Seal bowl or bag and place the steak in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Best when marinated four hours or more.
  3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Clean the grill grates and lightly oil the grates. Place the steak on the grill and cook until golden brown, four to five minutes. Turn the steaksover and grill another four to five minutes for medium rare (145 degrees), five to seven minutes for medium (140 degrees) or eight to 10 minutes for medium well (160 degrees).
  4. Remove steak from the grill and tent with foil.  Let rest for five minutes before serving.  
  5. Top with a slice of butter and chopped parsley if desired. Salt and pepper to taste.