Western Region outdoor meat cookery contest

From left, Christian Hawbaker (lamb), Hansford Scott (chicken), Daisy Bennett (pork) and Colby Duke (beef), pose together after their win at the Western Region outdoor meat cookery contest in Jackson. The team took home first place, while Scott and Hawbaker won high score awards in their respective divisions.


As another year rolls past, so does this season of outdoor meat cookery.

Outdoor meat cookery is a great program that 4-H offers, and easily my favorite. In the last five years of participating in this program, I’ve learned many different skills that I will use all throughout my life. 

First, it’s important to be able to build a fire with charcoal. 

One of the easiest and most efficient ways to do that is to use a chimney starter fueled with shortening-covered cotton balls. 

Second, knowing how to choose the best meat to cook and how to safely prepare it helps in the outcome of a good, juicy, tasty piece of meat.

One of my favorite parts is coming up with a homemade rub or marinade by experimenting with different spices and other ingredients to help bring out the best flavor.

 I’ve learned that teamwork is also a very important factor in being a successful team. Each team has four grillers cooking four different meats:  pork, beef, lamb and chicken. 

Each meat has its own challenges, but my team and I have learned how to manage those challenges. 

For the last five years, with lots of practice, we have placed first in the West Tennessee Regional outdoor meat cookery competition.

Being on the senior high team, this earned us a spot in the state competition. With lots of hard work and practice, you too can succeed at outdoor meat cookery.

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