Students Showcase Cooking Skills at Beef It Up Cookoff Challenge

PIERRE, SD – Youth are the next generation of beef consumers, which makes them a key audience for the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC). Recently the SDBIC teamed up with the Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) for the Beef It Up Cookoff Challenge. The cooking contest requires students to create a quick and easy beef main dish with the goal of educating students on beef nutrition, as well as preparation techniques and beef’s versatility.

The contest is a complimentary event to the SDBIC’s current Family and Consumer Science program outreach. The SDBIC FACS program currently provides schools across South Dakota curriculum and funding towards teaching teens about beef nutrition and preparation.

“The main goal is to really encourage these teenagers to choose beef when planning a meal,” said Holly Swee, director of nutrition, SDBIC. Swee served as one of two judges for the competition.  “We want them to learn about the different cuts of beef and be familiar with how to prepare those and help them gain confidence in those skills.”

The Beef It up Cookoff Challenge began in the local FCCLA chapters across the state and ended with four contestants cooking head-to-head at the state competition. The challenge required the students to create a quick and easy main beef dish, focusing on taste, nutrition, cost and the convenience of preparation.

Maddi Gerlach, a 7th grade student from Mitchell, won the competition with her original recipe for braised beef short ribs. You can find her winning recipe featured on the recipe section at

Posted: April 11, 2017