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Liveoak, McCarley win beef cook-off

Lauren Liveoak’s beef brisket with savory sautéed apples and Avery McCarley’s bacon hamburger rollups were the top dishes in Chilton County’s Beef Cook-off Tuesday.

Liveoak, a student at Thorsby School, said her grandmother is her biggest inspiration in the kitchen. Her teacher, however, gave her the idea for the recipe.

“I’m very shocked and excited,” Liveoak said after the competition, held at the Alabama Power Conference Center in Clanton.

McCarley, a Chilton County High student, put his own touch to a page from his mother’s recipe book.

Both students will head to Montgomery in January to compete in the Alabama Junior-Senior Beef Cook-off.

“It’s a great feeling,” McCarley said. “I’m just in shock.”

More than 60 students from across the county participated. The two divisions were juniors (grades 7-9) and seniors (grades 10-12). Liveoak was the junior winner and McCarley the senior winner.

Other top dishes were Heavenly Smith’s teriyaki cubes on rice (second place, juniors); Ashley Taylor’s Reuben crescent bake (third place, juniors); Breeann Rush’s easy taco beef bake (second place, seniors); and Shaine Beam’s chocolate flank steak with pineapple salsa (third place, seniors).

Dishes were judged on four basic points — uniqueness of the recipe, amount of beef used (1 to 5 pounds is appropriate), taste and appearance.

Many groups took part in the cook-off, including Chilton County Cattlewomen, Chilton County Extension Office, Chilton County Farmers Federation Women’s Committee, Master Gardeners, Family and Consumer Science teachers, agriscience teachers and student volunteers.

Guest speakers were Dr. Lisa Kriese-Anderson, extension animal scientist; Josh Elmore, associate animal scientist; Lee Wideman and Joy Maxwell, regional extension agents with 4-H.

“Participation was probably double of any cook-off we’ve had,” County Extension coordinator Gay West said.