Called Up For ‘Jerky Duty’: 2019 Iowa State Fair Award-Winning Recipes

We thought we’d add a new recipe contest to our Iowa State Fair contest repertoire this year.

So many of the creative cooks we know love their dehydrators and smokers, and come up with some far out (and really tasty) things, that a “jerky-making” contest seemed like a natural addition to this year’s competitions.

Lean, trimmed meat that’s been cut into strips and dehydrated to prevent spoilage, jerky is a really basic, old-school food-preserving concept that seems to have gained in popularity in the last few years with the growth in popularity of meat-centric ways of eating (Atkins, Paleo, Keto, etc).

Our judges were glad to have been called up for “Jerky Duty”, since they got to try a variety of excellent dried-meat jerky entries last month during the 2019 Iowa State Fair.

Here are the top recipes:

Matthew P. from Ankeny took first place with his Beef Jerky recipe.  His painstaking process involved marinating beef flank steak in a juicy bourbon-soy-WorcestershireBBQ Sauce marinade, followed by slow-cooking at a low temperature with a dry rub of sweet, hot, peppery, spicy goodness. The complex flavors of this jerky were irresistible.

The red second-place ribbon was awarded to Lyle M. of Huxley, who made a vibrant “Peppered” Beef Jerky (the Saturday Sample on September 7) from a beef bottom round roast, seasoned with dark beer, soy sauce, brown sugar, and Col Pabst’s Worcestershire Sauce, along with plenty of salt and pepper.

AllSpice customer James M. used some creative spelling along with his creative cooking skills, and his Jamaican Jerkee recipe won the third place award.  James marinated a big Eye of Round beef steak in a fiery concoction of soy, whiskey, liquid smoke, ground Jamaican Allspice, Island Jerk Seasoning, brown sugar and steak seasoning, and then let his dehydrator work its magic over a 12-hour period.


We are finishing the transcription and editing process, but you can find (nearly) all of the 2019 Iowa State Fair award-winning recipes at this link.