Saturday, September 20, 2014


Steve Lay turns chops for Kevin Eyer during the Beef, Lamb Pork and Ribs Cook-off at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, Saturday, July 27. Lay is from Middlebury. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

Lois Tucker chops onions at the start of the Beef, Lamb Pork and Ribs Cook-off at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, Saturday, July 27. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

Mike Cross (left), Barney Beer and Michael Christofeno judge rib entries in during the Beef, Lamb Pork and Ribs Cook-off at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, Saturday, July 27. (Truth Photo by J. Tyler Klassen)

Kevin Eyer, Steve Lay and Sharon Lay work on Eyer's entries in the Beef, Lamb Pork and Ribs Cook-off at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, Saturday, July 27. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

Gerald Straw, Goshen, keeps an eye on his grill at the start of the Beef, Lamb Pork and Ribs Cook-off at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, Saturday, July 27. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

A rack of ribs cooks on Gerald Straw's grill during the Beef, Lamb Pork and Ribs Cook-off at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, Saturday, July 27. Straw is from Goshen. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

Larry Struble (left) and Phil Wogoman judge beef entries in the Beef, Lamb Pork and Ribs Cook-off at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, Saturday, July 27. Struble and Wogoman are past presidents of the fair. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

Sampled entries sit in the foreground as Rosalie Bontrager and Katie Case judge ice cream during the ice cream crank-off at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, Saturday, July 27 (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

Jan and Paul Wilsey are the ice cream crank-off winners for the 2013 Elkhart County 4-H Fair. The two won with their strawberry ice cream. Also pictured are judges, Rosalie Bontrager and Katie Case. The Wilseys are from Elkhart. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

Katie Case (left) and Rosalie Bontrager talk over entries in the ice cream crank-off at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, Saturday, July 27. Case is young home maker of the year and Bontrager is senior home maker of the year. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

Paul Wilsey adds ice to the Wilsey's entry in the ice cream crank-off at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, Saturday, July 27. The Wilseys are from Elkhart. (Truth Photo By J. Tyler Klassen) (AP)

Paul and Jan Wilsey of Elkhart took first place with their fresh strawberry ice cream Saturday, July 27, 2013, during the Great Homemade Ice Cream Crank-Off at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair in Goshen. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

2013 Byler Lienhart Cook-Off first place winners from left: Brooklyn and Gerald Straw of Goshen for first place ribs and cut pork; Paul Mihojevich, Nancy Mihojevich-Walter and Tim Mihojevich of Elkhart for first place cut lamb, ground pork and ground beef; and Keven Eyer of Elkhart for first place ground lamb and overall winner first place cut beef. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)
Tradition lives on at annual 4-H Fair meat cook-off

Posted on July 27, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on July 27, 2013 at 7:40 p.m.

It’s a beef, lamb, pork and ribs cook-off tradition more than two decades old. One that Mary Ann Lienhart-Cross remembers her father, John Lienhart, and a dear friend, Glen Byler, starting under the shade of the trees across the fairgrounds years ago.

This year, the top dishes of beef, pork, lamb and ribs compete under a new name to honor the founders: The Byler Lienhart Cook-Off.

“He liked to cook and share ideas and eat,” Lienhart-Cross said of her father. “He and Glen had a great camaraderie for grilling.”

Seven exhibitors entered dishes in this year’s contest, which is consistent with years past as far as numbers go.

“Years ago, we had a couple more — some exhibitors who kept winning year after year and people kept asking ‘Why do they keep winning?’” Lienhart-Cross said. “So I said, ‘Well, cook a better dish and you might start winning!’”

And win they did.

Three teams of grillers earned first place prizes in this year’s contest, and Kevin Eyer of Elkhart was named overall winner for his first-place cut beef entry, appropriately named “Finger Lickin’ Good Steaks.”

“I’m going to start crying,” Eyer said to Lienhart-Cross as he was presented his award.

“Oh don’t do that — you’ll get me going too,” she replied.

“I didn’t expect to be so emotional,” Eyer said. “The last time I won, my mom was here and she helped. She’s since passed, so it’s cool to do it again.”

Top Dishes:

Ribs

Ÿ First place: Gerald and Brooklyn Straw of Goshen - “Ribs”

Beef - cut

Ÿ First place: Kevin Eyer of Elkhart - “Finger Lickin’ Good Steaks”

Ÿ Second place: The 4 Mo’s of Elkhart - “Grilled Roast Beef with Smoky-Creamy Mushroom Sauce”

Ÿ Third place: Gerald and Brooklyn Straw of Goshen - “Ribeye Steak”

Beef - ground

Ÿ First place: The 4 Mo’s of Elkhart - “Pick Your Pepper!”

Ÿ Second Place: Karen Meade of Goshen - “Mexican Onion Bombs”

Ÿ Third Place: Ryan Meade of Goshen - “Southwest Burgers”

Pork - cut

Ÿ First place: Gerald and Brooklyn Straw of Goshen - “Pork Chops”

Ÿ Second place: Ryan Meade of Goshen - “Italian Pork Steak”

Ÿ Third place: The 4 Mo’s of Elkhart - “Herb-Crusted Rack of Pork with Italian Plum Sauce”

Pork - ground

Ÿ First place: The 4 Mo’s of Elkhart - “Jumpin’ Jack Squealers”

Ÿ Second place: Karen Meade of Goshen - “Italian Zucchini Boats”

Ÿ Third place: Kevin Eyer of Elkhart - “Citrusy Honey Mustard Burgers”

Lamb - cut

Ÿ First place: The 4 Mo’s of Elkhart - “Rack of Lamb Glazed with Citrus and Vinegar”

Ÿ Second place: Kevin Eyer of Elkhart - “Lemon Apple Roasted Lamb Chops”

Lamb - ground

Ÿ First place: Kevin Eyer of Elkhart - “Lamb and Veggie Burgers”

Ÿ Second place: The 4 Mo’s of Elkhart - “Mediterranean Grinders”

There were four entries in this year’s Great Homemade Ice Cream Crank-Off contest held at the Home and Family Arts Building, and Jan and Paul Wilsey of Elkhart took home first prize.

Top homemade ice creams:

Ÿ First place: Jan and Paul Wilsey of Elkhart - “Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream”

Ÿ Second place: Arlene Julien of Goshen - “Strawberry Banana Ice Cream”

Ÿ Third place: Arden and Virginia Zimmerman of Nappanee - “Mint Chip Ice Cream”