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Presentation Guidelines: Beef Char-Grill


  • For youth to know the nutritional value, the economic value and cooking principles of beef and to understand the importance of beef as an agricultural product.


    Each county may enter up to two participants in each age division.

  • 9-10 – 4-H’er must be nine years old prior to January 1 of the current year and not have reached their eleventh burthday before January 1 of the current year.
  • 11-13 – 4-H’er must be eleven years old prior to January 1 of the current year and not have reached their thirteenth birthday before January 1 of the current year.
  • 14-18 – 4-H’er must be fourteen years old prior to January 1 of the current year and not have reached their nineteenth birthday before January 1 of the current year.


  • District contests are open to two (2) contestants from each county.
  • District winners are eligible to participate in the State Contest. District winners will be provided a scholarship to attend and participate in the contest. If the district winner is unable to participate, the district runner-up is eligible to receive the scholarship to attend and participate.
  • Contestants will furnish all equipment necessary to participate in the contests.
  • Contestant is responsible for the purchase and selection of appropriate meat and other ingredients to be used. The amount of meat to prepare should consist of at least 3/4 of a pound of beef.
  • Contestants will dress neatly and appropriately for the occasion.
  • Start to finish time, including starting the fire, will be limited to two (2) hours.
  • A charcoal or gas grill may be used.
  • Contestants should provide a table suitable for displaying his/her finished product.
  • Scoring will be as follows: Contestants will be evaluated on the basis of meat cut selection, imaginative use of meat, excellence of preparation and overall acceptance, including tenderness, juiciness, flavor, and eye appeal. Contestants are urged to refrain from precooked products.The following is a listing of categories, category descriptions, and their maximum number of points:
    Category Description of Category Maximum Points
    Safety & Efficiency Safety and ease in handling equipment 7 points
    Appearance of Contestant Neatness and appropriateness of attire 8 points
    Food Handling & Safety Cleanliness of grill and other utensils
    Proper use of food safety and preparation products (meat thermometer, food handling gloves, hairnet, etc.)
    15 points
    Cut Selection & Imaginative Use New ideas in selecting and preparing cuts, choice of spices, sauces and/or seasonings 20 points
    Palatability & Overall Acceptance Tenderness, juiciness, flavor and uniformity of doneness 35 points
    Attractiveness of Final Product Uniformity of color, freedom from excess grease and charred edges.
    Attractiveness of ready-to-serve entry.
    15 points
  • Oral presentation is not required.
  • Entry must be completed in its entirety and postmarked by the deadline date in order to be considered for participation.

Awards: Sponsored by the NC Cattlemen’s Beef Council, Inc.

  • District Winner: $50.00 scholarship to State 4-H Congress and a plaque
  • District Runner Up: a plaque
  • State Winner: $25 award and a plaque
  • State Runner Up: a plaque

Suggestions and Additional Requirements:

      A. Contestants should be prepared to answer questions about the cut of meat used.
      B. Clothing & Appearance — dress neatly and appropriately. 4-H colors would be excellent. However, clean, neat clothing such as would be worn at a picnic or an actual cookout is also suitable. An apron should be worn by both boys and girls; and if the apron can identify with beef, so much the better. It would, however, be advisable to have the apron identify with the cut of meat used. A cook’s hat for boys and a hairnet for girls are most desirable. People who work with meat either in processing, preparation or cooking and serving in commercial establishments are required by law to wear hats or hairnets. With the current health concerns, plastic serving gloves are required while preparing and serving the beef. Appropriate gloves for handling hot utensils should be worn while cooking.
      C. Grill — one which is large enough to handle the cuts of meat used. An adjustable grill which allows you to raise and lower the meat to control heat and cooking speed is best. If the grill is rusty or greasy, be sure to clean it up before the contest.
      D. Table — a portable table, such as a card table, to use for all equipment during preparation and to display finished products is needed. A tablecloth and a small sign with the name of your dish, your name and your county will add much to your demonstration. Garnishes, such as a flower, lettuce, spiced apple rings, peach halves, parsley or pineapple rings, will make your dish more attractive. A plate, knife, fork, spoon, napkin and glass should be used to set the table just as if the judge is going to sit down to eat.
      E. Copies of your recipe, name of cut, preparation method, cooking time, sauce and so forth should be available.
      F. Tongs for handling and spreading charcoal.
      G. Charcoal — use a brand which you have found satisfactory. Measure your charcoal ahead of time and use the same amount each time.
      H. Use charcoal lighter fluid. Never use gasoline or other similar material that may explode!! In addition to the danger, it often leaves undesirable odor residue which will be absorbed by your meat. If you measure your lighter fluid use the same amount each time, it helps to get a good fire started. Extreme caution should be taken when gas grills are utilized. Lids of a gas grill should be opened or off when lighting the grill.
      I. Use aluminum foil to line the bottom of the charcoal grill. This protects the grill and makes clean up easier.
      J. Fire base — vermiculite, sand or other non-flammable granular material that will allow the fire to breathe for faster, more even cooking will help protect your grill. Sand should be dry. Coarse sand or gravel may explode if wet and spoil the meat or even get into your eyes. When used, cover bottom of the grill with about one inch; or if the grill has a rounded bottom, use enough fire base to make a level bed out to the edges.
      K. Starting the fire — Be sure the grill is sturdy with the legs secure. Use enough charcoal to cover an area large enough to be sure heat is evenly distributed under the meat. One-half inch between briquettes for beef will help prevent flame-ups. Place charcoal in a pyramid, soak lightly with charcoal lighter fluid, allow to stand two minutes, then light. When the coals are covered with gray ash, spread with tongs. You can get a faster start by using a #10 can (a large shortening, juice or other can) with both ends cut out and with hole about one inch apart, one inch from the bottom or put the can in the grill, fill with charcoal briquettes, soak lightly with charcoal lighter fluid, allow to stand two minutes, then light. When coals are covered with gray ash, remove can with the tongs and spread charcoal. DO NOT USE gasoline, kerosene or highly flammable materials because of the danger of explosion and odor residues which will be absorbed by your meat.
      L. Asbestos gloves or hot mitt will protect hands from the heat and are a good safety item.
      M. A long-handled fork or meat tongs and a knife for handling your meat and a brush or spoon to apply sauce. A small sauce pan that can be set on the grill will keep your sauce warm and handy for your cookout.
      N. Use a suitable high quality meat cut. Tell your butcher what you are planning to do and ask for help with your selection. Steaks and ribs are not as thick and will cook in less time than roasts. If roasts or thicker cuts are used, be sure to time your demonstration in order that you can finish in the required two hours. Steaks should be one-inch thick for best results. Above all, know what you are cooking. Know if you have T-bones, ribeyes, flank steak, boned and rolled chuck or what ever cut you are using. It is also helpful to know the location of the cut in the carcass. Remember, the economics of preparing the meat and less expensive cuts are taken under consideration.
      O. An ice chest for your meat cut and garnishes will keep them in good condition en route to and during your demonstration.
      P. Soft drink bottles with a sprinkler stopper or other small sprinkler for controlling flame-up is helpful. Avoid using spray bottles as they tend to cause charcoal dust ashes to rise and possibly land on the beef.
      Q. Cooking the meat — place meat on grill and begin cooking. If you have a flame-up, sprinkle with water and continue cooking. Smoke flavor can be increased by using wood chips from hickory, oak, apple or cherry. Do not use soft wood chips. Soak chips at least one hour and place a few on your charcoal. If they dry out and begin to burn, remove with tongs and replace. You will need a bucket and water if you plan to use soaked chips. Whole muscle cuts (steaks and roast) of beef should be cooked to 145 – 150 degrees F. Ground beef should be prepared to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a meat thermometer to obtain the internal temperature. When meat is done, remove and display for the judges
      R. Clean up after judging is finished. Charcoal is hot and will be dangerous for several hours. Be careful. It should be:
    1. placed in a metal container provided for this purpose
    2. buried or placed in an open hole in the ground
    3. soaked in a bucket of water
    4. do not put charcoal in a container with other trash or leave it in the open.
    S. Remember!!! You are presenting a demonstration in outdoor cookery. The judge is watching you. Pay attention to your cooking. Keep your work area neat and clean. Stand up and act business-like. Leaning, propping, sitting, and drinking water or soft drinks detract from your demonstration. Watch the judge and do not spend too much time visiting with others. Once you reach the contest site, you are on your own. This is your demonstration. Assistance from others may get you disqualified.



Brent J. Jennings
4-H Youth Livestock
NCSU Campus Box 7621
Raleigh, NC 27695
919-515-6684 – Fax


Go to Beef Char-Grill Presentation Score Sheet

See NC 4-H Presentation Regulations

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