Troy Anderson

Troy Anderson of Fort Dodge, Iowa, won the crown at this year’s Farm Bureau Cookout Contest at the Iowa State Fair.

DES MOINES — Troy Anderson decided to give it a shot. The amateur griller made the choice to enter a local barbeque contest this summer, and he ended up making it to the Iowa State Fair, where he was crowned champion at the 56th annual Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Contest.

“It was a surprise,” Anderson said of the victory, “but I have always liked grilling.”

Anderson, 54, works for the City of Fort Dodge. He and his wife, Kelly, have two children and they have spent some quality time around the grill. This time around the winning entry was a chuck roast that took top honors in the beef category before being named the championship-winning dish.

“We had representatives from 44 counties this year,” said Iowa Farm Bureau Federation President Craig Hill. “There are a lot of very good grillers represented.”

Anderson said he enjoys grilling all types of food. Pork loins or pork butts are among his favorite cuts of meat to grill. But he said he entered this year’s local contest on a bit of a lark.

“I just decided to give it a try,” he said. “There are a lot of good competitors in this contest.”

The contest is sponsored by the IFBF and other ag groups.

Among this year’s winners were: Shannon Glaser from Adair County, for lamb; Jared Merchant from Benton County, pork; Mike Anderson from Madison County, poultry; Ben Zehr from Iowa County, turkey; Scott Degeneffe from Boone County, combo/specialty; Wyatt Lewis of Maxwell, in the youth category; Thyron Mathews of Oelwein, for showmanship; and Shawn McDermott and Kyle Johnson of Newton, in the team category.

This year’s entries varied from Anderson’s slow-smoked chuck roast to traditional items such as prime rib, pork loin and grilled chicken to more exotic entries such as Hawaiian lamb burgers or bacon-wrapped jalapeño popper meatloaf.

For more of the winning recipes, visit

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Gene Lucht is public affairs editor for Iowa Farmer Today, Missouri Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.