What's for dinner? Lowndes Cattlemen's Association fires up the grills for annual fundraiser

April 24, 2013 10:48:24 AM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


'Tis the season -- the season for taking covers off the grills, for organizing cooking tools, maybe even buying a new chef's apron ... the season for enjoying a deep whiff of an excellent cut of beef sizzling above the heat. The Lowndes County Cattlemen's Association kicks off the grilling season in a big way this weekend with their annual steak dinner sale fundraiser.  


"We're hoping to do at least 3,000 steak dinners Friday and Saturday, but we have the capability of cooking a lot more," said association president Craig Cannull of Caledonia. "Last year we cooked over a ton of rib-eyes in the Kroger parking lot -- over 2,000 pounds." 


The steak dinners -- a rib-eye steak, baked potato and salad to go -- sell for $12. Orders for 10 or more dinners may be called in (662-386-6329) in advance, to be picked up. Or just stop by the mobile "beef trailer" located in the north corner of the Kroger parking lot on Highway 45 North in Columbus Friday and Saturday, April 26-27, between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. 


Longtime cattleman Doug Yelverton of Columbus has been participating in the sale now for about 20 years.  


"All the proceeds of the sale go toward scholarships for students headed off to college; some are already in college," he explained. Last year, the group awarded 14 scholarships, averaging $450 each. 


The sale also promotes beef, a vital segment of Mississippi's agricultural industry, and gives the community a chance at a good steak at a reasonable price, added Yelverton. 


Members of the local association, which is affiliated with the Mississippi and National Cattlemen's Association, enjoy regular "eatin' meetings" and get to hear speakers on cattle-related topics, including vaccines and pasture maintenance. The associations promote the beef industry and provide a voice in Jackson and Washington, D.C., for its interests and sustainability. Anyone who supports the beef industry is encouraged to join. 




The perfect steak 


When it comes to preparing a great steak, what do Cattlemen's Association members prefer? Cannull and Yelverton like to keep things simple. 


"My point of view is that if you buy a quality cut of meat, you don't have to really do much do it," said Cannull. "Quality meat is good without marinating; if you know what a good piece of meat's supposed to taste like, you don't have to put a lot on it." 


From Yelverton, "My personal opinion is that all you need is salt and pepper; you can taste the meat then." 


Seems like award-winning cookbook author and celebrity chef Bobby Flay concurs. His formula at foodnetwork.com for perfectly grilled boneless rib-eyes begins with 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch thick steaks. About 20 minutes before grilling, remove steaks from the refrigerator and let them sit, covered, at room temperature. Heat the grill to high. Brush steaks on both sides with canola or extra-virgin olive oil and season liberally with Kosher salt and pepper.  


Place the steaks on the grill and cook until they're golden brown and slightly charred, about four to five minutes, then turn and continue to grill for three to five minutes more for medium-rare, five to seven minutes more for medium, or eight to 10 minutes for medium-well. Transfer your steaks to a cutting board or platter, tent loosely with foil and let them rest for five minutes before slicing. 


More recipes with beef -- including a fun twist on the traditional meatball sub -- are included in today's food pages.  


In the meantime, make plans to stop by the beef trailer in the Kroger parking lot this weekend and support the Lowndes County Cattlemen's Association. Everything they make goes right back into the community, through scholarships. 


"We encourage everyone to come out and see friends you haven't seen in a while," urged Yelverton. "And enjoy a great steak dinner at the same time." 






Total time: 10 minutes 


Makes 4 servings 




1/3 cup light mayonnaise or salad dressing 


1 teaspoon Dijon-style or yellow mustard 


4 slices crusty Italian country-style or sourdough bread 


1/4 cup olive tapenade 


12 ounces thinly sliced deli roast beef 


2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced 


1 cup fresh baby spinach 




  • In a small bowl combine mayonnaise and mustard; lightly spread onto one side of each bread slice. Spread with tapenade. Top with roast beef, tomato slices and spinach. 


    (source: bhg.com) 






    Total time: 20 minutes 


    Makes 4 servings 




    1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced (2 cups) 


    2 tablespoons olive oil 


    1 16-ounce package frozen cooked meatballs, thawed 


    1 cup peeled, cored pineapple, chopped (about one-quarter pineapple) 


    1 cup desired chutney 


    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 


    4 hoagie buns, split and toasted 




  • In large skillet cook onion in hot oil over medium heat about 8 minutes, or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in meatballs, pineapple, chutney and crushed red pepper. Cover skillet; cook three minutes more, or until heated through, stirring once. Serve in buns.  






    Total time: 30 minutes 


    Makes 4 servings 




    8 ounces dried large rigatoni 


    1/2 cup purchased basil pesto 


    1 pound flat iron or tri-tip steak, cut into 4 portions 


    4 roma tomatoes, sliced 


    4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 


    Fresh Basil Leaves (optional) 




  • Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. 


  • Meanwhile, remove 2 tablespoon of the pesto and use to brush on steaks. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat; add steaks. Cook about 10 minutes or to desired doneness, turning once. 


  • Divide pasta among four plates. Top with steak, tomatoes and cheese. 


  • Place remaining pesto in a small microwave safe bowl. Heat on 100 percent power (high) for 20 seconds or until hot, stirring once. Drizzle atop steak/pasta mixture. Top with fresh basil.  


    (Source: bhg.com) 






    Total time: 30 minutes 


    Makes 4 servings 




    12 ounces boneless beef sirloin steaks, cut 3/4 inch thick 


    Salt and ground black pepper 


    1/4 cup butter (half a stick) 


    2 tablespoons coarse-grain mustard 


    1 tablespoon snipped fresh thyme 


    1 teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary 




  • Preheat broiler. Cut each steak in half. Lightly sprinkle both sides of steaks with salt and pepper. 


  • In a 12-inch skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add steaks; brown on both sides, cooking until steaks are near desired doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to a broiler pan; spread tops of steaks with mustard. 


  • Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until steaks have reached desired doneness. 


  • Meanwhile, for herb butter, add remaining butter to skillet; cook over medium heat until butter begins to bubble and turn golden. Add half of the herbs; remove from heat. 


  • Transfer steaks to plates; pour herb butter over steaks. Sprinkle with remaining herbs. 


    (Source: bhg.com)

    Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.