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DeKalb Students Take State Meat Honors, Headed To 4H Nationals

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
DeKalb Students Take State Meat Honors, Headed To 4H Nationals

Several Dekalb County students headed to the nationals next month after taking state honors at the 4-H Outdoor Meat Cooking Competition.

Avalynn Smullen won first place in the state for Beef. Lily Waggoner won first place in Chicken. DeKalb UT Extension 4-H Agent MyKaela Young said while the judges announced the scores of each team, her group’s excitement kept building.

“They started at the ninth place team and then worked their way up,” Young said. “And so each time our name was not called we just began to be more and more excited and then when we got to their place and they didn’t say our name, we got very excited. And then when they didn’t say our name for second place we just went crazy.”

Young said she was especially proud of her students considering they largely did not even know they would be competing for the state title until shortly beforehand. The wins were based on two sets of scores awarded during the competition, one for the grilling process and one for tasting and presentation.

“We first had our regional competition and that was back in mid-September,” Young said. “So our kids participated in that competition and we actually ended up in fourth place at the Central Region Competition and we got to go to the state competition just because one of the teams was not able to attend.”

Young said only the top three teams in the region are allowed to compete in state, so her team had taken time off believing they lost.

“So we were already just happy to be there because we weren’t supposed to be there because we got fourth place,” Young said. “But we had only missed third place by like half a point.”

Young said the students are taught how to start and maintain their own charcoal grill to safely cook lamb, chicken, beef, and pork. Young said the students pick their own meat from local grocery stores, as well as their own recipes and preparation methods. Young said that it’s always a treat for her students to be able to taste their dishes after working hard cooking them.


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