Cooking competitions heat up at the Indiana State Fair

Jul 26, 2023 | Blog, News

Have you ever watched a cooking competition and thought, “I could do that!” Or sampled some barbecue at a festival and decided that your ribs and brisket would win? Maybe it’s your grandma’s biscuit recipe that beats everyone else’s or your killer brownies that dominate the bake sale.

There’s just something about food sports that brings out the competitor in any cook. Whether it’s the office chili cook-off or a charity fundraiser, everyone wants to have a winning dish. And since it’s time for the Indiana State Fair, that means there are all sorts of opportunities to check out the world of competitive cooking.

Just venture into the Indiana Arts Building at the state fairgrounds and head to the basement display area, where you’ll find an abundance of cookies, cakes, jams, jellies, biscuits and other baked goods, all entered in the various contests and some sporting big blue ribbons.

Here at Culinary Crossroads, we love to shine a spotlight on local food sports, whether that’s a chef competition, a local barbecue fest or a recipe contest at the state fair.

The Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance sponsors an heirloom recipe contest at the fair, a competition that always proves popular. Participants submit a recipe, along with a story about its history, and then make and deliver the dish for judging. Dishes are judged on taste, of course, but the story is also important.

Telling the stories of Indiana food, of the people, products and places that make our state a great place to live, work and play, is part of our Culinary Crossroads mission. And there’s a lot to tell! We hope you enjoy this On the Road newsletter and our culinary calendar. In this edition of the calendar, you’ll find some great events, including the annual Ribberfest in Madison, Ind., on Aug. 18-19, which celebrates barbecue with a Kansas City Barbecue Society competition, a backyard-style amateur contest and a “Kidz-Q” cooking event.

So if you’ve been thinking about venturing into food sport and you’ve got your secret spice rub ready, pack up your Weber kettle, head to Madison and try that amateur competition. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find yourself on a competitive barbecue team next year!

Or come to the Heirloom Recipe Contest at the state fair on Aug. 9 and get inspired by the great stories about cherished family recipes. We’ll see you there!