Colemans steak their claim with second-place finishes

By Don Coble
Posted 6/16/21

ORANGE PARK – Finding Saturday’s Fly into Summer Steak Cookoff was easy. All you had to do was look for the wisps of smoke and follow the intoxicating aroma of steaks on the grill.

The third …

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Colemans steak their claim with second-place finishes


ORANGE PARK – Finding Saturday’s Fly into Summer Steak Cookoff was easy. All you had to do was look for the wisps of smoke and follow the intoxicating aroma of steaks on the grill.

The third annual event at St. Catherine’s Catholic Church was an official stop for the Steak Cookoff Association. But for Brian and Dana Coleman’s Belly Up team, it gave the couple from Argyle and home-grill advantage.

“It was nice to only have to drive 20 minutes to be here,” Brian said. “Normally we have to go three hours. It’s good to be home.”

And firing up his grill.

Nearly 30 teams competed for a $1,000 first-place prize for the best ribeye steak. While Jim Bowe of Oviedo won the best overall, the Colemans finished second and pocketed $500.

The local electrical supplies salesman also finished second to Tona Pendray of Williston in ancillaries with his bacon-wrapped chicken wings.

Don’t be fooled. These competitors do a lot more than throw a piece of meat on the grill. It takes hours to prepare, trimming a Choice 1.25-inch steak to a round disk of unmistakable flavor. Steaks are tied to keep their round shape, and most are liberally seasoned.

That’s the easy part.

Most cooks use competition-level charcoal (yes, there is such a thing). Each cook is given two steaks for each of the two double-blind rounds. One is for “practice” each round, the other is to be turned in to the judges.

And each steak is cooked on a separate grill.

Coleman said his method is precious. The grill grate must be exactly 575 degrees. Brian and Dana put their steaks on separate grills at the same moment, with Dana counting down from five.

The steak will only cook for 1 minute, 43 seconds before being flipped, Brian said. That’s when the couple continued their long-standing tradition of taking a swig of hard seltzer. They call their routine, “flip and sip.”

The Colemans flip their steaks three times, including one stop in a cast-iron skillet. For the competition, steaks are to be cooked to a medium temperature. That means 134-135 degrees. No more, no less, Brian said.

“One of the most important things is to make sure you get a good thermometer to get it to the proper temperature,” he said. “There’s no guessing here.”

The cookoff benefited programs at the church. After the competition, cooks were given another six steaks which were sold to the public. Even before the Colemans lit their grills, more than 150 steaks had been purchased in advance.

Brian currently is ranked among the top 15 in the world in the SCA, and he came into Saturday’s competition ranked seventh in ancillaries. A pair of second-place finishes solidified his place in the standings – and among other cooks.

“We go all over the country to do this,” Brian said. “We cook in Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee. This is very competitive and we enjoy it.”

The Colemans said they will compete in as many as 45 events this year.

But not any closer to home than St. Catherine’s.


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