Sizzle, smoke and steak

Fly into Summer steak cookoff coming to St. Catherine’s on Saturday

By Don Coble don@opcfla.com
Posted 6/9/21

ORANGE PARK – Casey and Judy Jones will leave together from their home in Mandarin early Saturday for a short drive over the Buchman Bridge and to St. Catherine’s of Siena Catholic Church. They …

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Sizzle, smoke and steak

Fly into Summer steak cookoff coming to St. Catherine’s on Saturday

Posted

ORANGE PARK – Casey and Judy Jones will leave together from their home in Mandarin early Saturday for a short drive over the Buchman Bridge and to St. Catherine’s of Siena Catholic Church. They will fire up their own grills under the same tent, cook for the same Miracle in the Kitchen cooking team and return home later that night.

But once the coals are glowing red hot and the platters of raw ribeye steaks are delivered, the couple will go their own way.

“We are on the same team, but we are separate when it comes to the competition,” Casey said. “We both use similar techniques. We both tenderize our steaks. We both use a dry rub and we finish it with a butter compound.”

Again, that’s where the similarity ends.

“I’ve learned everything I know from him,” Judy said, “but I think I’ve won more awards than him.”

The couple will be at it again Saturday at the Third annual Fly into Summer double cookoff and wing competition. They will join more than 30 other cooking teams, including several from Clay County, including the tandem of Brian and Dana Coleman, at the church at 1649 Kingsley Ave. in one of the most popular taste-testing competitions in the county.

Teams will start arriving at 9 a.m. to set up, and all cooks will meet with SCA officials at 11. Grills will be fired up shortly after that.

The first round of steaks has to be delivered by 2 p.m., while the deadline for wings is between 3:30-3:34 p.m. The second round of steaks must be turned in by 5 p.m. And while competitors will be eager for the 7 p.m. awards, guests will be more excited when competitors can buy cooked steaks at 6 p.m.

The best steak based on both rounds of competition will earn $1,000 for the cooks. Second place will earn $500, followed by $400 for third, $300 for fourth, $200 for fifth and $100 each for sixth-through-10th place.

Cooks of the top wings will earn $200, while second place will get $100 and third gets $50.

The Joneses got their team’s name following the US Airways flight 1549 crash into the Hudson River on Jan. 10, 2009. The jet plummeted into the New York City river shortly after takeoff after the engines flamed out while striking several geese. All 155 crew and passengers, including Casey Jones, survived the crash after pilots Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles managed to safely land in the river.

“Everything in my life is deeper and broader since then,” Casey said. “It was a fabulous event to go through for many, many reasons.”

Give a second chance in life, Casey is committed to cooking the perfect steak – if that’s possible.

Steaks are judged in five categories – appearance, texture, doneness, taste and overall. All steaks are to be cooked to a medium temperature.

“Nobody has gotten a perfect score yet,” Casey said of the rigid Steak Cookoff of Association standards, “but my wife came close. The perfect score is 254.5 and she got a 253.8 once.”

No serious cook would ever use a propane grill for a ribeye, Casey said. Most competitors will be using charcoal, but a few may risk the challenges of using a cast iron skillet to sear the steak for the rewards of a perfectly grilled piece of meat.

Casey said he’s sticking to a technique that’s worked well in the past – and open fire.

Judy’s interest in the sport is simple: “I’m always looking forward to eating a steak,” she said.

The day includes a car show by the Clay County Cruisers. There also will be live music, raffles, concessions and, of course, steak dinners. The awards banquet and dinner will be served in the new-built Parish Family Life Center.

Tickets for the steak dinner are $30, and they’re available at the church office at 1649 Kingsley Ave., in Orange Park. Sponsorship packages are available through Vincent Reilly at (904) 264-0577 or by visiting vreilly@stcatherineop.com.

Visit www.steakcookoffs.com to sign up and for a complete list of rules.

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