4-H grows cooking skills

Nothings says summer like the smell of meat cooking on the grill.  But mastering the charcoal grill is a skill that begins before the grill is even lit.  Learning how to identify cuts of meat was one of the first skills 4-H members learned as part of the Tailgate Grilling Workshop.  Brian Estevez, UF/IFAS Extension Suwannee County, joined Mark Mauldin, UF/IFAS Extension Washington County, to teach youth how to identify cuts of beef and pork by identifying bones and muscles.  Youth also learned how to select the proper cuts of meat for grilling and why some cuts aren’t suitable for grilling.

A trip to the local Piggly Wiggly allowed youth to put their newly acquired knowledge to work in selecting cuts of meat as well as identifying the cuts.  In the meat cutting department, they saw how meat is broken down into retail cuts.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are nearly 6,000 grill fires on residential properties every year resulting in an average of $37 million in damages, 100 injuries and 10 deaths.  To make youth aware of this risk, Julie Pigott Dillard, UF/IFAS Extension Washington County, talked with youth about grilling safety followed by youth identifying safety hazards in a real-world situation.

At the end of the first day, 4-H’ers watched a grilling demonstration using different cuts of meat and had a taste test focusing on tenderness and texture to prepare them for the next two days of grilling.

Building and controlling the grill’s fire was the focus of the next day.  4-H’ers worked with several different kinds of fire layouts in grills to determine the best fire to grill on as well as how to tell when the fire is ready for grilling.  Each group of youth built their own practice fires before learning how to prepare meat for grilling.  4-H’ers learned how to season and flavor meat by experimenting with making rubs and sauces then applying the rubs to the meat before grilling began.  By the end of day two, 4-H’ers were eating pork chops they had prepared themselves.

The final day began with a grilling contest using pork chops that 4-H’ers seasoned and served with a complimentary sauce.  A panel of judges tasted each of the selections and determined a winning group but not before complimenting all of the youth on their final products.  J.T. Cook, Cass Dillard and Jessica Wells were selected as the top grill masters.

To learn more about how 4-H can grow your child, contact UF/IFAS Extension Washington County 4-H Agent, Julie Pigott Dillard, at 850-638-6180/juliepd@ufl.edu.  Enrollment for the 2016-2017 4-H year begins August 23rd.  All Washington County youth are invited to attend 4-H Open House on Thursday, August 25th from 3:30-6 pm in the Ag Center East Wing.