Published 5/31/2012 in Beef Empire Days-Food
Correction: In a previous persion of this story, Ryan Wiesner’s name was misspelled.
By ANGIE HAFLICH
Brad Nading/Telegram Jack Klein shakes garlic pepper seasoning on a fresh round of steaks placed on one of the grills Wednesday during the Beef Empire Days Roto-Mix Cattlemen's Steak Cookout under the grandstands at the Finney County Fairgrounds.
Brad Nading/Telegram Wally Stimpert has some flames kick up as he turns a steak Wednesday while he and others from Roto-Mix man the grills for the Beef Empire Days Roto-Mix Cattlemen's Steak Cookout under the Finney County Fairgrounds grandstands.
The aroma of steak filled the air at the Finney County Fairgrounds Wednesday as the Roto-Mix Cattlemen's Steak Cookout, a long-standing event of Beef Empire Days, was under way during the Merck Animal Health Live Show.
On a large grill under the grandstands, employees of Roto-Mix cooked ribeyes as the Southwest Kansas CattleWomen served them up with a side of baked beans and rolls.
"They do all the work. They're good at it," Delores Gillen said as she dished up baked beans.
Janet Hands, who was also serving baked beans, said that the cooks have many years of experience.
"They do a really good job," she said.
Gillen said that there are always a lot of people at the cookout.
The Roto-Mix crew started cooking at about 10 a.m., Rod Neier, CEO of Roto-Mix, said as he cleaned one of the cook's glasses.
"I'm cleaning his glasses so he can cook some more," Neier said.
Roto-Mix has been involved with cooking steak for the event, in some fashion, for a dozen years.
"A lot of the people who are here have been here for the whole thing, for 12 years. Pretty much the same people," Neier said.
The grills were large enough to cook about 100 steaks at a time.
"We kind of have a process they go through here. They cook them here, pretty much medium rare, and then they put a little butter on them and put them in the cooler and then they actually keep cooking because they build up heat inside there, so they end up probably medium by the time they come and get them. The cooler keeps them warm," he said.
This process also allows the butter to marinate through the cuts.
"The butter keeps them moist," Neier said.
After having participated in the event for so long, he said that they have gotten it down to a science.
"We kind of know what to expect now that we've done it this many years. We've got right around 600 steaks, so they'll probably all be gone, I'm sure," he said.
It only took about an hour and a half for them to disappear.
Greg Mantz said it was his first time at the event, and he was impressed with the free fare.
"Pretty good steaks. They didn't overcook them, and they were well finished. Somewhere between medium and medium rare," he said. "Pretty good quality, too."
Ryan Wiesner said he couldn't have asked for a better steak.
"It was a medium rare and that's how they presented it to me. It was very well-cooked and I enjoyed it," he said. "I appreciate all the vendors down here that are supporting Beef Empire Days, and I came down to show my support."
Finney County Fairgrounds employees Washington Huynh and Ruben Nungaray took some time out of their busy schedules to enjoy the meal, as well.
"I'm a cowboy, and I forgot my hat," Nungaray said, laughing.
Both men say their favorite event of Beef Empire Days is the rodeo.
Neier said that supporting Beef Empire Days and the cattle industry is important.
"If you just look around the area, the community, beef's a big part of the livelihood in this area," he said. "We enjoy supporting Beef Empire Days. It's a good event."
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