In the wee hours of the morning of Aug. 13, the smell of barbeque and smoked meat began to fill the air as Iowa’s best grillers assembled at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines for the 50th Annual Iowa Farm Bureau Cookout Contest. The championship pursuit began in June when county Farm Bureaus host county contests to determine first place winners of outdoor cooking in six categories: beef, pork, lamb, poultry, turkey and combo/specialty. Then county level winners from around the state of Iowa competed at the state fair for the coveted 2013 Cookout Contest Championship and cash prizes.

Co-Manager of Beebeetown’s Twisted Tail, Luke Spencer, was one of those 51 grilling competitors at the State Fair. He explained his decision to enter the contest was because, “I knew my my ribs were pretty good and I am a competitive person. My pork division had the most entries.” Not every county Farm Bureau has the contest. Spencer entered the Guthrie County competition since it was held during the middle of the week at a time he had available. Working solo, he went on to beat out 6 teams in the pork division for first place.

At the state fair event, Spencer began set up and prepping at 1 a.m. He placed his pork baby back ribs on the smoker at 5 a.m. where they cooked at 250º for 4 to 5 hours using a combination of hickory and pecan wood. Hickory for the strong barbeque flavor and pecan for the mild nutty flavor. Spencer’s own special sauce creation is added the last 15 minutes of cooking. During the 10 a.m. judging, Spencer won first place over a crowd 20 to 30 people in the pork division.

“The people at Iowa Farm Bureau were very accommodating, great people to work with. It was a good time and I got to meet many neat contestants,” says Spencer. “Thank you Farm Bureau for putting on the competition. It was a good experience.”

Spencer’s prize winning smoked, pork baby back ribs are the special on Fridays at the Twisted Tail. $12.75 buys a half rack of ribs with a side salad and 1 choice of side. “It’s a lot of food,” added Spencer. The ribs are personally grilled by Spencer himself. Twisted Tail is a family run business owned by Ed and Ruth Spencer. It is managed by Luke Spencer and sister, Hannah Johnsen.

For more information visit or call 712 644-3942.

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