As I write this post, we are in southern Oklahoma making our final three hours home from a fun week at the Junior National Hereford Exposition. Each year families and juniors from across the United States that exhibit Hereford cattle travel to our national show to compete in contests and the largest cattle show in the nation.
Grand Island, Neb., was this year’s site and exhibitors from 35 states went at it for over six days of fierce competition and comradery. The JNHE is always a Hereford reunion and it takes both long hours at home and on the road to get the cattle and kids ready for this type of national stage.
This week, my Texas group placed a recipe in the Great American Certified Hereford Beef Grill-off that we felt could be a serious contender, using marinated flat iron steak served on top of an avocado with a little pico de gallo, cheese and sour cream. It’s a recipe we’ve seen popping up in Mexican restaurants across our state, so our group was eager to try their hand at Tex-Mex Fajita Stuffed Avocados.
Each year, states put together groups of juniors of all ages to compete in this contest. In years past, groups consisted of juniors within a few years of each other, now changing to ages ranging from seven to 22 years of age. Our group this year was a group of kids who won this contest as eight and nine year olds years back when we competed within the same age division. They are now ranging from fifteen to sixteen years of age and still enjoy getting together to prepare a recipe for the CHB Grill-Off. These Texas juniors have grown up together and spent a lot of time together at our Hereford shows across our state and nation.
You’ll see a sweet photo of them below in the PeeWee division from the JNHE in Kansas City. Then a picture from 2017 in Louisville, Ky., and underneath that photo from last week in Grand Island, Neb.
Our Team Texas and their 1st Place PeeWee Team just a few years back with Devon Lockhart, Audrey Nolan, Maggie Chaffin, Randi Williams, Brody Rogers, & Mason Allan.
2017 Team Texas with Riggin Stewart, Devon Lockhart, Audrey Nolan, Mason Allan, Maggie Steward, and Annalise Appleton
2019 JNHE Team Texas #2 with Randi Williams, Madeline Braman, Maggie Chaffin, Mason Allan, Audrey Nolan and Gracie Oates
Our recipe starts by marinating the Certified Hereford Beef flat iron steak, found from the shoulder or chuck portion of the animal, in pineapple juice with no added sugar. Our claim to fame on this recipe is that you can make this Whole30, Paleo or diabetic friendly if you tweak the cheese, sour cream and use natural, unrefined sugar in the pineapple juice and substitute the soy sauce with Coconut Aminos (no added sugar and Whole30 compliant). Several new lifestyle programs and diets these days are cutting back on sugar and carbohydrates, so our recipe caters to everyone in one way or another!
Certified Hereford Beef provided the meat for all contestants and the night before the kids and I got together to marinate the beef, go over our skit and make sure they were well versed on all things regarding Hereford cattle and Certified Hereford Beef tradition and facts. After the brief skit, recipe showcase and taste testing, judges ‘grill’ the juniors on a series of questions over their knowledge of Hereford beef from pasture to plate!
It was really fun this year to see the kids take on more of a role in prepping and cooking the dish. Audrey even got out her meat thermometer from the Texas Beef Council Youth Cattle Conference to make sure the meat was cooked to medium rare. Mason even used tongs to cut the meat and didn’t hand the judges their portion of the meal this time as he did as a PeeWee….that was a hilarious memory that we won’t soon let him live down! I was so impressed with our sweet kiddos this week and they are maturing into some tough little competitors.
Tex-Mex Fajita Stuffed Avocados
This fresh, summer Southwestern inspired meal of Tex-Mex Fajita Stuffed Avocados is popping up in the trendiest Mexican food restaurants this year! By using lean Hereford Flat Iron steak anyone can make this easy meal at home to rave reviews!
• 1 1/2 pounds Certified Hereford Beef flat iron steak, trimmed
• 1/2 – 1 lime freshly squeezed (about 1 tablespoon)
• 2-3 tablespoons of coconut aminos (substitute for soy sauce)
• 1-2 teaspoons minced garlic
• 1/4 cup pineapple juice, sugar-free – no added sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon oregano
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 6 avocados, halved
• 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or queso fresco (Mexican white cheese)
• 1/4 cup tomatoes, sliced
• 1/4 cup lettuce, shredded
• Additional toppings: cilantro, sour cream or Mexican crema
1. Marinate the CHB flat iron steak in lime juice, Coconut Amino’s, garlic, and pineapple juice for one hour or longer in a large Ziploc bag.
2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
3. Drain flat iron steak and pat dry with paper towels to remove any moisture.
4. Lightly oil grill grates and place steak on hot grate, grilling for 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare.
5. Remove Hereford Flat Iron steak from grill and allow to rest for five minutes.
6. Slice Hereford Flat Iron steak into 1-inch pieces cutting against the meat’s grain and then slice into 1-inch bite-sized pieces. Cover and set aside.
7. Remove the pit from the halved avocados as soon as beef is grilled. Avocados turn brown fast, so you do not want to cut them early and allow to sit too long.
8. Load the scooped out center avocados with Hereford Flat Iron steak then topped with cheese or Queso Fresco, then tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro, and sour cream or Mexican crema.
9. Squeeze extra lime over the top of Fajita Tex-Mex Stuffed Avocados for a fresh topping as well!
Click here for the printable recipe for the Tex-Mex Stuffed Avocado
This year, no matter how hard our little group tried against the other fifteen teams that competed, sadly we did not place. But as our Texas juniors will attest, this recipe was delicious and they tore into it after the competition! As in anything, it is not about the winning and all about how you learn to work and grow as a team in the process. So, I told the kids, win or lose we’d share this recipe on the CHB blog and encourage others to try this fresh, healthy and delicious CHB recipe for Tex-Mex Fajita Stuffed Avocados.
Congratulations to the Teams who placed in the Great American Certified Hereford Beef Grill-Off with first going to Team Kansas #3, 2nd to Team Texas #1 and 3rd to Team Iowa! We will expect a rematch next year and thank you CHB and the National Hereford Women for sponsoring such a fun contest each year. Your recipes and skits were amazing!
Look for future post here on Kansas Team #3’s winning Certified Hereford Beef recipe and we hope you will try our Tex-Mex Fajita Stuffed Avocados.
Thank you as well to the National Junior Hereford Association and everyone who helped make ‘All Aboard the Hereford Express’ in Grand Island, Neb., a success! We will see you next year in Denver for yet another JNHE and Great American CHB Grill-off!
The The Ranch Kitchen
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