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NC 4H Char-Grill Cooking Contest


Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending my morning with some amazing North Carolina chefs – they were all under the age of 18 and cooking outdoors at The Court of North Carolina on the campus of North Carolina State University.


The North Carolina 4H Congress runs through Tuesday and as part of their program they hold a state level cookery contest. The grilling battle is sponsored by The North Carolina Beef Council, The North Carolina Pork Council and Tyson.

In order to qualify each participant competes at their district level – the competition is divided into three different age groups. As with any challenge there were requirements the judges were looking for: create a recipe, choose a cut of beef, pork or poultry, bring your own grilling equipment, demonstrate proficiency of the grill and safety, actually cook the recipe on site – and of course the taste test!

My perspective was unique – I was there to take photos and share the story – after wandering around, introducing myself and taking photographs – I stood back and waited for the judges to complete their tallies so I could capture the awards ceremony – that’s when the competitors who had already been judged came over to me, not only remembered my name, but shared their creations and gave me recipe print-outs – I was blown away by their cooking skills and their manners!


Each entrant put a lot of thought into representing North Carolina animal agriculture – both visually and tastefully!

I chalk my Saturday morning up as well-spent indeed. I learned new things about North Carolina agriculture, met inspiring young people, ate some of the best food I’ve tasted in awhile – and came away with a few recipes to boot!

Below is Javan Harrell’s winning Cheese Burger in Paradise recipe – he’s from Wilson County – this was one of the creations I personally tasted and highly recommend! I’ll share a few more of their recipes in the coming days – it truly was a pleasure to spend time with these young people and see the goodness the North Carolina Beef Council, the North Carolina Pork Council and Tyson are doing in partnership with the North Carolina 4H.

Cheese Burger in Paradise


  • 1lb hamburger (73% lean)
  • 1/4 cup bbq sauce (1/2 KC masterpiece and 1/2 Sweet Baby Ray’s
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  •  4 slices cheese
  • 2 Hawaiian sweet rolls

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Mix Hamburger meat, bbq sauce, pepper, kosher salt, and garlic salt in bowl.
  2. Make four hamburger patties and place in refrigerator.
  3. Light charcoal in grill and wait for coals to ash over.
  4. Spread coals out evenly in the grill.
  5. Clean grill grate and spray with cooking oil.
  6. Place burgers on the grill and turn burgers in about 10 minutes.
  7. Cook burgers until they reach 170 degrees F.
  8. Place cheese on top of burgers and allow time to melt.
  9. Place on buns and enjoy with your choice of toppings.



*As promised – I’ll keep adding some recipes to this post from this day of NC Culinary Delight – here’s one from Lindsey of Henderson County {she’s a 4 year grilling competition veteran and it sure shines through in her cooking!}

Fresh Herb & Lemon Chicken 


  • 2 Heads of Garlic Roasted
  • 4 tablespoon Chopped Fresh each, oregano, thyme and parsley
  • Juice from 4 medium lemons
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper


  • Put all ingredients except oil in blender and blend until smooth.
  • While still running, start pouring in the oil slowly until all is added.
  • Turn off when mixture is emulsified. Set aside ½ cup to use on chicken after grilling.
  • Cover chicken thoroughly and put in storage bag to let marinade while grill is heating.
  • After grill is prepared for cooking direct heat on one side indirect on other, pull chicken out of bag with tongs and place chicken on direct heat skin side up.
  • Keep watch of chicken not to let any part burn.
  • Turn pieces over half way through and continue to cook.
  • When internal temp. registers 165 degrees F.
  • Remove from heat and let rest under foil tent for 15 minutes. Cut and serve


About The Author:

Jennifer is a North Carolina native, a mother, the daughter of a farmer and a professional writer focusing on North Carolina culture, travel, art, food, agriculture and farm life. She is a strong believer that kindness is a boomerang exercise – you should help build others up whenever you can.

Follow Jennifer’s “What’s Growing On?” blog posts on North Carolina food and agriculture here on FeedTheDialogueNC.com.

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