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Cattle producers love grilling, fixing the fair’s famous hot beef sundae at home

By Staff | May 8, 2019

-Submitted photo The hot beef sundae has been a popular treat at Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters at the Iowa State Fair since it was introduced in 2006. You don’t have to wait for the fair to enjoy the dish, however as it can easily be made at home.



Fans of the Iowa State Fair love gorging on the delectable yummies spread all across the grounds, whether it’s funnel cake, a pork chop on a stick, a giant turkey leg, a hardboiled egg on a stick, or refreshing homemade ice cream. But one interesting edible item that caught fairgoers’ attention when it debuted in 2006 has remained at the top of everyone’s “must eat” list.

The hot beef sundae was unveiled by the Iowa Beef Industry Council at the Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters not far from the giant slide at the State Fairgrounds. The Beef Quarters is staffed by volunteers from across the state, most of whom are cattle producers like Janine and Mark Moore and their daughters who farm outside What Cheer in Mahaska County.

The family has a small cow-calf operation and crop share corn and soybeans. Daughter Elizabeth is a sophomore at Iowa State University studying animal science and Macy is a high school sophomore; both girls volunteer at the Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters and love the hot beef sundae. Mom Janine happens to be chair of the promotions board for the IBIC.

Janine Moore prepares a hot beef sundae at the Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters during the Iowa State Fair.

“I thought the hot beef sundae concept was very creative. I thought it might be just a novelty item at first, but it really stuck. It’s popularity at the fair is equivalent to the funnel cake,” Janine Moore said. “People always want to try something different at the fair and once you try it, you’ll keep coming back from more.”

The Moores have replicated this delicious hot meal item at home and add corn to it. They’ve also whipped them up at special events through the Mahaska County Cattlemen. Elizabeth Moore works every day at the Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters during the Iowa State Fair, serving a variety of delicious beef dishes to fairgoers.

“Before I started working there, it was by far my favorite food and it still is. I just love it. It’s iconic to the State Fair and something I look forward to every year,” Elizabeth Moore said. “Last year, we sold 21,619 hot beef sundaes in 10 days at the fair. It’s a huge hit. We’ll have people bring their friends from out-of-state with them to try it.”

Regardless of whether it’s the hot beef sundae or the prime rib dinner, the younger Moore said everyone should know that the meat served at the Beef Quarters is certified Angus that’s raised locally.

“We are proud to support farmers locally. We also know that this is a great way to reach the public and helps us to raise awareness and promote products while interacting with consumers and answering questions,” she said.

Macy Moore, Sadie Anderson and Elizabeth Moore are volunteers at the Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters during the Iowa State Fair. Elizabeth Moore said the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters support Iowa’s growers by selling and serving locally grown beef

The Moores also love to grill at their house when the weather turns warm before the county and state fair rolls around.

“Our No. 1 thing we love to grill are steaks, whether it’s a nice ribeye or sirloin. We don’t need a lot to go along with it. We’ll throw some potatoes on the grill with it. We also love making a hobo dinner on the grill in the summer whether we’re camping or at home,” Janine Moore said. “You just take a pound of ground beef and form a patty, season it, then we like ot add Worchestshire sauce, throw in some potatoes, carrots, a bit of butter, wrap it all in a foil packet and pop it all on the grill.”

Janine Moore suggested that people experiment with the different cuts of steak for the grill to find their favorite, since it’s all based upon an individual’s preferences.

“With a ribeye, you get a nice marbled piece of meat with good flavoring. But I’m partial to the sirloin, because I like the texture and flavor more,” she said. “The nice thing about grilling is that if it isn’t done to your preference, you can just put it back on a bit longer. But don’t forget to let it rest for five minutes before cutting into it.”

Dried beef pickle dip

1 package (3 ounces) dried beef, finely chopped

1 package (8 ounces) regular or reduced fat cream cheese

1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped green onion

1/2 to 1 cup coarsely chopped dill pickles (not dill relish)

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Soften cream cheese and combine with remaining ingredients. Chill until serving.

Serve with crackers or fresh vegetables.

Beef stew (the IBIC has several versions on its website)

2-1/2 pounds beef shoulder roast boneless or bottom round roast , cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 medium onion, chopped

2-1/2 cups brewed coffee

1/3 cup tomato paste

2 tablespoons molasses

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

6 small Yukon Gold or yellow flesh potatoes (about 2-inch diameter), quartered

8 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, cut in half

1-1/2 cups baby carrots

8 ounces sugar snap peas

Combine flour, thyme and pepper. Reserve 3 tablespoons flour mixture.

Lightly coat beef with remaining flour mixture. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in stockpot over medium heat until hot. Brown half of beef; remove from stockpot. Repeat with 2 teaspoons oil and remaining beef. Remove beef from stockpot. Season with salt.

Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and onion to stockpot; cook and stir to 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add coffee; increase heat to medium-high. Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until browned bits attached to stockpot are dissolved. Stir in tomato paste, molasses, Worcestershire sauce and reserved flour mixture. Return beef and accumulated juices to stockpot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 1-1/2 hours. Add potatoes, mushrooms and carrots to stockpot; return to simmer. Continue simmering, covered, 25 to 30 minutes or until beef and vegetables are fork-tender. Add peas; cook, covered, 8 to 10 minutes or until peas are crisp-tender, stirring once.

Hot beef sundae

1 package (17 ounces) fully-cooked beef tips and gravy

1 package prepared refrigerated mashed potatoes (or instant potatoes) to serve four

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

4 cherry tomatoes

Heat beef tips and gravy in microwave according to package directions (4 minutes). Prepare mashed potatoes according to package directions. To serve, place scoops of mashed potatoes in bowl. Top with beef tips and gravy. Sprinkle with cheese and top with cherry tomato.

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