All inclusive, all-you-can-eat, rib eye steak, baked potato, tossed salad, wine, beer, and soft drinks, as well as live entertainment included with admission price of $50/ea. ($60/ea day of event). In case of rain, the event will be held at the Fairhope Civic Center.
The steaks will amaze you. Under the skilled grill masters, these magnificent steaks are carved from the center of Prime Rib Roast. Rib eyes have just the right amount of marbling to yield a juicy, flavorful steak that’s second to none. But wait: there’s more! You get salad, baked potato, and fixin’s, PLUS beer, wine, or soft drinks—all included in the ticket price. And the party just begins with the food: you enjoy great music, dancing in the streets, and more fun than is legal north of the Mason-Dixon line!
Admission tickets may be purchased from any club member or at locations listed under the “Cattle Auction“.
Since 2005, The Fairhope Rotary Steak Cook-off has brought to Fairhope a unique combination of searing Western BBQ-style steaks, Mardi Gras Carnival atmosphere and a chance to “see and be seen” at one of the most fun annual events hosted on the Eastern Shore. A whole year’s worth of planning comes together each May when teams of both professional chefs and local luminaries test their epicurean grilling skills on prime rib eye steaks. The event kicks off on Friday evening when the gracious merchants along South Bancroft Street between the campus of Coastal Alabama Community College and adjacent to Fairhope’s French Quarter shutter their stores and relinquish the street to every manner of wood- and charcoal-fired grills, from custom BBQ trailers to Texas Smokers. Rules specify that only authentic wood grilling can be used, and as the coals are beginning to get just right, the festival attendees come through the gates and the band starts to get under way. It is like being invited to the most prestigious tailgate event and then getting to sample everyone’s steaks, while you enjoy their salads and baked potatoes, drink their beer or wine, and dance without having to worry that you are missing the game. Each year there are usually opportunities for V.I.P. sponsorships, raffles or silent auction events, dancing in the streets, and more fun than is legal at anyplace North of the Mason-Dixon line and maybe just short of Mardi Gras.
Memphis BBQ Association – The Grand Champion is a uniquely designed trophy presented annually to the winning chef’s team to be retained and prominently placed in their establishment. With traditional steakhouse restaurants an anomaly in Lower Alabama, it comes with a built-in sense of pride and honor as well as significant bragging rights. Many chefs can claim good seafood, but being identified as one recognized by their peers as a chef who can really do justice to a fine piece of beef is a high compliment.
The “People’s Choice” award is an intentionally gaudy monstrosity of a perpetual trophy that stands almost five feet tall. Possession rotates each year to the temporary, but loving custody of the winner, only to be relinquished the following April to be ready for the next year’s winner.
The “People’s Choice” runner up award is a tip of the hat to the team that comes close. We have never had an actual tie but we have had some darn close calls. This award recognizes a valiant effort or maybe the second best arm twisters. It is all in fun and all for charity!
The Best Decorated Booth award is in recognition of the booth that brings together class, finesse, bravado and great decorations all together to make for the decorated, best looking and…. well you get the idea. It is presented to the team, that in the opinion of the judges, put the most into making their cook team booth the best looking. Judges are asked to strike a balance between creativity, glamour, capital outlay of both the booth and the attire. Recognizing that it isn’t always a level playing field when professionals, businesses, and individuals are all involved it is a tough call and we hope nobody takes it TOO seriously.
The Mayor’s Hospitality award is an attempt to recognize the team that best exudes the spirit of Southern Hospitality that has made Fairhope, the Mobile Bay area and the surrounding Gulf Coast the wonderful place to visit and live that it is. Maybe we could call it “Lagniappe” as a way of describing that something extra that you know is there and a positive representative of Fairhope and beyond.
“You be the Judge!” Each attendee holds in his or her hands the fate of the “People’s Choice” winner. It is simply a “majority rules” tally of the stubs attendees “vote” with by relinquishing the “vote” portion of their ticket stub to their favorite booth.
Our guest & celebrity judges. With the addition in 2011 of a second award exclusively for the professional teams based on taste and presentation rather than arm twisting we moved to bring a sense of fairness to the event’s professional teams. Initially judged by individual culinary professionals, the bar was raised again in 2013 with the advent of professional “blind taste” bar-b-que judges and a scoring system modified from that used by the Memphis BBQ Network for sanctioned championships.
Over the years, many dozens of charities have benefited from the money raised by you – our thousands of event attendees, hundreds of incredible cook teams, local municipal officials, and the many Rotary club members who all come together to make the incredible event possible. There have been many more over the years, but a partial listing of relatively recent years’ beneficiaries includes:
Fairhope Public Schools
Fairhope High School – Interact Club
Fairhope High School – Scoggins Scholarships
Fairhope Pirate Athletics
Fairhope – Point Clear Rotary Youth Club (formerly Boys & Girls Club)
Fairhope Veterans Memorial Committee
Rotaract Club of Fairhope
Rotary International’s Disaster Relief Fund
The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International,
(including “PolioPlus” campaign in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Leadership development program (RYLA)
Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars
In addition to these organized charities, Fairhope Rotary has quietly and anonymously stepped up to the plate on many occasions where city officials, clinicians, social workers, or guidance counselors gave us specific information about a onetime local need of a hurting family that was falling through the cracks. Much of what Rotary is all about never makes the news.
Critical to the event’s success have been the variety and the quality of the many cook teams. Teams have ranged from local celebrities, political candidates, and backyard chefs on up to professional teams from some of our area’s finest purveyors of food and beverages. After the early years of only the “People’s Choice” award (a somewhat wheedled selection process that involves every manner of persuasion by teams from begging to souvenir cups to barking), in 2011 we unveiled a long overdue second award to help recognize the best teams who choose to compete exclusively on taste and presentation. Judges that first year were prominent local food critic, editor, and writer David Holloway and nationally known local chef Pete Blohme, owner of Panini Pete’s.
In a surprise that stunned even the winner, “Big Daddy’s Grill” walked away as top steak in the professional category that year. Although owner Jason Newsom was pleased to have won against some tough competition, he was heard to say “Darn, what do I do now? I don’t even offer steaks on my menu!” Running a very close second that year was none other than the talented team from LuLu’s Homeport Marina headed by Executive Chef Dylan Feenker. The team from Lucy Buffett’s popular Gulf Shores eatery and has been one of the event’s most faithful supporters, and Chef Dylan consistently provides the crowd’s favorite pro team! Get to their booth early! In years past, this team has consistently run short of meat as faithful “Parrot head” followers flocked to their booth and they are consistently voted into a slot as one of the top three teams.
Through every manner of shenanigans and bribery to the crowds, the “People’s Choice Award” has frequently been won by the Sunset Rotary Club’s team coordinated by one of the event’s creators, Mike Lyons. Along with “Team Sunset,” Mike is considered something of an expert at combining a good steak with other ingredients like a well-decorated booth, a whole lot of bravado, and more than a dash of showmanship to include arm-twist votes out of attendees. They cook some mighty fine steaks but this is also the team to beat when it comes to showmanship and arm-twisting!
In 2012, Greer’s Deli and the Fire Fighters of the Fairhope Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department took top honors. Active Mobile Rotarian Robert Greer and adult daughter Lucy are part of the local landscape. The Fairhope VFD are known for saving lives, putting out fires and cooking up one heck of a “fire house” steak that the crowds love. “Show your support and drop your ticket stub ballot in the boot!”
For 2013 we were very excited to have taken our professional judging to the next level with the help of one of the founding directors of the “Memphis BBQ Network.” (www.mbnbbq.com ) Judge Randy McGee is an established expert and trainer in the Memphis judging system within the National BBQ Society. Together with his wife Cathy, Randy created a standardized “blind” judging and scoring system for our event that promises compete equity and every contestant the chance to be crowned the best steak through an intense competitive blind review process. Executed to perfection, they oversee a panel of judges who’s score sheets are fed into a computer that weighs factors like presentation, color, taste, preparation, etc. to create final scores that are “fair to all concerned” which is a core tenant of the Rotary 4-way test.
We thank our cook teams from backyard to pro for all their hard work and dedication to this charity event.
Consider having your firm or company join us as a sponsor. There are few places or other events on the Eastern Shore where your marketing dollar will be as credibly targeted while bringing you the opportunity to make a charitable donation at the same time. Where else can you so informally yet so intimately get positive marketing placement of your firm’s message to roughly 2,000 exclusively local Eastern Shore customers and support local charity at the same time?
Businesses that don’t want to make a larger sponsorship commitment frequently find that they can reward loyal employees, clients, friends, or even family with tickets knowing that they will enjoy a wonderful dinner and entertainment package at less than what a traditional dinner out might run and know they are all helping support local charity at the same time.
|PREMIER EVENT SPONSOR (SOLD)
BAND STAGE SPONSORSHIP (Only one available)
DIAMOND EVENT SPONSORS (One available, Maximum of two)
PLATINUM EVENT SPONSORS (Maximum of five)
GOLD EVENT SPONSORS (Maximum of 10)
SILVER EVENT SPONSORS (Maximum of 15)
GRILL EVENT SPONSORS (Maximum of 40)
Other sponsorship opportunities including our various levels as well as in-kind opportunities to help the community and showcase your business at the same time.
We are always looking for more ways to give back more to the community by partnering with local businesses. Use the “contact” page and see how you can help.
Gold Level Sponsors
Hancock Whitney Bank
Sportsman’s Marine – Hank Miner
Silver Level Sponsors
Grill Level Sponsors
USA Mitchell Cancer Institute
If you are interested in becoming a corporate sponsor of the Fairhope Rotary Steak Cook-off take a gander at the sponsorship levels and contact us for more details.