A new king of the grill was crowned at the Iowa State Fair on Tuesday. Robert Roberts of State Center claimed the literal king’s crown at the 40th annual cookoff on the Grand Concourse, beating out 56 competitors from across the state. Roberts’ dish was an eye of round roast, which he says is usually considered a rather tough cut — but not the way he makes it. He seasons it with a little Lowry’s Seasoning Salt, a little Cookies barbeque sauce and some tenderizer. Roberts says he grilled his prize-winning grocery store-bought beef with a little hickory wood and charcoal, adding a combination of zesty Italian dressing and Budweiser beer every other hour. The 56-year-old Roberts is -not- a professional chef, though he beat out many pros. Roberts is a computer technician by trade and this was only his second time in the State Fair competition. He reveals his secret to winning: “Pure unadulterated luck.” Roberts gets a trove of prizes and $200. Chefs cooked up tasty treats for fairgoers in seven categories: beef, pork, poultry, turkey, elk, lamb or any combination of the six.
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