Alma native secures golden ticket to compete in steak cook-off world championship.

Ty Thompson
Press Argus-Courier

Alma native Jason Rackley and his family have earned a spot to compete in the Steak Cook-off Association's world championship in Dallas later this year.

The family team, Rockin' Rackley's, competed and won first place in Laurel, Mississippi, at a Steak Cook-off Association competition to secure the spot.

Though Rackley has loved cooking since he was 7-years old, it wasn't until the family's first-ever competition in the spring of 2019 at the Edamame Festival in Mulberry that he decided that they should compete more. 

Their barbecue took second place at that initial competition. 

From that point on, Rackley and his family competed at different local festivals. They took second place overall for chicken and ribs at the Beats, Blues, and BBQ Festival in Wagoner, Oklahoma; first place in chicken at the Northeast Oklahoma Veterans Cook-off in Pryor, Oklahoma. So far, the team has competed in 12 events.

Rackley joked that some competitors might compete so they can get away from their wives and families. That's not the case for the Rackleys.

"We're a family team," he said. "We bring everybody. I have three daughters, my mom comes, and of course my wife."

In July 2020, Rackley's team entered the Kansas City Barbecue Society competition.  

"With KCBS you're cooking a full brisket, three or four racks of ribs, and about 20 pieces of chicken thighs," Rackley said. noting that competitions can be almost 30 hours of cook time and set up. 

In Kansas City, the team placed sixth in chicken and would be their last barbecue competition. Citing the demand of barbecue competitions, often taking upwards of two days, Rackley decided to move away from barbecue and into steak.

"Steaks only take about 15 or 20 minutes to cook and about an hour and a half to marinate," he said. "You're in and then you're out."

On New Year's Eve 2020, the family entered the Steak Cook-Off Association competition in Mississippi, the last cook-off of the year to qualify for the world championships.

That first competition netted Rackley first place for steak and a ticket to the Dallas world championships along with 300 fellow cooks from across the globe.

The steaks at these competitions are always ribeye, and Rackley prefers to cook them over charcoal with just a small piece of hickory added in. He marinates the meat for 20 minutes in a combination of Wicked Pig and Pancho and Lefty marinades as well as a variety of rubs from a company called Arkassippi.

"I'm very excited and I feel very blessed," he said of that first win in Mississippi. "I couldn't do it without my family."

Rackley had worked in restaurants but due to health issues, he mostly focuses on catering and competition with his company Rockin' Rackley's. 

While cooking competitions are relatively new, competing has always been a part of Rackley's life. Before his health issues, he would race mountain bikes and says that cooking has fueled his competitive spirit. 

He hopes to one day start his own line of steak rubs and continue competing every chance he gets.