From Tulsa World. By DAVID HARPER
Tulsa attorneys Daniel and Donald Smolen are involved in an ongoing trial in Tulsa federal court, but on Saturday they were holding court in a different way just a few blocks from the courthouse.
The Smolens were among the participants in the fifth annual Oklahoma Championship Steak Cook-Off, which founding Chairman Tripp Haggard said included a record 55 teams from seven states.
Haggard said the event, which was held on the downtown streets near Trinity Episcopal Church, featured the preparation of about 2 tons of steak, much of which was devoured at what organizers describe as “the state’s largest steak dinner” on Saturday evening.
On Friday, the Smolens started a trial in which they are plaintiffs’ counsel in a civil rights case. Testimony will begin on Monday. On Saturday, however, they took time out from the courtroom to take part in a competition in which they received favorable verdicts in 2009 and 2011, when they were crowned champions.
Daniel Smolen said Saturday that experience has taught the brothers and the rest of the team from their firm of Smolen, Smolen & Roytman that “if you’ve got a good steak, you’ll usually win.”
While some cooks guard their secrets jealously, Daniel Smolen said that this year they were using an oak and hickory combination (“with oak you get less of a smoke flavor”) and were staying classy with a “Ron Burgundy” rub, so named because of its burgundy pepper edge.
While the Smolens and their towering red double-decker “Cheyenne Bus Co.” rental bus have become downtown Tulsa regulars, other competitors made a road trip to participate in the Oklahoma Championship Steak Cook-Off.
In fact, Tim Canterbury’s team out of Sanger, Texas, was called “Road Trip, Inc.” Canterbury said the name stems from the fact that members of his crew have been known to enjoy occasional “wild road trips,” some of which have involved eating at some classic steakhouses.
Canterbury said that about six years ago the group decided to take things to another level by actually participating in steak cookouts.
They made the transition from eaters to cookers smoothly. Road Trip Inc. won the 2012 edition of the Oklahoma Championship Steak Cook-Off.
Other participants were in it just for fun. Jason Seneker said his team finished next-to-last in the 2012 version of the Tulsa event. However, he said that the group, which met because their elementary-school-age sons are in scouting together, enjoy the fun and camaraderie.
Seneker said the group had a good time preparing steaks and Icelandic Bacon-Wrapped Sea Scallop appetizers. He noted that proceeds of the Tulsa event continue to go toward worthy causes.
According to its website, the Oklahoma Championship Steak Cook-Off has raised more than $100,000 to help a variety of organizations including Iron Gate, New Hope, Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding Together Tulsa.
This year’s installment was for the benefit of Our Garden Project, which establishes community gardens in partnership with churches, schools and others to make produce readily available.
Saturday was more about the meat than the salad, though.
Lonny Nolan, 66, and Patrick Nolan, 32, were part of a father-son team that came up from Texas and had a clear division of labor.
“He does the cooking,” Lonny Nolan said of his son. “My job is to keep the beer cold and the fire hot.”