annual Grilling FUNDRAISER for Texas CHILDRENs hospital

Grill Your Ace Off

Grill Your Ace Off Team Application

Contestant Application for our 2019 “Grill Your Ace Off”

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Saturday, October 19, 2019


Come by Cypress Ace Hardware & Feed on Saturday, October 19, 2019 for a grilling cook-off fundraiser to support Children's Miracle Network! All proceeds will be donated to Children's Miracle Network in their entirety. Even if you aren't competing in the cook-off, you can still come by and help be the judge!

From 10am-1pm, come be the judge! With your $10 donation, you can load up a plate of BBQ from 20 different teams!


2019 Judging Guidelines

Judging will be based on a scale of 1 - 5, with 5 being the highest. Grilled submissions will be judged on 5 categories (click a category to view details):

Presentation - What is the overall look of the dish being presented?

  • Are garnishes used, has the sauce been wiped from the edges of the plate?

  • Is this something you would order if presented to you at a restaurant?

  • Does it look appetizing?

  • Does everything seem to be contained within the serving plate (no lettuce hanging over the edges, no sauce pools underneath the entire plate, etc.)?

Complexity - Would the dish be challenging to prepare?

  • Does it require a well-planned preperation to perform tasks, such as marination?

  • Are a number of ingredients used?

  • Does anything accompany the dish (for example, lettuce, pickles, etc. for a hamburger)?

  • How much of the dish is store bought (spice mixes, sauce) vs. prepared (single spices, raw ingredients)?

Taste - Is this something you personally would order again?

  • Is the meat tough or tender?

  • Can each ingredient be identified by taste according to the amount of each used in the dish? For example, if cumin is used and it is considered a main ingredient in the dish, it should set a large portion of the flavor in the dish, however, if a recipe calls for something like "salt to taste," the dish doesn't necessarily need to be salty.

  • If the meat is presented well done, does it taste well done?

  • Does the dish taste too salty or sweet, or conversely, too bland or "flat?"

Recipe Creativity - Is this a family recipe?

  • Are any uncommon, "new and different" ingredients used in what would be an otherwise "standard" recipie?

  • Can everything on the plate, not just the entrée, be made on the grill? Cooking a pizza on a grill or baking cookies is quite impressive!

People's Choice -

  • This is for those that can serve a sample and get a "WOW" or "Mmmm!" from the other contestants, customers and staff. We will have voting slips for all to cast their vote for their favorite dish.

Want to Compete? Here are the Rules:


For those who are up for the challenge, you can apply to enter the grilling contest. Entries to the competition will be accepted on a first come, first served basis until all available slots are filled.

Space is limited to 20 teams.

We will provide each team with their choice of either one (1) Big Green Egg® grill (XL size) or a Traeger® Ironwood 650 grill with which to cook during the duration of the competition, however, each team is responsible for bringing their own meat to cook and any other items to go with it, like side items, spices, etc. Meat must be cooked on-site during competition hours to qualify.

A 9.5" square plate will be provided for you to turn in your dish to the panel of judges. You do not need to make four meal size servings to turn in, just make sure there is enough for each judge to taste your dish.

People's Choice runs from 10am-1pm. This is the time where the crowd will be invited in to taste your food and vote for their favorites. The food for people's choice does not have to be the same as what you turn in to the judges. You can expect anywhere from 100-300 people, though often times we see more.

A team is defined as a group of up to four (4) people. A minimum of a $150 non-refundable reservation fee per team is required for entry. This fee will be donated in its entirety to Children's Miracle Network, where it will directly benefit Children's Miracle Network.

Entry deadline is Friday, October 11, 2019, or when all spaces are filled, whichever comes first. Applications are processed in the order recieved.

For questions please email or call 281-469-8020.

Schedule of Events

  • 7:30am - Check in

  • 7:45am - Meat Check

  • 8:00am - Pits Lit (if not lit already)

  • 8:30am - Team Meeting

  • 10:00am - 1:00pm - People's Choice Tasting

  • 1:00pm - 3:00pm - Judging

  • 3:00pm - Awards

2019 GYAO Judges

To Be Announced.

Here are the judges from 2016.

A HUGE thank you to these local Celebs who donate their entire day at Cypress Ace for The Children's Miracle Network. You all hold a special place in our hearts.

  • Michelle Merhar

    FOX 26 Traffic Authority

    Native Houstonian, FOX 26 Traffic Authority for the Greater Houston Area

    Joined FOX in July of 2010. Enjoys working in her community for charitable events

    Veteran celebrity goat milker at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo

    STANDING VETERAN Grill Your Ace Off Judge!


Lincoln Goodwin

Harris County Judge

Fired up and ready to drop the gavel and pick up a fork to judge Grill Your Ace Off 2016

A Texas native since 1982, Judge Goodwin is a husband and father of two enjoys time with his family, serving at his church as a deacon, barbecuing, and running marathons.

This hight powered attorney and judge is ready to file litigation to contestants whose dishes lack flavor and presentation! You've got one shot to impress this Judge. No plates go to trial!


Greg Garofalo

Sales Representative for Paragon Distributing Company

Greg Garofalo has been a food enthusiast for as long as he can remember. He started cooking and experimenting with food at a young age and then started working in the restaurant industry as a cook and server.

In 1997 he began his career selling BBQ equipment including the Big Green Egg. He was very impressed with the versatility of the Big Green Egg and began cooking on it as often as he could.

In 2005 he started working with Paragon Distributing, the Big Green Egg distributor of the Southwest. Greg recently transferred from Dallas to Houston and you may run into him cooking on the Big Green Egg for different events around the city.

John Petreyko

Traeger Territory Manager for the Great State of Texas

Originally from the Northeast, John has lived in the Houston area for 3 years now. He has worked for Traeger Wood Fired Grills for 5 years, and before that spent over a decade in the gourmet food industry.


Dr. Eyal Muscal

Pediatric Rheumatologist at Texas Children's Hospital

Help us extend a big welcome to Dr. Eyal Muscal! Dr. Muscal is a pediatric rheumatologist with a Master's of Science Degree in Clinical Research specializing in children with autoimune disorders. He's a huge fan of our #WorkHardGiveBig motto and directly sees the benefit the Children's Miracle Network has on Texas Children.

He's pretty excited to put down the stethoscope and pick up a fork to give the contestants' plates formal diagnoses.

2016 GYAO Results

It's been another spectacular year for Grill Your Ace Off! We'd like to thank our teams, judges, volunteers, customers, and staff. This event would not be possible without everyone.

Here are the top teams from the 2016 Grill Your Ace Off competition.

People's Choice

  • 1st - D'Z Nutz Cookerz

  • 2nd - My Pad or Yours

  • 3rd - Beef Pokers, and
    Up-N-Smoke Cookers


  • 1st - Up-N-Smoke Cookers


"The Carpet Bagger" - Deconstructed carpetbagger wagyu filet served on the half shell with millionare bacon and gorgonzola cream sauce

  • 2nd - Food Man Chew


"Steak Crab-ble & Roll" - Layered Surf & Turff Home Cooked Meal

  • 3rd - Crunch Grillers


Porcini crusted lamb chop with creamy cheddar grits and a sweet corn succotash garnished with two chili glazed shrimp