Walmart Choice Steak Challenge, Tampa Winning Recipe

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There are certain combinations that trigger certain behaviors in humans and animals alike. Take me for instance. I have such an obsession with tailgating that I tend to just get lost in parking lots that contain pop-up tents and the smell of food cooking. I have to exit the entrance door at certain hardware stores on Saturday mornings, for fear that I won’t be able to pull myself away from that hotdog vendor camped out at the exit. So when Kingsford charcoal contacted us and invited us to the Walmart Choice Steak Tampa competition, I knew I was in trouble. A parking lot with two of Tampa’s top grill masters cooking steaks over charcoal? Heck yeah we’ll be there!

The Walmart Choice Steak Challenge is sponsored by Kingsford Charcoal and Coca-Cola and is taking place in Walmart parking lots from Tampa to Atlanta. Top chefs from each area compete by grilling Walmart Choice rib eye and T-bone steaks over Kinsgford charcoal. Here’s the best part, customers get to sample and vote on the winner. Tom and I showed up to the Tampa event to find a nice crowd already gathered for the competition. Seems I’m not the only one that follows the smell of charcoal smoke to random parking lots. The Tampa Challenge featured Chef Eric Lackey from Flamestone American Grill versus Chef Chad Johnson from Sideberns. Each chef brought their own secret ingredients and was given a Kingsford charcoal grill, Walmart Choice rib eye steaks and as much charcoal as they could burn.

Once the grills were hot, each chef got to grilling and the steaks were soon being served up to us, the judges. Each chef had a toothpick color matching their tent’s color and customers cast their vote using their favorite steak’s toothpick. Naturally, I had to taste several rounds to pick my winner, which is a silly thing to say when steak is involved (there is a loser?). At the end of the competition, Chef Lackey was declared the winner and he was gracious enough to share his secret rub recipe and instructions below:


  • 4 Walmart Choice Premium T- bone Steaks
  • Dry Rub:
  • 4 ounces roasted garlic paste (roast garlic in oven until golden brown and soft to mash)
  • 4 tablespoons Everglades seasoning (Walmart)
  • 1 teaspoon coffee, ground
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon dry thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Combine all dry rub ingredients. Set aside.
  2. Rub steak with 1 ounce garlic paste on front and back. To prevent burning, do not get garlic paste on bone.
  3. Divide dry rub seasoning for four steaks and thoroughly rub each steak and place in GLAD® food storage container in refrigerator for 3-4 hours, or longer if you prefer (up to 24 hours).
  4. Preheat the grill using Kingsford® charcoal, until briquets are consistently ashed over.
  5. Remove steaks from refrigerator.
  6. Put steaks on the grill and leave in one position on direct heat for 4 -5 minutes, rotating to get nice grill marks and even flavor profile. If you follow this timeline, that size steak should be a perfect medium rare.

Take a look at the rest of the schedule for the competitions. If you are in the area, highly recommend stopping by! Upcoming Walmart Choice Steak Challenges, sponsored by Kingsford Charcoal and Coca-Cola

Recipe created by Chef Eric Lackey, of Flamestone American Grill in Tampa on behalf of the Walmart Choice Steak Challenge presented by Kingsford® charcoal and Coca-Cola©.


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