The sixth annual Texas Steak Cook-off, Beef Symposium and Tourist Trap is set for noon, Saturday, May 16, in historic downtown Hico. And with more Backyard Chefs competing than in any other year, tickets will be hot commodities.

In January, the Food Network aired an hour-long feature on the Annual Texas Steak Cook-off Beef Symposium and Tourist Trap as part of the networks “Challenge” program.

“We’ve gotten wonderful coverage and I’m excited about that,” said Chairman Mike Barnes about the show.

The cook-off will also be featured in the Everyday with Rachel Ray May issue.

A record of 80 backyard chefs have signed up to compete in the volunteer organized event.

“Close to 100 people in the Hico area help put this on every year,” Barnes said.

For a limited time only, discounted tickets are available at for $20. Ticket prices will be $25 after May 1.

Beginning April 1, tickets can be purchased in several Hico businesses.

Steak dinner ticket holders will get to choose which backyard chef will prepare their dinner, to be served from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Steak dinner tickets include a chance to win a John Deere Gator, valued at more than $8,000, or a Hasty-bake Charcoal Grill, valued at more than $1,000.

The music venue kicks-off at 12:30 p.m., featuring The Quebe Sisters, who are back by popular demand. Other popular bands are slated to perform as well.

Chefs compete in three categories: Celebrity chef, Backyard chef and Hors d’ Oeuvres.

The celebrity chef division is open by invitation only. Chefs bring their own steaks and are judged by professional food critics. They compete for the coveted first place Texas Steak Cook-off gold and silver belt buckle.

The steaks are 12-ounce choice grade Texas rib eyes. Celebrity chefs will showcase their specialties in preparing steaks and talking with the public. Only the top chef will receive an award.

The competition begins at 12:30 p.m. with judging at 1:30 p.m. and awards presented at 2:30 p.m.

Backyard chefs compete for a $2,500 cash prize, with prizes awarded through fifth place. Judging in the category begins at 4 p.m. with an awards presentation at 7 p.m.

The Hors d’oeuvres division is open to all chefs. Samples are served throughout the day and the winner takes home $300. The public is encouraged to sample and enjoy the hors d’oeuvres for free with the purchase of a steak dinner ticket. Or, wristbands may be purchased for only $10 per person.

A wine tasting event will also be held from 1-5 p.m. Everyone over 21 years of age is invited to taste a wide variety of Texas wines on the upper floor of Jersey Lilly’s restaurant.

The $20 ticket includes a commemorative wineglass and eight tastes of Texas wine of your choice.

For the first time this year, guests of the cook-off can choose to dine in the VIP section. Sponsored by Homestead, VIP guests will be treated to specially prepared steaks, upscale amenities, personal service and a unique dining experience.

Tickets for the VIP section are $100 each and limited to the first 48 guests.

Guests who purchase VIP tickets before April 20 receive a complimentary pass to the wine tasting event and a VIP parking pass.

For more information, see the Web site or call Cook-off hotline at (254) 485-2020.