Best butchers carve niche

GOURMET DELIGHTS: The humble sausage went under the microscope at the regional rounds of the annual AMIC Sausage and Burger King competitions at Hamilton TAFE on July 27.

GOURMET DELIGHTS: The humble sausage went under the microscope at the regional rounds of the annual AMIC Sausage and Burger King competitions at Hamilton TAFE on July 27.

Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) NSW independent butchers from the Central Coast and Newcastle regions presented their sausage and burger creations  at  Hamilton TAFE on July 27.

It was part of statewide regional judgings for the hotly contested AMIC NSW/ACT Sausage King and Best Butchers Burger competitions.

Six categories of sausages were judged; Traditional Australian Beef; Traditional Australian Pork; Poultry; Australian Lamb/Open Class; Continental and Gourmet/Open Class and two categories of burgers; Best Beef Burger and Best Gourmet Burger.

Experienced judges made up of consumers and trade experts  scrutinized the uncooked and cooked appearance of the sausages and burgers and taste tested them for flavour and texture.

Eighteen regions of NSW  compete in AMIC’s annual contest.

Standouts at Hamilton included Robert’s Meats of Singleton, and Kariong Quality Meats, who  managed wins in four separate categories.

“You put up your best efforts every year, but it’s up to the judges on the day,” Robert Constable, owner of Roberts Meats at Singleton said.

“This is 14 years straight we’ve picked up a first prize place at regional and in fact, to get four wins from four entries is probably our best year ever.”

For Robert the key to a great sausage is fresh ingredients and simple recipes.

“Some blokes overthink it and try and make it too fancy and maybe stumble on flavour,” he said.

That philosophy is reflected in the categories Robert entered and won – Traditional Australian Pork, Poultry, Australian Lamb/Open and Best Butchers Gourmet/Open Burger.

“A lot of guys put extra pressure on themselves by entering multiple categories with multiple products,” Robert said.  “It can get  complicated.

“The big test is you have to think, Is it something that would have the consumer coming back fro more?”

Robert is in a position to know having taken second place nationally with his lamb sausage last year, and third the year before with his pork.

“First at national level is the ultimate goal and I reckon such an honour would have customers flocking to the door,” he said.

Winners in each  category at regional proceed to the state final to determine the finest sausage and burger makers in the state.

The state final is being held on Saturday,  September 23 at the Tamworth Growers Market.

The state winners will then proceed to the National Sausage King Finals to be held in Melbourne in February 2018.

There they will compete against other state winners for Australia’s ultimate title of Sausage King and Burger King.

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