Run by the Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC), the National Sausage King competition is held annually and is generally open to AMIC members. It brings butchers from different regions together allowing them to show off their creations. Starting at a regional level, winners in each category then move onto the state finals and then the national final. Officials judge the products based on visual appearance along with aroma, texture and flavour.
There are six general categories for butchers to enter with each containing it’s own rules and allowances including: Traditional Australian, Pork, Poultry, Australian Lamb/ Open Class, Continental, and Gourmet/ Open Class.
The Hunter Region has always been highly successful in the competition, with many winners throughout the years. Access to fresh, local produce along with highly skilled butchers are the main ingredient to the ongoing success, however each individual butcher has their own secrets up their sleeves.
Rod Seller from Sellers Quality Meats, has been a part of the industry for over 40 years. As a fourth generation butcher, he knows the hard work and effort that goes into an award winning business. Having entered his first competition in 1994, many hours have been spent perfecting existing recipes and creating new ones in the search for the perfect sausage.
In this year’s regional competition, Rod was successful in being awarded first place in the ‘Traditional Australian Pork’, and ‘Continental’ categories, while also claiming a couple of second place finishes, and was proud of his achievements so far. “It’s great recognition for our shop and the quality that we provide,” he said.
While Rod normally is quite strong in the beef and pork categories, he was hopeful for some of his newer creating. “I was especially please with our German bratwurst in the ‘Continental’ section. We used all natural ingredients and it came out with a sensational flavour”.
Bede from Jarrett’s Meats also swears by natural ingredients, having taken out first place in three categories, along with a further three second placings. He said while you can adjust flavours and fine tune recipes, consistency is key. “We have always been consistent in what we do, and it shows having won the Traditional Beef Sausage section four out of the past five years,” he said.
While Bede uses an old butchers recipe for his traditional snags, he gets inspiration for his other creations from all walks of life. “I love experimenting. Our jalapeno and cheese sausage was actually created for a client looking for something to suit his restaurant,” he said.
Both Bede and Rod now move on to compete at the state finals, in the next step of their quest to be named national sausage kings.