SAUSAGES were sizzling yesterday as judges converged to discover the tastiest meaty morsels in the New England.
Tamworth’s Mick Newton from Mick’s Meat House claimed the best Australian sausage and best pork sausage in the region.
“It’s good to be judged the best beef tasty sausages in the North West,” Mr Newton said.
He said making sausages was the most time-consuming job for a butcher and his award-winning product was no different from what you would find in his shop.
“We don’t do anything fancy; what we entered is what we sell.”
Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) member services officer Richard Taylor said locals still valued their independent butchers and opted for quality meats.
“People are still coming to us – if they weren’t, we wouldn’t be here,” he said.
He said the New England selection was tame compared to some bizarre entries across the state in previous years, including a crocodile, lime and chili sausage – with plenty of bite – and a “green” bourbon and Coke concoction.
Judges made their decisions based on the uncooked appearance and colour of the sausages, whether the skin split when it was cooked, and the texture and flavour of the meat.
“It’s not just the old bangers and mash anymore – these are gourmet sausages,” judge and hospitality TAFE teacher Ron Lightfoot said.
Penrose Prime Meats was awarded third place for its German bratwurst, losing out to Tenterfield’s Premier Meats.
Gunnedah’s Namoi River Meats won a string of first prizes for its minted lamb and bush honey, gourmet beef, and chicken and poached pear sausages – the last a judges’ favourite.
If you prefer a hearty burger to a sausage sizzle, Tenterfield’s Wizard’s Butchery has the best patty in the region: lamb with a hint of mint and rosemary.
The contest is set to heat up as the winners progress to the 2014 AMIC State Sausage King and Best Butcher’s Burger Competition in Wollongong on October 25.