Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Benalla butchers snag a bagful of medals

Four Benalla butchers have won awards for their top-quality produce.

MONIQUE FREER June 18, 2014 3:39am

Donohue Quality Meats manager Sean Hourigan is delighted at winning a gold medal for its home made bacon.

The strength of Benalla’s meat industry was on show recently with four butchers receiving awards for their produce.

Donohue Quality Meats, Rettke’s Carrier St Meats, Beaton’s Silk Cut Meats and Hook and Spoon all won medals in the north-east region of Australian Meat Industry Council’s competitions.

In the smallgoods competition Donohue Quality Meats received a gold medal for its homemade bacon, a silver medal for its Sweet Chilly Philly Cheese cabana and traditional Australian pork sausage, and bronze medals for its traditional ham on the bone, traditional Strasbourg and Polish cabana.

Donohue Quality Meats manager Sean Hourigan said the haul was the best result for the Arundel St butcher in many years.

‘‘I was over the moon, it was really good,’’ Mr Hourigan said.

‘‘We did exceptionally well with the amount of prizes that we did get, but it’s good to see that the other shops still got something because it’s quite a competitive area.’’

Donohue Quality Meats is one of the oldest butchers in Victoria, having operated as a butcher at the same site since 1872.

Rettke’s Carrier St Meats and Beaton’s Silk Cut Meats jointly took out the gold medal in the Sausage King Competition for traditional pork sausages, while Hook and Spoon won gold in the gourmet sausage category for its pork and fennel sausage.

For Rettke’s Carrier St Meats owner Paul Rettke, it was the third gold medal for his pork sausages.

‘‘It’s locally bought meat, and the sausage is only as good as what you put in it,’’ he said.

‘‘It underwrites the quality of the meat district in Benalla — we really are specialising in our field.

‘‘It just goes to show that you don’t have to be the biggest to be good at your craft.’’

Beaton’s Silk Cut Meats and Hook and Spoon snagged gold medals in their first year of entry in the Sausage King Competition.

Although she said she was more of a princess than a king, Hook and Spoon owner Sandy Leatham said it was rewarding to receive recognition for her gourmet pork sausage.

‘‘They’re very popular sausages so I guess we know they’re good, but it was nice to receive a medal,’’ she said.

The gold medal for traditional pork sausage was particularly rewarding for Beaton’s Silk Cut Meats co-owners Greg and Lisa Beaton, who are only in their second year of operation.

‘‘It’s pretty good because in the north-east there’s so many butcher shops, to actually come out with gold is fantastic,’’ she said.

‘‘I think it’s marvellous to have won it, and good on Rettke’s as well.’’

The butchers all said the awards also reflected the quality of produce from local suppliers, particularly Colin Sinclair at Benalla Abattoirs.

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