Rochester Meat Supply has been rewarded for its quality products, winning the continental sausage category at the recent Sausage King Competition for the North West region.By Elaine Cooney
Three district butchers won places in the recent 2013 Sausage King Competition for the North West region.
Rochester Meat Supply won first prize for its continental sausage, up from third place last year, and its bacon also won.
Owner Neil Bates said he added some spices to bump his continental sausages up to first place.
‘‘I was rapt (with the win),’’ he said.
‘‘It’s a hard competition to win, over 100 butchers, but I had a feeling I’d win,’’ he said.
‘‘I have the recipe in my brain.
‘‘When I came in third (last year) I thought ‘I’ve got to make changes to win’.
‘‘I knew what it needed and added spices to enlighten the taste.’’
Mr Bates said he used old-fashioned butcher’s techniques and that was why his bacon also came in first place.
‘‘I do it the old fashioned cured and cooked way; the way it used to be made,’’ he said.
He said a lot of bacon nowadays was mass produced and chemicals were used to give it a certain taste.
Mr Bates said he injected it with salt water and a brine compound, and soaked it in salt water.
He then hung it up to dry for 12 hours and smoked and cooked it for 14 to 16 hours in a smokehouse.
Mr Bates prides himself on sourcing locally produced meat.
He gets live cattle from the Bendigo market which is then slaughtered, sources lamb from Echuca and his pork comes from a pig farm in Axedale.
Cottam’s Family Butchers came second in the traditional pork competition and third in the gourmet open class.
Owner Tim Cottam said his pork sausages won in 2009 and 2011, as well as finishing second in 2010 and 2012.
He entered his pork with cracked pepper and cheese sausages in the competition for the first time this year and said the high melt cheese gave them a good flavour.
He said the mix and the quality of the meat were what created a good sausage.
Mr Cottam said the competition gave district butchers great exposure as they were now competing with much larger retailers.
‘‘It shows there is better quality in butchers’ shops than supermarkets,’’ he said.
Locky Meats won the best chicken sausage for its pumpkin, spinach, fetta and garlic sausage.
Owner Bo McCormack-Hall said he was ‘‘rapt’’ with the win.
He said after finishing third last year he took the judges’ advice and mixed the sausages more thoroughly.
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