FOR the third year running, Ashley Thomson can claim to be the sausage king of the Northern Rivers.
As the owner of Alstonville Quality Meats, Mr Thomson and his team have just won three categories in the Australian Meat Industry Council's Sausage King regional final.
They won the Traditional Australian Beef category; the Open Gourmet Sausage and the Butcher's Burger category. They also took out three second places and a third.
"I love making sausages. A lot of guys don't like it, but I really enjoy it," Mr Thomson said.
The regional competition covers Tweed Heads to Grafton and Mr Thomson said he was now looking forward to taking his sausages to Sydney for the state final, likely to be held in November.
"It's good for the business and good for the customers to know they are getting a really good product, and good for butchers all round," he said of the annual competition.
"It's fun to be involved and it keeps you on your toes."
The winning gourmet sausage was beef with roasted onions and Dijon mustard, and the burger was chicken with provolone cheese and porcini mushroom.
The same chicken mix also took out second place in the poultry sausage category. Mr Thomson said his secret was "quality ingredients - it's as simple as that".
He started is apprenticeship in Brisbane 28 years ago at a butcher specialising in German smallgoods. He then worked in Mackay before buying the Alstonville business two years ago.
Other winners from the region
- Lennox Head Butchery - 1st for Traditional Australian Pork
- Metcalf Quality Meats (Evans Head) - 1st for Australian lamb and 3rd for Poultry
- Ocean Shores Quality Meats - 1st for Poultry, 1st for Continental, 2nd for Gourmet and 3rd for Gourmet.
- Trevor Mead's Quality Meats (Byron Bay) - 2nd Traditional Australian Pork
- Daley's Gourmet Meats (Ballina) - 3rd Australian Lamb