Butcher snags major award
IT might be one of our staples on the barbecue, but there is a particular art to making a snag - just ask Alstonville butcher Ashley Thomson.
"I love making sausages," he said.
"I reckon it's the best job in the shop, even though most of the boys hate doing it.
"But I think it's where you can get a bit creative with your flavours."
And that's why his team from Alstonville Quality Meats has just taken out first place in three categories at the regional finals of the Sausage King competition.
There were 177 entries in the event.
Mr Thomson and his team won first place for their traditional Australian sausage; first place with their Spanish chorizo and first place in the new category, best burger, for their home-style variety.
They also got third place in that section with a lamb, mint and rosemary patty.
"That's one of our paleo varieties, which is becoming very popular, and it has no preservatives or additives," Mr Thomson said.
The butchery's Thai chicken sausage also picked up a second place, while their Italian chorizo scored third in its category.
It comes on top of their success in last year's event, where they picked up a number of accolades.
"The Sausage King is an awesome competition that allows us to show off what we do best," Mr Thomson said.
"We'll be heading to the state finals in Sydney in November, so we're really looking forward to that.
"I am so proud of my team.
"There are so many benefits of entering our products into the competition.
"It not only enhances the pride and skills of our team, but it also keeps our wonderful customers excited to see and taste all the new products we have."
But most of the new sausage flavours are tested on the staff first.
Mr Thomson said he made breakfast for the boys most mornings, trying out snags that were created the day before.
"My favourite is the sweet chilli and red pepper sausage," he said.
"People will go a long way for a good sausage - we get orders from Sydney and also from Brisbane where we used to have two shops before we came down here.
"I love being a butcher.
"It's not just about cutting up meat and putting it out in the cabinet. You can be cre- ative and come up with your own recipes."