Super chicken burger makes Alstonville's Ashley Sausage King
ALSTONVILLE butcher Ashley Thomson has won first prize in the state-wide Sausage King competition for his tasty chicken burger patties.
The team of gastronomic butchers has won several regional awards and earned a third place at the state awards before now, but this is the first blue ribbon winner.
Their chicken provolone and porcini mushroom recipe won in the Best Butchers Burger category, beating 18 other regional finalists from across New South Wales.
The best entrants were determined by judges and the public, Mr Thomson said.
The recipe was concocted by Mr Thomson and his wife and is a result of creativity, trial and error.
"We tried a few other things; it is the only way. You have to try them out," he said.
A similar recipe is also available in a sausage, he says.
It is clear Mr Thomson's enthusiasm for the job is crucial to delivering a quality product.
He has been in the business for 26 years and shows no sign of fatigue.
He likes entering the awards for the fun of it and for the competition.
It was great that a country butcher was able to take out the top award ahead of the "city butchers", he said.
"We are very proud of that," he said.
At this year's state awards the Alstonville Quality Meats team also won third place in the gourmet division for its roast beef with roasted onion and garlic sausage.
"It is a passion for me, I love making sausages. It is one of my favourite jobs," he said.
The popularity of cooking TV shows meant customers were more willing to try new food stuffs, he said.
They also helped to give him ideas for creating new sausages.
The Sausage King competition is run by the Australian Meat Industry Council and involved roughly 800 competitors from across the state.
Next stop for Mr Thomson is the Australia-wide finals that will take place in Adelaide in February next year.