FOUR local firms have been raising the steaks in the beef sector by competing in the 2013 European Angus Steak Tasting Competition.
Portadown-based John C. Hoy Butchers, M & W Farm Meats, the Meat Cleaver and Richhill-based Greenmount Farm Shop were amongst the businesses from across the Province entered in the annual competition which aims to find the best Fillet steak, best Sirloin steak and best Rib-eye steak in Northern Ireland.
Open to farmers, butchers, retailers and processors the competition is into its third year and now also includes categories for best beef sausage, best gourmet sausage and best beefburger.
Staged at CAFRE Loughry campus the results of the heats are in and the six finalists in the two categories, under 15 employees and over 15 employees, will now battle it out this Monday when John Thompson, past president of the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU), does the tasting honours in the final.
“John has been brought in to find the supreme champion steak in this year’s competition, and like the heats, it will be carried out as a blind tasting,” explained European Angus Cattle Society secretary, Harry McGaffin. “Representatives of the various competitors were involved in the blind tastings of the heats and again this year the standard of the entries was extremely high.”
The competition has become recognised as a major event in the agri-food calendar and this year there was a particularly good response from local butchers.
“A win in a competition like ours is an opportunity to underline the quality of the product,” continued Harry. “It offers considerable competitive advantage if you can come away with an EACS award.
“The fact that the competition is open to all breeds of cattle makes it even more attractive.”
Continuing with the local flavour and chef in charge of this year’s steak tasting is Gary Scott of Salt Restaurant in Portadown.