Queensland's best independent butchers revealed

Mark Phelps
By Mark Phelps
December 21 2021 - 2:00am
Queensland's Best: Amy Humphries shows why the Sunshine State leads the way when it comes to flavour and taste in sausages, burgers and smallgoods.

STEAK maybe where it's at, but when it comes producing the best sausages, burgers and smallgoods Queensland's outstanding independent butchers are also leading the nation.

Nationally, domestic red meat sales are worth about $13.4 billion, while the smallgoods market is valued at $4b.

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Here are not 10, but 14 of Queensland's finest, who were recognised by the Australian Meat Industry Council as being the best in the business.

Barbecue special

WHITSUNDAYS based MBW on the Barbie became the talk of the barbecue scene when it took out the always strongly contested award for producing Queensland's best traditional Australian beef sausage.

TRADITIONAL BEEF: Karen Rix and Don Cameron with gun sausage maker Ryan Barke, MBW.

Operated by husband and wife team Don Cameron and Karen Rix, MBW (short for Master Butchers Whitsunday) operates four outlets including a wholesale outlet and retail shop in Marian, easy of Mackay.

While the beef sausage has always an extremely popular sausage, Karen said sales ranked alongside MBW's traditional pork sausage. The more exotic chicken, cheese, cauliflower and cracked pepper and pork, smoky bacon and gouda sausages are also crowd favourites.

Pork on your fork

ROD, Julie and Natalie Leaver's Edge Hill Butchery in Cairns made in three state titles in a row, this time winning gold with their traditional Australian pork sausage made from free range pork sourced from Borrowdale Free Range Pork in Toowoomba.

AUSTRALIAN PORK: Rod Leavers, Edge Hill Butchery, Cairns.

"Part of the secret is taking pride in every sausage we make," Rod said. "It's also about getting right meat-to-fat ratio and using this wonderful free range pork from Borrowdale."

The Leavers took on the almost 100 year old Edge Hill business five years ago offering nine sausage varieties on any given day.

Last year Edge Hill had the winning gourmet burger and the year before that, the gourmet sausage.

Melt in your mouth

BRISBANE sensation Meat at Billy's showed how it's done with poultry with a spectacular butter chicken sausage.

POULTRY SAUSAGE: Meat at Billy's Rosalie store manager Ben Webb with the award winning butter chicken sausages.

Offered through Billy's award winning Ashgrove and Rosalie stores, the gourmet sausage is the most popular of the 20 poultry varieties.

Rosalie store manager Ben Webb said other top sellers include the very versatile Italian pork and fennel sausage, which is also commonly added to both pizza and pasta dishes.

Ben said he was all set to defend the poultry sausage title and had a pork truffle combination ready for the 2022 awards.

National pride

ON the Sunshine Coast at Coolum Beach Budd's Butchers shows how it is done to perfection with its lamb, maple, mint and rosemary masterpiece.

AUSTRALIAN LAMB: Ben Budd, Budd's Butchers, Coolum Beach.

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Ben Budd said the year-round popular sausage was developed in-store four years ago, especially to celebrate Australia Day.

"Our customers love them, so we were pretty confident the judges would as well," Ben said.

Based on Tasmanian lamb, the popular sausage is one of Budd's Butchers 12 sausages on sale every day.

On the Downs

CLINT and Christine Nelson have built a well deserved reputation for their tasty sausages produced through their paddock to palate driven business.

Continental sausage: Mitch Tucker and Clint Nelson, Nelson Family Meats, Jandowae.

This year Nelson Family Meats in Jandowae took top honours in the continental sausage secton with its very popular bratwurst.

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"Covid has been best thing for us little fellows," Clint said.

"It's brought people - and especially grey nomads - out of the supermarkets and into our stores on a great outback sausage tour.

"Now it's up to us to keep them as customers. "

Nelsons offers 15 to 20 different varieties of sausages at any one time.

Gourmet tastes

THE Ashton family has done it again, producing even more of the best sausages in Queensland.

GORMET SAUSAGE: Rob and Craig Ashton, Ashton's Butchery, Pittsworth.

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This time Ashton's Butchery in Pittsworth claimed gold in gourmet category with its honey, beef and cheese creation.

Craig Ashton said the winning flavour had proved equally as popular as the long standing lamb, rosemary garlic and honey sausage and the half beef/pork Italian casalinga with spinach, fetta and fennel .

However, beef sausages remained the popular product. Ashtons sells up to 1000kg of sausages a week using locally sourced meat.

Texas 4385

RICK Meyers says this year's winning beef burger is a combination of 100 day Darling Downs grain fed beef, a special burger meal and some parsley and a fixation on producing consistent products.

BEEF BURGER: Rick Meyers, The Butchers Block, Benowa.

Named after Lee Kernaghan's 2002 popular country track Texas 4385 (it was on the radio right at the time the BB team was deciding on a name for the patty), the 140 gram burger is one the Butchers Block's most popular products.

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Since winning the burger title, sales have shot up from 30kg to 80-100kg/week.

Once you're sampled a winning burger from the Benowa store, Rick and his sons Taran and Jordan recommend the rissoles still made from grandma Gail's 60 year old recipe.

Gourmet burger

QUEENSLAND's best butchers gourmet burger was an extra tasty lamb, halloumi and caramelised onion creation from Loveday's Quality Meats, Burleigh Waters.

Andrew Loveday (centre) and the team from Loveday's Quality Meats.

Andrew Loveday said the burger was originally developed especially for Australia Day.

"It's always been a very popular product with its three great flavours," Andrew said.

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"It's even better this lamb burger has been recognised as Queensland best."

Queensland's best butchers gourmet burger.

Andrew said his next target at the Queensland titles was to score gold in beef sausage category.

"We have a beauty called the B52, because it's the bomb," he said.

On the bone

DANIEL Sauer from Bargara Meats says he couldn't have wished for a better run in to Christmas after being named as having the best bone in leg ham in Queensland.

HAM ON THE BONE: Daniel Sauer, owner, Bargara Meats

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"As soon as people heard we had won, the phone started ringing with Christmas orders," Daniel said.

"It's certainly made it busy for the shop, but its great we're able to share this terrific product."

Using pork legs supplied by Sunpork the Bargara Meats will produce about 600 hams for this festive season.

Going boneless

EXPERIENCED HERVEY Bay butcher Dale Newberry, Kawungan Quality Meats, says there is an ongoing trend toward boneless leg hams.

BONELESS LEG HAM: Dale Newberry, Kawungan Quality Meats

"Of course the big thing is they're easier to slice because there isn't a great bone to worry about," said Dale, who one the gold medal for his boneless ham.

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"We buy in the legs, remove the bone, dry out, and used an altered drying and curing process.

"That's how we keep in more of the moisture."

The pork legs are sourced from BettaPork, Bileola, which have also previously produced a Queensland on the bone winner for Dale.

Making bacon

CARINDALE butcher Michael Salm says the key is consistency.

Bacon rasher: Michael Salm, Salm's Meats, Carindale, with Darren Moore, AMIC.

Salm's Meats has been dry cooking its bacon and the same cure to make its ham for the past 40 years.

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Using pork from Kingaroy, Jimbour, and Goondiwindi, Michael says its all about developing the flavours and taste.

"Everyone has a fair idea of what bacon should look like, and what it should like," Michael said.

"It's when a customer goes away and has a mass produced bacon they really know the difference."

Salm's Meats is no stranger to success at the state level with three ham and three bacon titles.

Scalded sausage 

WHEN its comes to pre-cooked scalded sausages innovative Sunshine Coast ham, bacon and smallgoods manufacturer Sunvalley Fine Foods is showing the way with its gold medal winning cheese kransky.

Established in Jan 2016 by David Surman, the company sourced its raw product from Gooralie Free Range Pork situated near Goondiwindi.

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Champion kabana 

CHICKEN, cheese and chilli proved the perfect combination for Murrumba Downs Gourmet Meats to win the title of Queensland's best kabana.

Champion kabana: Trent Zellow: Murrumba Downs Gourmet Meats.

Smallgoods maker Trent Zellow said the award was the the result of "mucking around" in the smoke house in attempt to develop some new flavours.

"It's about an eight hour process to make a good kabana," Trent said. Once we tasted the chicken, cheese and chilli we thought it might be popular.

In fact it has become a best seller, only behind to our traditional and traditional with cheese kabanas."

New taste

BUNDABERG butcher Stephen Austin decided to go a different way this year, choosing char siu flavour jerky made from pork (rather than beef) to tickle the taste buds of the jerky/biltong category.

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JERKY/BILTONG: Stephen Austin, Zac's Meats, Bundaberg, with the winning pork jerky.

"We're been making beef jerky at Zac's Meats for about the past eight years," Stephen said.

"Then we thought using some of the excellent topside pork we source from Biggenden would give us as edge.

"It performed surprisingly well, and we'll be back to defend our title next year."

Stephen said char siu jerky, a process involving a sweet barbecue sauce flavour, had become a customer favourite in the Rum City.

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