What it takes to be crowned the Sausage King
THE humble sausage has had a make over.
Ingredients like chocolate and blueberry are substitutions for traditional ingredients and local butchers aren't afraid to dabble in more exotic flavours and concoctions.
They're vying for the coveted Sausage King title.
Australian Meat Industry Council Sausage King and Burger Competition was in Ipswich on Tuesday, with judges looking for the best local snag and pattie.
The annual event is run around Australia annual to promote independent local butchers and give them a platform to show the national industry what they're made of.
Butchers battle it out in their local regions, of which there are 10 in Queensland, with the finalists competing at the Ekka in August and finally at the national finals, held in Perth in February.
Every butcher must make their sausages and burgers from scratch and on site at their business.
Twelve independent butchers entered 80 producers into the competition on Tuesday.
Australian Meat Industry Council northern region member services manager Rob Mollison said industry expert judges were looking for four criteria including appearance, cookability on the barbecue plate, composition and taste.
"A good sausage looks like something that doesn't split. It looks great on a plate, enticing to eat, brown in colour, there are some dark ones of course, and when you cut it, the juices and ingredients should be visible," he said.
"Today the humble sausage commands centre of plate and it's a quality meal in itself."
Expert barbecuers travel to each region to cook the sausages, to ensure consistency among each sausage.
"There is no other way to cook a sausage than a hot plate on a barbecue," Mr Mollison said.
He said the regional Sausage King title was particularly important because it allows butchers to promote their product to the local market.
"People can add significant sales and margin to their business and promote their business," Mr Mollison said.
"I've seen sausage with blueberries in them, chocolate, crocodile, kangaroo, all types of products. One of the great things about the cooking shows on TV is it has given people in retail butchers a licence to experiment with wonderful flavours.
Eight local butchers were selected from the heats in Ipswich on Tuesday, six sausage winners in beef, pork, poultry, lamb, continental and gourmet categories and two burger winners.