Butchers are the best in the county

Gary Simpson at the award winning butchers  Simpsons at Stamford Garden Centre. EMN-161021-180809009

Gary Simpson at the award winning butchers Simpsons at Stamford Garden Centre. EMN-161021-180809009

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Sleaford area butchers have come away with the lion’s share of the medals at the prestigious Lincolnshire Poacher food competition.

Sleaford area butchers have come away victorious with the lion’s share of the medals at the prestigious Lincolnshire Poacher food competition.

Champions with their home reared smoked bacon. From left - Roy Odling and Jon Parker. EMN-161020-163834001

Champions with their home reared smoked bacon. From left - Roy Odling and Jon Parker. EMN-161020-163834001

The contest celebrates and honours the best meat and bakery products Lincolnshire has to offer and was held on Thursday October 13, at the Lincolnshire Showground.

The competition received 400 entries in the classes of Lincolnshire sausage, pork pie, stuffed chine, haslet, steak pie, burger, bacon, sausage roll, speciality and gluten free sausages, speciality meat dishes, speciality vegetarian, speciality meat pie and lincolnshire plum bread.

For each class there was a panel of judges who marked each product on merit awarding gold, silver or bronze, with a class champion being chosen from the gold winners.

Overall Lincolnshire Butcher of the Year was won for the second consecutive time by Simpson’s butchers from Heckington and Sleaford.

Neil Johnson of Southern and Thorpe and his speciality All Day Breakfast meat pie. EMN-161020-163852001

Neil Johnson of Southern and Thorpe and his speciality All Day Breakfast meat pie. EMN-161020-163852001

Gary Simpson (who also has shops in Spalding, Stamford, Lincoln and South Hykeham) was really pleased with the result.

He said: “We entered 20 products and ended up with 10 Golds, eight Silvers and two Bronzes, as well as three class champions.”

“Across the board we were very consistent,” said Gary.

He won the speciality sausage class with their pork and apricot sausage, won the burger class with his beef and stilton burger and his mediterranean pork tenderloin won the speciality meat class.

Gary, from Heckington, has also just returned from Australia as part of Team GB in the World Butchery Championships. “We ended up winning the World’s Best Pork Sausage award with our cracked black pepper sausage,” he said.

He was in London on October 10 for the Champion of Champions Sausage Competition, but lost out in that and has also entered 21 products in the Q Guild butchery awards in Glasgow.

One of Gary’s staff, James Taylor, of Rowston Fen, is in the final three of the UK Young Butcher of the Year as well, with the awards being announced on November 7.

He has worked for the business for three-and-a-half years and is training to represent the UK team for the International Young Butcher of the Year contest in Austria.

Odling Bros from Navenby was the bacon champion with their smoked short back bacon.

Roy Odling said: “We are thrilled to bits and are proud of what we have done.” They also gained three Golds, seven Silvers and eight Bronzes.

He said the smoked bacon is a relatively new product, reared in Navenby by a local farmer, boned and cured on the premises.

Southern and Thorpe butchers of Ruskington were champions of the speciality meat pie class with their new innovation - the All Day Breakfast Pie, dreamed up by Neil Johnson

Only on the shelves for the last six months it has already generated a good local following among customers. It contains Lincolnshire sausage, black pudding, egg, bacon and vine tomato in a pie shell.

Mr Johnson said: “It is ideal as a snack. I often have one with a bit of brown sauce.”

There is a presentation evening in November.

The champion products will be showcased at the Lincolnshire Food and Gift Fair at the Lincolnshire Showground on November 26-27.