With barbecue season upon us, a nationwide hunt to find New Zealand's finest sausage has reached its climax.
The grand final of the annual Devro New Zealand Sausage Competition was held in Auckland today, where judges chose winner Paddy Kennedy's beef and blue cheese sausages, from Allenton Meat Centre in Ashburton, of the 400 entries from across the country.
There are 11 different categories, ranging from saveloys and polonies to family favourites like beef and pork and unusual gourmet combinations. Of the 400 entries, 23 were in contention for glory.
Judge Peter Martin says the process of elimination is no chore, but understandably hasn't been able to try every sausage himself.
"I'm really passionate about the industry and really, really enjoy making sausages, so it's not arduous at all. I really enjoyed every minute of it," he said on Firstline this morning.
"The South Island and North Island had about 200 sausages each judged, and initially they were judged on their raw processing, what they looked like, and then cooked and what they looked like and how they tasted."
What the judges like in a sausage isn't always what the public wants however. Retail Meat New Zealand manager Megan Claxton says while the judges look at things like appearance and the quality of processing, the public generally just goes for what tastes best.
"We've had one instance over the last few years where it's matched up, but more often than not it is different. What the people are trying and what they deem to be their favourite might differ slightly from what the professionals [like]."
Even if you're not cooking up a medal-winning sausage brand this summer, Mr Martin says there's one key thing to remember to ensure a tasty lunch: take it easy.
"If you're going to do them on the barbecue, I'd do it with the heat right down," he says. "You want to get the nice golden colour, not black on the outside and uncooked in the middle. Do them low and slow."
If you can't trust your barbecue or cook to keep the temperature low, Mr Martin recommends simmering the sausages in water beforehand to ensure they're cooked through, and just use the barbecue to heat them up.
More information about the Devro New Zealand Sausage Competition can be found on the Retail Meat New Zealand website.
source: newshub archive