This year, organisers Meat Management magazine ran a special competition ahead of UK Sausage Week. Consumers across the country were invited to apply to become a Sausage Judge for the day.
Sausage fans across the land were asked to enter online, letting Meat Management know what they love about sausages and why UK Sausage Week is sausagetastic!
A plethora of entries were received from people based all over the British Isles. Choosing the winner was no easy task but in the end the judges selected Tom Rouse from Leighton Buzzard.
Tom, aged 32, works in oil operations and lives with his fiancé Kathryn and their two pugs – Lenny and Derrick.
Tom joined the expert judging panel at the Regional Food Academy, Harper Adams University, earlier this month to taste and assess the bangers entered into UK Sausage Week’s industry awards and competition.
The judges said Tom’s application had the edge over others because he included his own poem dedicated to sausages:
Sausages and bangers, wursts and franks;
A substantial part of our history, these meaty snacks amount!
Pork or beef or chicken, lamb or kangaroo;
Spices, herbs and peppercorns; pink and black and blue!
With cheese or veg or sweet treats, variety is the key;
We all love a tasty sausage, so leave me one or two, or three!
When asked what he enjoys most about sausages, Tom replied: “I love food, particularly sausages – on their own or with mash, in a pie or a bun. Whether they are grilled, fried or barbecued, they optimise fantastic use of the whole animal, often mixing cheaper less glamorous cuts which is really important in this day and age of sustainability.”
Tom said he applied to become a Sausage Judge because it would be a dream come true for him.
Commenting on what he thought of the judging day, Tom said: I really enjoyed the whole experience! I enjoyed the huge variety, really good quality and exciting flavour combinations. A lot of first time tastes!
“I particularly liked the Chicken, Chicken Liver, Leek and Stilton sausage I tasted. Such an original idea and a really special and different flavour. I also enjoyed the experience of the innovative products like Beef and Horseradish.
“I learnt that there are some spectacular ideas in the UK for sausages and that the variation in a traditional sausage alone is huge. I also realised that I should be more adventurous as I’ve missed out on so many previously.
“I would absolutely recommend the sausage judging to everyone. Rarely would your get to try so many high standard and quality sausages – in my 32 years, I tried more in one day than I had in my whole life. Everyone was so friendly and happy to talk about their experiences, what they liked and what they weren’t so keen on, their backgrounds and what they had been trying. A really interesting, fun and also a really important role.”
Head judge Keith Fisher, Institute of Meat CEO, interviewed Tom for the winning role. He said: “It was a real pleasure to meet Tom. What he doesn’t know about sausages isn’t worth knowing. He may even have taught me a thing or two!”
All winners will be revealed at the UK Sausage Week celebration lunch on 29th October at London’s Plaisterers’ Hall.