YOU could help taste hundreds of sausages with Linslade master butcher in UK competition!

Some members of the 2017 judging team having a sizzling time.
Some members of the 2017 judging team having a sizzling time.

A Linslade sausage expert is inviting one lucky person to help him select the best bangers at UK Sausage Week.

Keith Fisher, chief judge and master butcher, is offering the passionate applicant the chance to help crown the ‘Supreme Sausage Champion’ of 2018.

Keith Fisher.

Keith Fisher.

The hungry guest judge will get to try hundreds of tasty samples at the Regional Food Academy, Shropshire, as they join the panel for the scrumptious day on October 3.

Keith said: “The competition has been running for many years and it is a chance to celebrate the industry and independent retailers.

“There are over 500 entries and two categories - traditional and innovated.

“Some more unusual flavours we’ve had are marmite, and candyfloss - there’s even been blueberry muffin and chocolate!

“With the growth of micro breweries, you’ve also got independent butchers working collaboratively with them, entering sausage flavours such as pork and ale, and beef and ale.”

Keith is a fourth generation butcher and started helping his family at the tender age of 12 - “we didn’t have xBoxes then!” he says.

The master butcher trained at London’s Smithfield Market and went on to have 42 years of combined experience with The Meat and Livestock Commission as a butchery and product development manager, and with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) as master butcher advisor.

Keith said: “Smithfield’s is known as the ‘temple of the meat industry’ and was one of the biggest meat markets in Europe during its hey day. It supplied many major retailers and many smaller retailers - it used to be like Formula One with all the lorries!

“Nowadays, however, retailers buy directly from the processing factories, and supermarkets will go directly to a farmer or factory partners - they want to know where all their meat comes from.”

Indeed, with his wealth of industry knowledge, Keith - who is also a ‘sausageologist’ - will no doubt keep the winning guest judge entertained during their day at the Regional Food Academy.

As sausage judge, the winner will be getting truly stuck in, handling raw sausages to examine their weight and consistency, assessing their colour and texture, measuring bangers to ensure they fit within the competition’s guidelines, and tasting cooked sausages to determine their texture, meat and fat ratio, and flavour.

Keith added: “It’s important to maintain the high profile for a fantastic, traditional product that goes back to the Roman times.

“What’s more, if you go back to the war [World War Two], there was little meat available, so they used to pump sausages out with water, and when you cooked them, they would explode!

“That’s where the term banger comes from and why in years gone by people used to prick sausages.

“For the competition, I’m looking for somebody who is passionate about sausages, who likes eating them on a regular basis and trying different kinds, looking for something different.

“There’s a danger that when they start they will eat a whole sausage - but after eight or nine they will fill up; we need to encourage them to take small, bitesize mouthfuls.

“Although you can usually tell which sausages are the most popular with the judges - they suddenly disappear!”

To enter, fill in the simple form at www.uksausageweek.com/testing/#competition explaining why you are the top person for the task.

The winner will be selected by Keith Fisher and the UK Sausage Week organising team.

To be in with a chance of winning, you must be available for a day of sausage eating on October 3 and sausage fans have until September 17 to apply.

The sausage-makers behind the winning bangers selected from the judging will receive awards during UK Sausage Week 2018 itself – which runs from October 29 to November 4, the sizzling week an annual meat industry campaign organised by Meat Management magazine.

To find out more, visit: www.uksausageweek.com