Beef farmers throughout Scotland have until 12 May, to get their entries in for the annual McIntosh Donald/Tesco competition which culminates at the Royal Highland Show on 20 June with a cook-off of the top 12 steaks to select the winner of the top prize of £1000 and coveted Caithness Glass Trophy.
"The competition has proved highly successful over the past few years and the final judging has become an extremely popular attraction at the Highland Show," said McIntosh Donald procurement director, Eric Buchan.
"The competition provides the ideal opportunity to demonstrate to the consumer the benefits of traceability, quality and consistency in the production of Scotch beef."
The competition is open to members of the McIntosh Donald Producer Club who have consigned at least four lots of cattle to the company's Portlethen meat plant over the past year. The cattle entered must have been bred, reared and finished in Scotland and the entry is limited to two per producer.
Preliminary judging will take place on 19 May when sirloins will be selected on visual inspection by an expert panel comprising Peter Broadbent, technical manager with Tesco, Peter Phythian, head of the Meat and Livestock Commission's carcase classification service in Scotland, and Michael Stoddart, executive chef at Aberdeen's most prestigious hotel, the Marcliffe at Pitfodels.
Steaks from the selected sirloins will be cooked by a celebrity chef on the Tesco stand at the Highland Show and judged by an expert tasting panel.
The farmer supplying the winning Scotch steak will receive a cash prize of £1000 and the Caithness Glass Trophy with £500 going to the runner-up and £250 for third place.
The presentation of awards will take place on the Tesco stand at the show on 20 June.