Q Guild National BBQ Finals

Some of the UK’s top butchers took up their tongs for the Q Guild National BBQ Finals in Oxford on Wednesday (19 June).

The competition, held at the Weber Grill Academy, saw the winners of seven regional finals pit their finest sausages, burgers and steaks against each other. In an unusual twist, entrants to the steak final had to cook up their product themselves for tasting by a panel of judges, including chef Jeremy R Fowler and butchery guru Keith Fisher.

The sausage category saw entries varying from traditional pork to beef, caramelised onion, tomato and horseradish, but top prize went to Cranstons in Penrith with its Traditional Cumberland sausage.

Rob Macmanus of Cranstons said: “It is great to win, especially when there were so many great businesses here, it shows we are doing something right and makes it all worthwhile.”

The burger category also saw some diverse flavour profiles and Jeremy R Fowler praised the entrants for their originality, although he warned some were “rolling the dice” by trying to capture the judges attention with unusual flavours.

A beef burger blended with gruyère and edged with mixed spices earned Walter Smith of Albrighton the runners-up spot, but the Welsh beefburger made by Martin Player of Cardiff was the ultimate winner.

Martin said: “It is just a simple burger, but is made from premium Welsh beef that has been hanging for a few weeks and comes from a really good source.”

The steak category was the most tightly fought, with a tie-break for first and second place forcing judges to give the top prize to the steak that scored highest on taste. The winner, by just one point, was Robinsons of Tettenhall, Wolverhampton for its sirloin steak. In very close second was a ribeye steak from Hepburns of Mountnessing, and Martin Player claimed another prize by taking third place for his Welsh ribeye steak.

“I didn’t come here thinking I would have to cook the steak myself, but actually it was great to be able to do that,” said Tom Robinson, who is a trained chef.

Commenting on his winning entry, he added: “It is great to win. I was nagging my dad to enter this morning so he took a steak off the shelf at 7.30. It wasn’t something we prepared especially for the competition, but something we we sell every day in our shop.”

The finalists were also treated to a BBQ Masterclass from the Weber Grill Academy team, learning how to prepare and cook perfect Weber ribs, beer can chicken, pork kebabs and black cherry smoked lamb.

Full list of winners:

Best Sausage
1st Traditional Cumberland Sausage, Cranstons of Penrith.
2nd Pork with Honey Mustard Sausage, Crombie’s of Edinburgh.
3rd Traditional Pork Sausage, Turnbull’s of Alnwick.

Best Burger
1st Welsh Beefburger Martin Player, Cardiff.
2nd Beef burger blended with gruyère and edged with mixed spices, Walter Smith Albrighton.
3rd Flamenco Burger, Buckwells, Southsea.

Best Steak
1st Sirloin Steak from Robinsons Butchers, Tettenhall.
2nd Ribeye Steak from Hepburns, Mountnessing.
3rd Welsh Ribeye Steak Martin Player, Cardiff.


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