Farmers compete for best steak title

Twelve Scottish farmers will be competing at next month’s Royal Highland Show for the coveted accolade of producing the best Scotch steak.

Sirloins from cattle supplied by the 12 farmers were selected from a record entry of 166 head at the preliminary judging this week at McIntosh Donald’s Portlethen meat plant.

The winner will be presented with the McIntosh Donald/Tesco trophy and cash prize of £1000 on the Tesco stand at the show on Friday, June 26, following a cook-off of steaks from the sirloins.

“The standard of the entries was exceptionally high and the most consistent we have seen over the years of the competition,” said Michael Stoddart, executive chef at Aberdeen’s five-star Marcliffe at Pitfodels Hotel, who selected the 12 sirloins along with Bob McEwan of the Scottish Government Rural Directorate and McIntosh Donald production manager, Graham Moir.

“It was very difficult to select the top sirloins because of the consistently high standard but we are happy that the final 12 selected will provide a superb eating experience.”

The 166 entries from farmers all over Scotland were whittled down on the basis of weight and carcase classification to the 61 presented before the judging panel. Only carcases weighing 250 – 400kg and classifying 3 or 4L for fat cover were eligible to go forward for judging.

The 12 comprised nine steers and three heifers and nine were Limousin cross, three Charolais cross and two Simmental cross.

Steaks from the winning sirloins will be cooked at the show by celebrity chef, Colin Capon, and judged on taste and succulence by a panel headed by NFU Scotland president, Jim McLaren, along with Alasdair Fletcher, editor of the Scottish Farmer, and a representative of Tesco.

McIntosh Donald managing director, Alan McNaughton, said he was delighted with the overall quality of the entry which reflected the quality of the cattle supplied by members of the McIntosh Donald Producer Club throughout the year.

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