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Whether it be the debate of which butcher is best, if pork or beef reigns supreme or simply the nostalgia (and saliva) that accumulates when one is nestled neatly into a slice of bread and drowned in an array of stain-inevitable sauces, the humble sausage is always a hot topic among us Kiwis - and its presence at our dinner tables is always a comfort.
This is why The Great New Zealand Sausage Competition (GNZSC) is so highly anticipated every year.
For 26 years, the GNZSC has revealed the finest and tastiest sausages New Zealand has to offer. Every year, talented sausage producers from every corner of Aotearoa meticulously refine their recipes in the hope of being crowned the Supreme Winner.
Well, ladies, gentlemen and saussie enthusiasts across the country, the results are in and the best sausage in the land hails from the shores of Silverdale.
Sam’s Butchery has been announced as the 2023 Supreme Winner for its “Lamb Delight”.
Sam Nadason, owner of the winning butchery, says that while he thinks the secret to his big win was “taking the time to get the basics right, concentrating on perfecting the flavours and years of experience”, there’s something else he believes helped him pick up gold this year.
“My grandson was born last week too, and I think he’s brought me good luck!” said Nadason of taking out the top prize among a record-breaking number of entries: 646 hopeful bangers, representing the craftsmanship of 116 producers across 14 categories that showcase not only the classic sausage - a staple at sizzles and summer dinner parties alike - but also the exciting frontier of new taste experiences.
Sausage makers are encouraged to push the boundaries of flavour and innovation and think outside the confines of the sausage casing to determine the best traditional sausage, best gourmet sausage and, perhaps most importantly, the best sausage in all of New Zealand, which most Kiwis have likely pondered at least once when browsing the meat section at their local grocer.
Judged on technical composition, aroma, appearance, texture and, of course, the taste, acclaimed food writer and competition judge Kathy Paterson said there was quite a buzz around the judging table this year.
And while some innovative flavour combinations were presented - Westmere Butchery’s ‘Sweet Orange, Jalapeno Chicken’ sausage, perhaps? - it was Nadason’s pure lamb sausage that snagged the prize.
“It can be quite tricky creating a single meat sausage, but this was an incredibly well-made sausage with a good balance of meat and fat,” said Paterson.
“The flavour of the lamb really shone through with just a hint of mint to add freshness - it was sensational.”
Perhaps equally as impressive as the sausages themselves is the incredible community of sausage makers and lovers that gather every year to find the country’s best snarlers.
Dan Klink, owner of Mangawhai Meat Shop and its multi award-winning sausages, has been a veteran at the GNZSC for 11 years and keeps coming back, not just for the thrill of the win but to hang out with his pals.
“[I’ve got] so many good friends in the industry now that it’s kind of almost like bragging rights against your friends”, says Klink, who was declared a Gold Elite winner for his ‘Thai Pumpkin and Cashew’ sausage.
“They’re awesome and everyone’s so supportive of each other and it’s like, if [you’re having] a low time in your trade, there’s always someone there to prop you up or support you in some way or other.”
Medal winners from Canterbury
- Alliance Smithfield Butcher Shop
MAPLE BACON - BRONZE
SMOKED PARSNIP AND LEEK - SILVER
- Fresh Choice Leeston
MEMPHIS RING OF FIRE - GOLD ELITE CATEGORY WINNER
- Harris Farms Ltd
LAMB HERB ’N MANUKA BURGER - GOLD ELITE CATEGORY WINNER
NORTH CANTERBURY BEEF BURGER - GOLD ELITE CATEGORY WINNER
TOMATO AND BASIL - BRONZE
- FreshChoice Merivale
WAGYU WHITE PEPPER - GOLD ELITE CATEGORY WINNER
CHICKEN, DUCK, ORANGE AND MARMALADE - GOLD ELITE CATEGORY WINNER
JALAPENO CHEESE - BRONZE
- New World Ashburton
MEXICANA BRISKET - SILVER
- New World Ilam
CAJUAN PORK - SILVER
- New World Stanmore
ANGUS BEEF TEXAN CHILLI AMD CHEDDAR - GOLD
- New World Timaru
CHICKEN LEEK AND BACON
- PAK’nSAVE Rangiora
PORK SMOKEY BACON AND MAPLE
- PAK’nSAVE Riccarton
GENUINE PORK - BRONZE
- Raeward Fresh Harewood
PORK HERB AND GARLIC - GOLD
- Westmeat Christchurch
PURE PORK - SILVER
By Megan Watts