Bedford – It
isn’t every day one gets to watch butchers from the Northeast region charged with
the task of breaking down a beef subprimal into salable cuts of beef to appeal
to today’s beef consumers. On May 9, the 2019 Best BEEF Butcher
took place at the Penn State Meats Lab located right across the
street from the iconic Beaver Stadium, home to the Penn State Nittany Lion
football team located in State College, PA.
Scheduled during the front-end of the 80th Pennsylvania Association of Meat Processors (PAMP)
, this contest showcased 8 butcher contest finalists from all
over the region, including MA, CT, NJ, NY and PA.
prior to the start of the butcher contest, Agriculture Secretary Russell
Redding presided over the event to present the official “May is Beef Month”
proclamation. Every May in the state of
Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Beef
organizes the official “May is Beef Month” proclamation,
this year coming from Governor Wolf and delivered by Secretary Redding.
protein is an essential component of our diets, providing nutrients in a way
unmatched by plant proteins,” said Redding. “So much of the growth in
Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry comes from the expansion of animal
agriculture across our state to meet the growing demand here and around the
world for meat."
“The overarching goal of the month-long
celebration is to encourage consumers to gear up for the grilling season with
beef and, furthermore, share both the people behind beef, as well as some of
beef’s great attributes, noted Nichole Hockenberry, Director of Marketing and
Communications, PA Beef Council. “This year, in conjunction with the Best BEEF
Butcher Contest, we will be providing a protein packed donation by giving back to
the local community and gifting all the beef that will be utilized in the
contest to the State College Food Bank.
Best BEEF Butcher Contest was a first-time event designed to celebrate the
skills, knowledge and value independent butchers and meat processors bring to
the overall beef supply chain. Without
the passion and dedication to the craft of butchery and meat cutting, beef
consumers wouldn’t have as many choices and options available to them regarding
the availability of beef.
contest emcee was Christopher Jeffcoat, of Littlestown, PA and Chairman of the
Pennsylvania Beef Council. Sallie
Miller, of Briggsdale, CO and Chairwoman of the Colorado Beef Council, served
as the contest moderator.
largest portion of the contestants’ scores were derived from the 30-minute
cutting portion where they were asked to break down a beef shoulder clod
subprimal, fabricating the beef value cuts such as the Flat Iron, Ranch Cut and
Petite Tender. Contestants were judged
on the following criteria:
• Accuracy - how accurately did they
fabricate the desired beef value cuts?
• Technique - knife skills/efficiency
of movement, safety technique, portioning, denuding and trimming.
• Visual appeal - how well did they
visually merchandise, label and display their cuts for the consumer?
• Yield - how much yield did they
achieve from fabricating out these beef value cuts as compared to the subprimal
• Consumer Sales Pitch - how well did
the contestant deliver a concise, factual, appealing and persuasive sales pitch
for the particular beef value cut they will be asked by the judges to ‘sell’ to
a hypothetical customer within a 2-minute timeframe?
each contestant was asked to correctly identify a selection of 15 fresh beef
cuts, which were geared towards testing their general knowledge of beef cuts
from the entire beef carcass.
contest was judged by three beef industry professionals; Ms. Bridget Bingham,
Pennsylvania Beef Council Executive Director; Ms. Bridget Wasser, National
Cattlemen’s Beef Association Executive Director of Meat Science; and Dr.
Jonathan Campbell, Penn State University Meat Extension Specialist.
of the contestants were honored at the PAMP Awards Dinner on May 11, at the
Penn State Hotel and Conference Center and the top three winners were awarded a
banner to display in their market, as well as a cash prize.
Taking home the Honorable Mention 3rd
Place award was J. Myron Stoltzfus of Stoltzfus Meats, Inc. of Intercourse, PA. Kara Schrader of Schrader Farms Meat Market
in Romulus, NY tool home the honors of Runner-Up Best BEEF Butcher and the
Grand Prize Overall Winner of the contest went to Joseph Malafy of Malafy’s
Meat Processing in Red Hook, NY.
the contest, Joseph Malafy commented, “I just enjoy cutting meat and I have fun
doing it! The most fun part of the
contest was when I picked up my knife. I
enjoy making everything look presentable for the customer. I’ve been cutting meat for 35 years, ever
since I was 18 years old!”