Smoky Sirloin Steak with Tomato Hummus

The 2022 Annual Best BEEF Butcher Contest Crowns Winners

S. AUGUSTINE | May 16, 2022

Left to right; Michael Schnalzer of Slate Belt Butchery in Bethlehem, PA, Phillip Medeiros from Penn State Butchery Apprenticeship program, Joseph Malafy of Malafy’s Meat Processing in Red Hook, NY, Rick O’Roak of The Flying Butcher in Manchester, NH, and Josh Williams of Farmstead Butcher in Frederick, MD. 

State College, PA, May 17, 2022— Butchers from across the Northeast region traveled to compete in Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative’s (NEBPI), Best Beef Butcher Contest on Thursday, May 12. This contest was hosted in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Meat Processors annual conference and was held at the Penn State Meat Laboratory in State College, PA. 

 Taking home the Honorable Mention 3rd Place award was Michael Schnalzer of Slate Belt Butchery in Bethlehem, PA. Joseph Malafy of Malafy’s Meat Processing in Red Hook, NY took home the honors of Runner-Up Best BEEF Butcher, and the Grand Prize Overall Winner of the contest went to Josh Williams of Farmstead Butcher in Frederick, MD. 

 “It’s nice to have contest dedicated to highlighting skills we use everyday and allow us to put our knowledge to the test,” says Josh Williams the winner the 2022 contest. “Most butcher competitions are too extravagant and don’t allow us to paint an accurate imagine of what we do.” 

These butchers showcased their butchery skills in a head-to-head competition where they had 30 minutes to turn a beef chuck roll sub-primal into merchandising cuts as well as give a 2- minute consumer sales pitch and correctly identify 15 fresh beef cuts. 

This event was 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. 

The judges for the competition were Rick Fetrow, Sr. Field Sales Consultant at Tyson Fresh Meats; Billie Jo Keil, Penn State Extension Butchery Apprenticeship Student; and Ben Williamson, Animal Science Instructor at Penn State University and PBC Board member. 

The largest share of the contestants’ scores were derived from the 30-minute cutting portion where they were asked to break down a beef chuck roll and fabricate them into the following beef value cuts: the Delmonico Steaks, Denver Steaks, Sierra Steaks, Boneless Country- Style Ribs, and Chuck Eye Roast.  They will be 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 sub- primal starting weight? 
  • Consumer Sales Pitch- how well did the contestant deliver a concise, factual, appealing, and persuasive sales pitch for their merchandising beef value cuts? They were asked by the judges to ‘sell’ to a hypothetical customer within a 2-minute timeframe. 
In total, the contestants had an opportunity to earn 100 points by the end of the competitions. 

“This event allowed for key industry professionals to highlight their skillset that they utilize every day as well as the passion they have for the meat industry,” explained Nichole Hockenberry, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Beef Council. “It’s an honor to get to watch them showcase their craft they’ve perfected over the years.”

The event was sponsored by the Beef Checkoff’s Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative. For more information about upcoming NEBPI events, visit the NEBPI website and Facebook page. 

For more information about your Beef Checkoff investment, visit 

Media Contact: Samantha Augustine, 814-623-2698 or [email protected]


The Beef Checkoff was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The Checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States may retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA Approval.

Internal links within this document are funded and maintained by the Beef Checkoff. All other outgoing links are to websites maintained by third parties.