A butchers shop in East Lothian has been crowned this year’s Scottish Beef Sausage Champion after beating other national finalists to the title. 

Judged under the leadership of Wendy Barrie of the Scottish Food Guide, Linton’s Beef Sausages were mystery shopped and tested against the other champions in four other regions of Scotland.

The other competitors came from as far afield as Annan and Dingwall, as well as Rothesay and Falkirk, with the final taking place at Wendy’s test kitchen in Aberdour.

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Judith Johnston from competition sponsors, Lucas Ingredients, presented the championship trophy at the shop in East Linton.

John McKirdy of Linton Butchers felt it was just “surreal” to be presented with the Scottish Beef Sausage championship trophy.

He said: “It makes up for all the early mornings, starting at five in the morning, the late nights as well but it is recognition for the hard work you put in.”

So were those long hours all spent perfecting the beef sausage recipe?

“Yes and no. To make good beef sausages I buy live cattle at St Boswells. The farm I buy most of my cattle from is just a mile up the road; Alastair Aitken at Traprain Farm – he shops with me and we always have a joke about it being a good heifer. If you buy quality beef you will make a quality product.”

John was naturally unwilling to reveal the seasonings that clearly make a difference too.

“That would be telling! I do put the seasoning on the meat dry, it helps with both the colour and flavour. Mince once, leave for five or ten minutes and mince and that’s all I am willing to say!”

The customers in East Linton were rightly proud when Linton Butchers won the South East of Scotland title but now the village butchers can expect to attract customers from much further away. John was particularly pleased with the win for his father’s sake.

“My father was a butcher, his father was a butcher and his father was a butcher. For us to win it, it means a lot.

“My father is over the moon about the win, he is not feeling too well at the moment but this is the best medicine in the world is a bit of good news.”

Wendy Barrie spoke highly of the East Linton winner and their fellow finalists: “I thought all the finalists were excellent and would not have been disappointed with any on the plate but one did stand out for me and it is a lovely sturdy sausage that looked fantastic, lovely texture and really good quality taste. I really enjoyed it, a clear winner but everyone was worthy of being a finalist.

“It had a good balance of flavour that did not overwhelm the good beef. There was no shrinkage and it was a very smartly presented sausage with a taste to match.”

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