The Search For New Zealand's Best Sausage Starts Now

Butchers from Cape Reinga to the Bluff will be fine-tuning their sausage recipes as entries open for the 2019 Devro Great New Zealand Sausage Competition.

The search for New Zealand’s tastiest snarler will begin with a panel of 32 judges, made up of foodies, butchers and industry experts, sampling and examining all competition entries over a mammoth five-day sausage fest in September. From there, the top thirteen sausages, one from each category, then go on to a final taste test where the Supreme Award-winning sausage is determined.

During the judging, sausages will be marked, prior to cooking, on their inner and outer visual appearance then, once cooked, on appearance, aroma, texture, composition and taste.

Head Judge, Kathy Paterson has been involved in the competition for over six years and being an experienced journalist, author and recipe developer, she is well equipped for the role.

“The Devro Great New Zealand Sausage Competition is always one of my favourite times of the year. Overseeing the vast array of sausages, bursting full of creativity, flavour and quality ingredients makes my job as head judge such a pleasure.

“As judges we are looking for a number of benchmarks, but most importantly we are looking for a good fat to meat ratio with just the right mix of herbs and spices. Seasoning is key. Based on the standard of recent years, I expect to see an excess of exciting flavours, great textures and plenty of ingenuity to boot,” says Kathy.

Last year, the competition attracted 482 entries from 90 stores across thirteen categories, these included; beef, pork, poultry, pre-cooked, flavoured, continental fresh, continental ready-to-eat, black pudding/rounds, traditional, gourmet beef, gourmet pork and gourmet varietal. In a new development for 2019 and in recognition to changing consumer trends, competition organisers, Retail Meat New Zealand, have introduced a flexitarian and vegetarian category.

Last year, Dave Rossiter of Westmere Butchery, Auckland was crowned joint winner of the Supreme Award – alongside New World Te Rapa, Hamilton – for his beef and mushroom sausage.

“Demand for our beef and mushroom sausage has gone through the roof since winning the 2018 Supreme Award. Our tiny store has been packed to the brim, and it’s not unusual to see a line snaking down the street on a Saturday morning. Following the competition we received enquiries from all over Auckland and New Zealand, with people wanting to buy not only our supreme award winning sausage, but the other products we offer. The standard of sausages being entered has increased year-on-year and our fellow butchers are creating some standout products. To come out on top is a dream come true for us,” said Rossiter. 

Entries into the 2019 competition close on Friday 26 July. The winning sausage will be announced at an Awards Dinner on Thursday 17 October, in good time for Kiwis to celebrate National Sausage Day during the Labour Weekend – the traditional start to the Kiwi BBQ season.

The competition is sponsored by Devro New Zealand, Kiwi Labels, Alliance Group, Alto Packaging, Big Chill and Kerry Ingredients.