Hams and sausages were the primary thrust from the US meat makers although there was also plenty bacon. Bacon’s not going away any time soon folks.
Germany is famous for its meat, and the men who flew in to judge their American peers were looking for a variety of factors in how the awards would be doled out.
In the German competition, entries were judged on dozens of qualities including appearance, color, consistency, smoke and taste. Each hunk or slab of meat starts with a perfect score of 50 but points are taken away for detrimental qualities in color, workmanship etc.
A gold medal winning score of 50 means the product is virtually flawless; no points have been deducted.
A score of 45 to 49 translates to a silver while a score between 40 and 44 earns a bronze.
Charcuterie is a blend of art, science and old world craftsmanship. It’s endlessly fascinating.
Why are a bunch of German butchers in the US to begin with? USA-made meats are not welcome in the massive German curing competitions so Deutscher Fleischer-Verband came to USA to appraise our domestic production.
“Craft butchers from outside of Europe have good products and should be able to enter the international competition, so we began organizing satellite contests,” said Gero Jentzsch a medievalist, and the association’s communications manager.
He went on to add “We want more participation from outside the European Union.”
The American counterpart to the Germans is called the American Association of Meat Processors. It’s tiny with only 1300 butcheries on its roster. The Germans enjoy a population of over 9,000 members thought that number represents a serious contraction over the last 20 years.
In May 2016 Frankfurt Germany will host Deutscher Fleischer-Verband’s massive European competition where over 3000 examples of charcuterie will be appraised.
The following event will not be held until 2019.
At the US event held this past January there were dozens of winners (pdf warning) from all over the US but none from the states we primarily cover (Kentucky, Texas, Alabama and Louisiana) We would’ve loved to have seen how Allan Benton would have performed but he did not enter.