Mark Duckworth of Dales Traditional Butchers takes home ultimate sausage accolade, as his pork and caramel sausage is crowned Champion of Champion at this year’s award ceremony.

Champion of Champions is the UK’s ultimate sausage competition, which invites butchers and manufacturers to present their best bangers.

The event has a rich history, having been launched by Meat Trades Journal in 1984, and features a grand panel of expert judges who inspect and review each entry in an effort to identify the ultimate sausage.

The competition is fierce, with each entry having been declared a champion or finalist in one of the UK’s recognised sausage competitions from the previous year – and 2023’s line-up was no exception.

The Westmorland Gazette:

Taking place as part of Meat Trade Journal’s prestigious Butchers Shop of the Year, which looks to celebrate and award the best in independent retail butchery, the grand prize for best sausage was awarded to Mark Duckworth of Dales Traditional Butcher with his pork and caramel sausage.

“It’s always a difficult decision every year when we come to do Champion of Champions,” judge Keith Fisher, CEO of the Institute of Meat said. “You’re starting with a ‘formula one’ grid of sausages. They have all won something - they come here with a pedigree. In fact, one of the easiest ways of judging is to find mistakes within the entries – maybe the length, the width as they stand in the raw state.

“When judging in the raw state, we ask ourselves ‘would you buy those sausages?’ before we start cutting them up and looking at texture and filling and firmness and so on. If yes, we proceed to cook. We look at whether there’s air cavities, bones or gristle – with this particular grid of sausages, I wouldn’t expect to find that but occasionally some slip through. Then we look at the final five or six that we’ve highlighted as possible winners.

“Whereas we normally have about five to go through to the cooking stage, we selected seven today because we were all vying for one or two that we felt were possible winners.”

The Westmorland Gazette:

Commenting on the champion, Fisher said: “It was the firmness of the sausage, the juiciness, the texture of the skin and filling. When it was cooked, that plate disappeared with all the samples on it.”

Overjoyed by his new crown, Duckworth said: “I feel absolutely overwhelmed. It’s the one thing I’ve always wanted to win. Years of hard work – we got there.”

Thanks to our sponsor Viscofan.

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