As the old saying goes, ‘If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, then you’re lucky enough’.
But for local Irish butcher Shay Stanley, it wasn’t luck that resulted in him taking out first place for the Best Butchers Beef Burger in Western Sydney – it was a whole lot of knowledge and passion.
Operating in Sydney for about 14 years, this wasn’t the first time that Mr Stanley’s North St Marys business, The Irish Butcher, has taken out a title at the annual Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) Awards.
“Over the years I think we’ve won probably about half a dozen times,” Mr Stanley told the Weekender.
Entering a different product each year, Mr Stanley said that each win and place reinforced that his team were doing something right.
“You go in there with hope that you will win, but to achieve it is just a nice pat on the back to say that you are doing something right,” he said.
Also taking out third place for the Best Butchers Gourmet Burger at the recent competition held at Nepean TAFE, Mr Stanley said the secret to their products was using only ethical and quality ingredients.
“We don’t use flavour enhancers, colours, fillers or chemicals of any description,” he said.
“We pretty much do it the old-fashioned way.”
With the combination of pure, high-grade beef, onion, garlic and a little bit of pork fat, the winning patty only used three per cent of sausage mince to bind it, something which Mr Stanley said was a rare find today.
“If you blend them properly and have a really good product to begin with, you don’t need to overload them with sausage mince,” he said.
Recently moving into wholesale, the butcher shop, which is located on Plasser Crescent, now supply their meat to more than 32 outlets, as well as numerous restaurants around Sydney.
Mr Stanley’s next focus is on making his products completely chemical, preservative and gluten-free.
“We are trying to go down that road further, as I think it’s the way forward,” Mr Stanley said.
All the winners from the competition will proceed to the State Finals before progressing onto the National Sausage King Finals to be held in Perth next year.
Lauren Suttie is the Weekender’s General & Community News journalist.