Butcher’s debut competition goes off with a banger

Downland Butchers of East Dean has put Sussex on the ‘foodie map’ after wowing judges at a major awards event.

The family business took seven wards at the South of England Butcher roadshow and Pork Product Excellence Awards. The awards at Ardingly Showground were organised by BPEX.

Sam Connor from Downlands Butchers, whose debut at the event was rewarded with two titles wins, one for ‘Speciality Pork Sausage’ and the other for ‘Pork Burger’. This was a significant result for the butcher who is preparing to take over the reins of the family business when his father retires next year.

Father and son team Graham Croucher and Sam Connor received a total of seven awards – six gold and a silver – as well as the two category champion titles. Their ‘Italian Job Sausage’ topped the Speciality Pork Sausage category and a ‘Pork and Apple Burger’ was the standout product in the Pork Burger category.

Graham said: “We decided that Sam should go along this year as he will be the one to take the business forward. And what a great result he had! The ‘Italian Job Sausage’ is one of our most popular and successful sausages. It is my own recipe, which has now been passed to Sam, created after a family holiday to Italy. It is the blend of herbs, tomato and soft and succulent pork shoulder that work so well.

“We have a range of 25 sausage varieties on sale, all made using quality Sussex pork and to our own recipes. We’ve also extended our range to include pork burgers and were thrilled to get gold and the Champion title for our ‘Pork and Apple Burger’, having not really entered it into any events before.

“This is a lovely product, seasoned lightly so that you still can taste the meat and the apple complements it perfectly. Customers come to us because they want quality food and I know that the shop will be in safe hands with Sam.”

Keith Fisher, BPEX butchery and product development, manager said: “The South of England Event is hugely popular and draws in a very high standard of entry. To pick up a gold award is very commendable; to come away as champions is an incredible achievement. We wish all of the Champion butchers continued success for the future.”