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Cranstons Butchers fire up for UK BBQ contest finale

Pictured with Cranstons’ regional championship-winning products that have qualified for the national final of the Q Guild’s 2016 BBQ Competition are, L-R: Daniel Scott, Barry Pearson, Cranstons’ Carlisle manager, and Callum O'Neill
Pictured with Cranstons’ regional championship-winning products that have qualified for the national final of the Q Guild’s 2016 BBQ Competition are, L-R: Daniel Scott, Barry Pearson, Cranstons’ Carlisle manager, and Callum O’Neill

[C]umbrian Q Guild Butchers, Cranstons in Penrith, are going for glory with a brace of products in the UK final of the Guild’s 2016 barbecue competition – the annual quest to find the undisputed BBQ kings.

Winners of the North West regional heat have been revealed and all are now firing up to take on their colleagues from six other Q Guild regions across the UK in this month’s national finale.

UK winners in each of six BBQ product categories will be unveiled and one of them will also be crowned overall supreme barbecue champion by the Q Guild, which represents 110 top award-winning butchers from the Scottish Highlands down to the south coast.

Cranstons are a two times national final qualifier with their Rib Eye Steak, along with their Topside and Cheddar Burger, the regional speciality burger winner.

Cranstons buy their beef direct from trusted local farms and send it to a local family-run abattoir, before hanging it for 21 days in a purpose-built beef maturation chiller, then expertly cutting it.

Carlisle shop manager Barry Pearson explained: “This gives Cranstons full quality control from field to counter. The result is really tasty rib eye steaks that are well marbled, succulent and tender.”

Cranstons’ Topside and Cheddar Burger launched last summer and proved an instant hit with customers, tapping into the growing demand for gourmet burgers.

Cranstons, who recently opened a new town centre Food Hall in Brampton, also have local produce Food Halls in Penrith, Carlisle and at Orton Grange Farm, along with traditional high street butchers’ shops in Penrith and Hexham

Both products had first picked up top-rated gold awards, before going on to be chosen as regional champions. The business also struck gold in every other awards category.

These fell to Cranstons’ 6oz Steak Burger, the third year in succession it has won gold, traditional Cumberland Sausage, also a gold award winner in 2015, Speciality Cumberland Sausage with Caramelised Onion, and another speciality BBQ product, 21-day matured Beef Kebab.

Philip Cranston said: ”It’s great that not one, but two Cranstons’ products have made the nationals. Our butchery team works really hard to ensure we have a wide range of great quality products for the barbecue season.

“I am particularly thrilled that our Rib Eye Steak was judged so highly alongside steaks from other Q Guild Butchers, the best Butchers in Britain. We are really proud of the way we source, hang and cut our beef.”’

Almost 400 products from Q Guild Butchers nationwide were entered for this year’s competition. The national final takes place at Eastwood Hall, near Nottingham, on Sunday, May 15, when all qualifying products will be cooked prior to judging by Richard Holden, who is widely recognised as the UK’s premier BBQ chef.

Q Guild national chairman, Alnwick butcher Mark Turnbull said: “Entries for the BBQ competition have increased again this year, such is the growing stature of our annual highlight. All north-west regional winners are to be congratulated on qualifying for the national final and we wish them every success.”

The 2016 Q Guild BBQ Championships are being sponsored by industry suppliers Innovative Food Ingredients, Dalziel, DB Foods, The Dalesman Group, Scobie and Junior, and Baro Lighting.

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