Sailer’s Food Market & Meat Processing won the Clarence Knebel Memorial Award, which honors the “Best of the Best” from the award-winning products entered in the annual American Cured Meat Championships. Sailer’s Food Market & Meat Processing won for its Spicy Pepperoni. Independent Processor editor-in-chief Sam Gazdziak spoke with Jake Sailer about the winning product.

Sam Gazdziak: Can you tell us a little about how [the Spicy Pepperoni] came together?

Jake Sailer: It was actually my little right-hand man—I say little right-hand man because he’s been with us as a “cleanup kid” for 10 years now. We bought a drying chamber probably five years ago and took forever to get something going in it. When he went to the Master Meat Program four years after I had graduated, that was going to be his master meat or his in-plant project for the Master Meat Program. So him and I got to work on that together, and he brought it a long ways. We did a lot of fine tuning, and it turned out to be a wonderful product.

Gazdziak: How long have you made [the Spicy Pepperoni]?

Sailer: We’ve been doing it for probably almost two years now since we started it and had problems in the beginning, fixed problems and moved forward. He’s got it figured out.

Gazdziak: Sounds like it. That was one of the favorites of the judges.

Sailer: It also worked out really well for us this spring, because we took that to our Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors Convention, and we got grand champion on it in the same class. We got Best of Show for that there also. So worked out pretty good this year.

Gazdziak: Congratulations and thank you very much for your time.

>> Watch more videos from the 2016 ACMC <<