With 687 entries from 67 plants, the 2018 American Cured Meats Championship once again brought together some of the best small meat processors in the country. After an intense two days of judging, winners in the 29 categories were named at the American Association of Meat Processors Convention, held last week in Kansas City.

Country Meat Shop of Moberly, Mo. came away as the big winner of the day, as its shank-on boneless ham won the Clarence Knebel Memorial Best of Show Award. The ham was the Grand Champion in the Cured Specialty Meats category, one of five Grand Champion awards won by Country Meat Shop owner Mark Reynolds.

The winners of the product categories are as follows:

Andouille: Leiding’s Meats & Catering, Danville, Ill.

Bacon, Heavyweight: Leiding’s Meats & Catering

Bacon, Lightweight: Country Meat Shop, Moberly, Mo.

Braunschweiger: Fisher Packing, Portland, Ind.

Country Bacon: Dry-Cured: Merindorf Meats, Mason, Mich.

Cured Specialty Meats: Country Meat Shop

Dried Beef: AJ’s Lena Maid Meats, Lena, Ill.

Frankfurters/Wieners (Coarse-Ground): Merindorf Meats

Frankfurters/Wieners (Emulsified): Country Meat Shop

Ham – Bone-in (Heivyweight): Bardine’s Country Smokehouse, Crabtree, Pa.

Ham – Bone-in (Lightweight): Thrushwood Farms Quality Meats, Galesburg, Ill.

Ham – Boneless (Commercial): Bardine’s Country Smokehouse

Ham – Boneless (Traditional): Country Meat Shop

Ham – Semi-Boneless: Louie’s Finer Meats, Cumberland, Wis.

Jerky – Restructured: Bardine’s Country Smokehouse

Jerky – Whole-Muscle: Schmidts’ Meat Market, Nicollet, Minn.

Large-Diameter Luncheon Meat: Bardine’s Country Smokehouse

Meat Snack Sticks: Wood’s Smoked Meats, Bowling Green, Mo.

Meat Snack Sticks, Flavored: Louie’s Finer Meats

Old-World Dried & Fermented Sausage: Northwoods Locker, Clayton, Wis.

Ring Bologna: Jerome Country Market, Jerome, Mich.

Semi-Dried Sausage – Cooked, Non-Fermented: Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, Ind.

Hot Links: Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., Tulare, Calif.

Small-Diameter Smoked & Cooked Sausage: Wyttenbach Country Locker, Prairie Du Sac, Wis.

Smoked Turkey: Edgewood Locker, Edgewood, Iowa

Specialty-Flavored, Small-Diameter Cooked & Smoked Sausage: Country Meat Shop

Specialty Game Meats: Hermann Wurst Haus, Hermann Mo.

Summer Sausage: Karl’s Country Market, Menomonee Falls, Wis.

Small-Diameter BBQ Sausage (2018 Specialty Class): Tiefenthaler Quality Meats, Holstein, Iowa

Country Meat Shop has now won the Best of Show Award for two consecutive years. The company’s Round Deli Bacon was the big winner at the 2017 event in Lexington, Ky. In addition to its Best of Show-winning ham this year, Country Meat Shop also won the ACMC Award of Excellence, which goes to the meat processor with the best overall performance at the event.

Two new inductees were also welcomed into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame. Jake Sailer of Sailer’s Food Market and Meat Processing, Elmwood, Wis., is the fourth generation of his family to work in the family business in Wisconsin. His products have won numerous state, national and international awards. Sailer’s was also chosen as the 2018 Independent Processor of the Year and will be featured in the August issue of Independent Processor.

Also selected for the Hall of Fame was Gary Bardine of Bardine’s Country Smokehouse, Crabtree, Pa. Bardine has brought home hundreds of awards from meat competitions since 2002, and he has won both the Award of Excellence and a Best of Show award at the ACMC. He is a fourth-generation butcher as well and has developed many of the recipes for the company’s award-winning products.