Welcome to a look behind the scenes of the 2018 American Cured Meat Championships. Independent Processor editor-in-chief Sam Gazdziak spoke with many of the judges to get their insights on what it takes to make a best-in-class cured meat product.

Each year, the ACMC features a specialty class that typically is tied to that year’s host city. This year, the AAMP Convention and ACMC was held in Kansas City, Mo., which is one of the country’s barbecue hotspots. Naturally, this year’s specialty class was a BBQ Sausage.