The American Association of Meat Processors’ American Convention of Meat Processors & Suppliers’ Exhibition offers plenty of attractions: learning about new products, catching up with old friends and colleagues, and more.

“We have a full schedule of educational seminars and demonstrations, but I think that many past attendees will tell you that the greatest lessons are often learned in a conversation in some hallway or while discussing the results of the American Cured Meat Championships," AAMP Communications Manager Sam Gazdziak said.

Taking place in conjunction with AAMP’s 83rd American Convention of Meat Processors & Suppliers’ Exhibition on July 14-16 in Des Moines, Iowa, the ACMC is the only national cured meat competition of its kind in the United States.

“It is the largest national cured meats competition in the country and gets hundreds of entries from processors across the country,” Gazdziak said. The 2021 competition included 53 AAMP membership plants participating.

The meat scientists and other meat industry specialists who will judge 2022’s ACMC will hail from across the country and will include AAMP processor members selected from the Cured Meats Hall of Fame helping to round out the judging team.

“This year's featured class is flavored bacon,” Gazdziak said. Participants can enter in one or all of the 29 classes:

  • Andouille Sausage
  • Bacon (Heavyweight)
  • Bacon (Lightweight)
  • Braunschweiger
  • Country Bacon - Dry Cured
  • Cured Specialty Meat Products
  • Dried Beef
  • Frankfurters/Wieners - Coarse Ground
  • Frankfurters/Wieners - Emulsified
  • Ham - Bone-in (Heavyweight)
  • Ham - Bone-in (Lightweight)
  • Ham - Boneless (Commercial)
  • Ham - Boneless (Traditional)
  • Ham - Semi-Boneless
  • Jerky - Restructured
  • Jerky - Whole Muscle
  • Luncheon Meat - Large Diameter
  • Meat Snack Sticks
  • Meat Snack Sticks - Flavored
  • Old World Dried Fermented Sausage
  • Ring Bologna - Cooked
  • Semi-Dried Sausage (Cooked, Non-Fermented)
  • Small Diameter Hot Link Sausage
  • Small Diameter Smoked & Cooked Sausage
  • Smoked Turkey
  • Specialty Flavor Small Diameter Smoked/Cooked Sausage
  • Specialty Game Meats
  • Summer Sausage – Cooked Regional Class

The 2022 ACMC Awards will be presented from 7:30-10 a.m., Saturday, July 16, at the Iowa Events Center. During this time, AAMP also will induct the association’s newest member(s) into the Cured Meats Hall of Fame.

Last year’s big winner among 2021’s 490 entries was Dewig Meats. The Haubstadt, Ind.-based processor strutted away with the event’s two most prestigious awards, the Clarence Knebel Memorial Best of Show Award (for its Lightweight bacon entry) and the Cured Meat Excellence Award (given to the company that has the best overall performance). On top of that, Aaron Kiesel of Dewig Meats was a 2021 inductee into the Cured Meats Hall of Fame.

To be eligible to enter the American Cured Meat Championships, aspiring ACMC competitors must be AAMP members and must be registered for the full convention (no one-day registrations allowed). On-site registration will be available during then convention from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, July 14. Registration is $20 per entry (only one entry allowed per class).