More than 1,000 products were submitted for the 2012 American Cured Meats Championships, held in St. Paul, Minn., in conjunction with the 73rd Annual Convention of Meat Processors & Suppliers’ Exhibition. The Convention, held by the American Association of Meat Processors, brought together meat processors from every corner of the country, and many of them brought multiple entries for judging.

The Grand Champion in each of the 26 categories included:


Andouille Sausage: Walke Brothers Meats, Claremore, Okla.

Bacon (Heavyweight): Frohling Meats Inc., Hecla, S.D.

Bacon (Lightweight): Thrushwood Farms Quality Meats Inc., Galesburg, Ill.

Braunschweiger: St. Joseph Meat Market, St. Joseph, Minn.

Country Bacon: Bardine’s Country Smokehouse Inc., Crabtree, Pa.

Cured Specialty Meat Products: RJ’s Meats & Groceries, Hudsom, Wis.

Dried Beef: Haen Meat Packing Inc., Kaukauna, Wis.

Frankfurters/Weiners – Coarse Ground: Tiefenthaler Quality Meats, Holstein, Iowa

Frankfurters/Weiners – Emulsified: Ralph’s Packing Co., Perkind, Okla.

Ham – Bone-in (Heavyweight): AJ’s Lena Maid Meats, Lena, Ill.

Ham – Bone-in (Lightweight): Bardine’s Country Smokehouse Inc.

Ham – Boneless (Commercial): Morgan’s Meat market, New Richland, Minn.

Ham – Boneless (Traditional): McDonald’s Meats, Clear Lake, Minn.

Ham – Semi-Boneless: Sadler’s Food Market & Meat Processing, Elmwood, Wis.

Jerky – Restructured: Lake Geneva Country Meats, Lake Geneva, Minn.

Jerky – Whole Muscle: Merindorf Meats, Mason, Wis.

Luncheon Meat – Large Diameter: Stonie’s Sausage Shop, Perryville, Mo.

Meat Snack Sticks: Dayton Meat Products, Malcolm, Iowa

Meat Snack Sticks – Flavored: Sailer’s Food Market & Meat Processing, Elmwood, Wis.

Ring Bologna – Cooked: Geiss Meat Service, Merril, Wis.

Semi-Dried Sausage – Cooked, Non-Fermented: Steve’s Meat Market, Ellendale, Minn.

Small Diameter Smoked and Cooked Sausage: Maplewood Meats, Green Bay, Wis.

Smoked Turkey: Maplewood Meats

Specialty Flavored Small Diameter Smoked/Cooked Sausage: Hoff’s United Foods Inc., Brownsville, Wis.

Specialty Game Meats: Leiding’s Meats & Catering, Danville, Ill.

Summer Sausage – Cooked: Morgan’s Meat Market

Each year, the Clarence Knebel Best of Show memorial Award goes to the product that the judges select as the best overall entry in the competition. This year’s award went to Bardine’s Country Smokehouse for its lightweight bone-in ham.

The Cured Meat Excellence Award is given to the processor who has the best overall performance at the Championships. This year the Excellence Award went to Sailer’s Food markets & Meat Processing in Elmwood, Wis. The company won one Grand Champion Award, one Reserve Grand Champion Award, three Champion Awards and three Reserve Champion Awards.

The AAMP Convention featured plenty of other activities for its attendees. The trade show floor was filled with 94 exhibitors, showing the latest in equipment, supplies and technology geared for the small processor. The seminars held throughout the show offered good advice and timely tips for the audience. Hands-on demonstrations allowed AAMP member experts to share their expertise on ham production and cutting for the Hispanic market.

AAMP also elected its board of directors who will lead the association for the coming year. Jon Frohling of Frohling Meats Inc., Hecla, S.D., transitioned to Immediate Past President, as Michael Sloan of Hermann Wurst Haus, Hermann Mo., became AAMP President. Other officers for the coming year include:

First Vice President: Kevin Western. Western’s Smokehouse & Meat market, Greentop, Mo.

Second Vice President: Erica Herina, Ralph’s Packing Co., Perkins, Okla.

Third Vice President: Doug Hankes, Thrushwood Farms Quality Meats, Galesburg, Ill.

Treasurer: Tim Haen, Haen Meat Packing, Kaukauna, Wis.

The 2013 Convention will be held at the Charleston Area Convention Center in Charleston, S.C., on July 18-20.  IP