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American Cured Meat Championships recognizes top products

Bardine's Country Smokehouse, Dewig Meats among top winners at ACMC competition, held during AAMP Convention in Des Moines.
Last week, at the annual American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) Convention in Des Moines, Iowa, more than 600 products were entered into the country's largest nationwide cured meats competition. The American Cured Meat Championships awarded prizes to small meat processors across the country in nearly 30 different cured meats categories.

This year in Des Moines, a total of 623 products were entered into the ACMC. Forty-five volunteers, as well as AAMP staff members and ACMC coordinators, gave nearly 300 hours to select the winners of this year's competition. This year's winner of the Clarence Knebel Best of Show Memorial Award came from the Heavyweight Bacon category, from Bardine's Country Smokehouse, in Crabtree, PA. Additionally, Dewig Meats of Haubstadt, Ind., won the Cured Meats Excellence Award. That award goes to the processor with the best overall performance in the ACMC.

Each year, the ACMC attracts top meat processors from across the country. Processors bring their best sausages, bacon, hams, snack sticks and other cured meat specialties to the convention, and those products are judged by meat science professors and fellow processors.  There was a Grand Champion awarded in each of the 29 categories; depending on the amount of entries in a given category, awards were presented for Reserve Grand Champion, Champion and Reserve Champion. The grand champions of each category are as follows. The full list of winners is available below.

Andouille Sausage:                                            St. Joseph Meat Market, St. Joseph, MN
Bacon (Heavyweight):                                       Bardine's Country Smokehouse, Crabtree, PA
Bacon (Lightweight):                                         Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., Tulare, CA
Braunschweiger:                                               Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, IN
Country Bacon ­– Dry Cured:                               Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, IN
Cured Specialty Meat Products:                         Cured by Visconti, Leavenworth, WA
Dried Beef:                                                       Dayton Meat Products Inc., Malcom, IA
Frankfurters/Wieners – Coarse Ground: Country Meat Shop, Moberly, MO
Frankfurters/Wieners – Emulsified:                    Country Meat Shop, Moberly, MO
Ham – Bone-In (Heavyweight):                          Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, IN
Ham – Bone-In (Lightweight):                            Tiefenthaler Quality Meats, Holstein, IA
Ham – Boneless (Commercial):                           Tommy G's Meat and Sausage, Fairbanks, AK
Ham – Boneless (Traditional):                            Den's Country Meats Inc., Table Rock, NE
Ham – Semi-Boneless:                                       Holland Bros. Mears, Duncansville, PA
Jerky – Restructured:                                        307 Meat Co., Laramie, WY
Jerky – Whole Muscle:                                       Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., Tulare, CA
Luncheon Meat – Large Diameter:                     Hermann Wurst Haus, Hermann, MO
Meat Snack Sticks:                                            McDonald's Meats Inc., Clear Lake, MN
Meat Snack Sticks – Flavored:                            Edgewood Locker Inc., Edgewood, IA
Old World Dried Fermented Sausage:                Louie's Finer Meats Inc., Cumberland, WI
Ring Bologna – Cooked:                                     Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., Tulare, CA
Semi-Dried Sausage (Cooked, Non-Fermented):  Schmidts' Meat Market Inc., Nicollet, MN
Small Diameter Hot Link Sausage:                      Stroot's Meat Co., Mulvane, KS
Small Diameter Smoked & Cooked Sausage:       McDonald's Meats Inc., Clear Lake, MN
Smoked Turkey:                                                Schmidts' Meat Market Inc., Nicollet, MN
Specialty Flavor Small Dia. Smoked/Cooked Sausage:      Paradise Locker Meats, Trimble, MO
Specialty Game Meats:                                      Hermann Wurst Haus, Hermann, MO
Summer Sausage – Cooked:                               McDonald's Meats Inc., Clear Lake, MN
(2022 Featured Class) Flavored Bacon:               Den's Country Meats Inc., Table Rock, NE


Bardine's Country Smokehouse has now won the Best of Show Award three times. The company took home the honor in 2012 with its Lightweight Bone-In Ham entry, and again in 2015 for its Country Bacon. Gary Bardine, owner/operator of the Pennsylvania retailer, said that participating in the competition can pay dividends in increased sales.

“I think the customers like to see it. I think it's validation that they feel like they're in the right place when they see things like this trophy on our counter,” he said.

Bardine said that this year, one of his employees, Cort McCurdy, took an interest in working on the ACMC entries, so he was put in charge of selecting the products and making sure the exterior appearance would please the judges. McCurdy, who cures and smokes many of Bardine's award-winning products, attended the Convention for the first time but said he hopes to return.

“The awards are amazing, but more than anything, it's been such a learning experience. The amount of knowledge that these guys have is incredible,” McCurdy said of his fellow attendees.

Dewig Meats won the Cured Meats Excellence Award for the fifth time overall and third consecutive ACMC, going back to 2019. (There was no AAMP Convention in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic). This year, the company won 3 Grand Champions, 5 Reserve Grand Champions and 3 Champions. During the AAMP Convention, Darla Kiesel, a third-generation member of Dewig Meats, was elected to the position of President of the association. Her husband, Aaron Kiesel, oversees Dewig's sausage kitchen and is a member of AAMP's Cured Meats Hall of Fame.
The next ACMC Competition will take place during the 2023 AAMP Convention in Charleston, SC, scheduled for July 13-15, 2023.

Andouille Sausage
Grand Champion:
St. Joseph Meat Market, St. Joseph, MN
Reserve Grand Champion: Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., Tulare, CA
Champion: Merindorf Meats Inc., Mason, MI
Reserve Champion: Walke Brothers Meats, Catoosa, OK

Bacon (Heavyweight)
Grand Champion:
Bardine's Country Smokehouse Inc., Crabtree, PA
Reserve Grand Champion: McDonald's Meats Inc., Clear Lake, MN
Champion: Hermann Wurst Haus, Hermann, MO
Reserve Champion: B & R Quality Meats, Ackley, IA

Bacon (Lightweight)
Grand Champion:
Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., Tulare, CA
Reserve Grand Champion: Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, IN
Champion: Schmidts' Meat Market Inc., Nicollet, MN
Reserve Champion: Dayton Meat Products Inc., Malcom, IA

Braunschweiger
Grand Champion:
Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, IN
Reserve Grand Champion: Den's Country Meats Inc., Table Rock, NE
Champion: Paradise Locker Meats, Trimble, MO
Reserve Champion: McDonald's Meats Inc., Clear Lake, MN

Country Bacon­ – Dry Cured
Grand Champion:
Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, IN
Reserve Grand Champion: Den's Country Meats Inc., Table Rock, NE
Champion: Gentert Packing Co., Holstein, NE
Reserve Champion: Karl's Country Market, Menomonee Falls, WI

Cured Specialty Meat Products
Grand Champion:
Cured by Visconti, Leavenworth, WA (Dry-Cured Capicola)
Reserve Grand Champion: Wilson Farm Meats Inc., Elkhorn, WI (Super Bacon)
Champion: Jerome Country Market, Jerome, MI (Cheddar Jalepeno Summer Sausage)
Reserve Champion: Strick's Specialty Meats, Hattiesburg, MS (Venison Philly Link)

Dried Beef
Grand Champion:
Dayton Meat Products Inc., Malcom, IA
Reserve Grand Champion: Schmidts' Meat Market Inc., Nicollet, MN
Champion: Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, IN
Reserve Champion: The Durand Smokehouse, Woodville, WI

Frankfurters/Wieners – Coarse Ground:
Grand Champion:
Country Meat Shop, Moberly, MO
Reserve Grand Champion: Fairview Food Market, Fairview, MI
Champion: Merindorf Meats Inc., Mason, MI
Reserve Champion: Jerome Country Market, Jerome, MI

Frankfurters/Wieners – Emulsified:
Grand Champion:
Country Meat Shop, Moberly, MO
Reserve Grand Champion: Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., Tulare, CA
Champion: Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, IN
Reserve Champion: Dayton Meat Products Inc., Malcom, IA

Ham – Bone-In (Heavyweight):
Grand Champion:
Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, IN
Reserve Grand Champion: Edgewood Locker Inc., Edgewood, IA
Champion: Holland Bros. Meats, Duncansville, PA
Reserve Champion: Country Meat Shop, Moberly, MO

Ham – Bone-In (Lightweight):
Grand Champion:
Tiefenthaler Quality Meats, Holstein, IA
Reserve Grand Champion: Holland Bros. Meats, Duncansville, PA
Champion: Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, IN
Reserve Champion: Louie's Finer Meats Inc., Cumberland, WI

Ham – Boneless (Commercial):
Grand Champion:
Tommy G's Meat and Sausage, Fairbanks, AK
Reserve Grand Champion: Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., Tulare, CA
Champion: Den's Country Meats Inc., Table Rock, NE

Ham – Boneless (Traditional)
Grand Champion:
Den's Country Meats Inc., Table Rock, NE
Reserve Grand Champion: Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, IN

Ham – Semi-Boneless:
Grand Champion:
Holland Bros. Meats, Duncansville, PA
Reserve Grand Champion: Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, IN
Champion: Sailer's Food Market & Meat Processors Inc., Elmwood, WI
Reserve Champion: Edgewood Locker Inc., Edgewood, IA

Jerky ­– Restructured:
Grand Champion:
307 Meat Co., Laramie, WY
Reserve Grand Champion: Wahoo Locker, Wahoo, NE
Champion: Bardine's Country Smoke House Inc., Crabtree, PA
Reserve Champion: Hermann Wurst Haus, Hermann, MO

Jerky ­– Whole Muscle:
Grand Champion:
Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., Tulare, CA
Reserve Grand Champion: Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, IN
Champion: Schmidts' Meat Market Inc., Nicollet, MN
Reserve Champion: West Bend Sausage Plus, West Bend, WI

Luncheon Meat – Large Diameter:
Grand Champion:
Hermann Wurst Haus, Hermann, MO (German Old World Bologna)
Reserve Grand Champion: Dewig Meats, Haubstadt, IN (Smoked Bologna)
Champion: Three Rivers Meat Co., Smithville, OK (Bologna)

Meat Snack Sticks:
Grand Champion:
McDonald's Meats Inc., Clear Lake, MN
Reserve Grand Champion: Den's Country Meats Inc., Table Rock, NE
Champion: Fairview Farms Meat Co., Topeka, KS
Reserve Champion: Al's Country Meat Locker, Calmar, IA

Meat Snack Sticks – Flavored:
Grand Champion:
Edgewood Locker Inc., Edgewood, IA (Honey Pork Stick w/ Swiss Cheese)
Reserve Grand Champion: McDonald's Meats Inc., Clear Lake, MN (Jalapeno Cheddar Snack Sticks)
Champion: Holland Bros. Meats, Duncansville, PA (Ham and Cheese Sticks)
Reserve Champion: Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., Tulare, CA (Honey Ham Stick)

Old World Dried Fermented Sausage:
Grand Champion:
Louie's Finer Meats Inc., Cumberland, WI
Reserve Grand Champion: Northwood Foods Inc., Northwood, IA

Ring Bologna – Cooked:
Grand Champion:
Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., Tulare, CA
Reserve Grand Champion: Newhall Locker & Processing, Newhall, IA
Champion: Schmidts' Meat Market Inc., Nicollet, MN
Reserve Champion: Karl's Country Market, Menomonee Falls, WI

Semi-Dried Sausage (Cooked, Non-Fermented):
Grand Champion:
Schmidts' Meat Market Inc., Nicollet, MN
Reserve Grand Champion: Karl's Country Market, Menomonee Falls, WI
Champion: Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., Tulare, CA

Small Diameter Hot Link Sausage:
Grand Champion:
Stroot's Meat Co., Mulvane, KS
Reserve Grand Champion: Walke Brothers Meats, Catoosa, OK
Champion: Den's Country Meats Inc., Table Rock, NE
Reserve Champion: Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., Tulare, CA

Small Diameter Smoked & Cooked Sausage:
Grand Champion:
McDonald's Meats Inc., Clear Lake, MN
Reserve Grand Champion: Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., Tulare, CA
Champion: Timber Creek Meats, Parsons, KS
Reserve Champion: Strick's Specialty Meats, Hattiesburg, MS

Smoked Turkey:
Grand Champion:
Schmidts' Meat Market Inc., Nicollet, MN
Reserve Grand Champion: McDonald's Meats Inc., Clear Lake, MN
Champion: Woods Smoked Meats, Bowling Green, MO

Specialty Flavor Small Diameter Smoked & Cooked Sausage:
Grand Champion:
Paradise Locker Meats, Trimble, MO (Smoked Sausage w/ Ghost Pepper & Cheese)
Reserve Grand Champion: Den's Country Meats Inc., Table Rock, NE (Mac & Cheese Brat)
Champion: Schmidts' Meat Market Inc., Nicollet, MN (Smoked German Cheddar Brat)
Reserve Champion: Wilson Farm Meats Inc., Elkhorn, WI (Philly Cheesesteak Brat)

Specialty Game Meats:
Grand Champion:
Hermann Wurst Haus, Hermann, MO (Sweet Venison Bologna w/ Jalapeno & Cheese)
Reserve Grand Champion: Northwood Foods Inc., Northwood, IA (Elk Hard Salami)
Champion: Woods Smoked Meats, Bowling Green, MO (Venison Summer Sausage)

Summer Sausage – Cooked:
Grand Champion:
McDonald's Meats Inc., Clear Lake, MN
Reserve Grand Champion: Schmidts' Meat Market Inc., Nicollet, MN
Champion: Edgewood Locker Inc., Edgewood, IA
Reserve Champion: 307 Meat Co., Laramie, WY

(2022 Featured Class) Flavored Bacon:
Grand Champion:
Den's Country Meats Inc., Table Rock, NE (BBQ Bacon)
Reserve Grand Champion: Woods Smoked Meats, Bowling Green, MO (Cajun Bacon)
Champion: Tulare Meat Locker & Sausage Co., Tulare, CA (Italian Bacon)
Reserve Champion: Country Meat Shop, Moberly, MO (Raspberry Red Pepper Bacon)
 
The American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP), is North America's largest meat trade organization. Membership includes more than 1,600 medium-sized and smaller meat, poultry, and food businesses: slaughterers, packers, processors, wholesalers, in-home food service business, retailers, deli and catering operators, and industry suppliers.

For more information, visit www.aamp.com.

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