WINNERS: Springsure team Lance Mahady, Craig Knickel, Grady O'Loughlin and Tamika Davidson with the prize winning sausages.
WINNERS: Springsure team Lance Mahady, Craig Knickel, Grady O'Loughlin and Tamika Davidson with the prize winning sausages. Contributed

Finding culture in meat

WORKING with meat is more than just a job for Emerald butcher Jason O'Loughlin, it's a way to bring different cultures to life.

The Fair Dinkum Meats owner uses the business to highlight the history of the food, giving locals a taste of their home cultures.

"We run our business with our hearts and it shows in our food that we produce,” he said.

Through years of experience and the input of employees and customers, Fair Dinkum Meats has developed an award-winning range of sausages, inspired by different parts of the world.

Once a suggestion comes in, Mr O'Loughlin will research the sausage, cultural recipes and ingredients. If they can get the quality of ingredients needed, he will "go for it”.

"We do the South African Boerewors and stuff like that, we sell a lot of that to the South Africans. They say I should go over there and teach some of them how to make it,” he laughed.

"The Italian sausages, people use them in their cooking. They'll chop up the sausages and put them in with their bolognaise and add flavours to other dishes.

"I love (learning about) the history of the world where the sausages come from.

"It's that customer satisfaction of giving someone a taste of where they come from.”

At the recent Australian Meat Industry Council sausage competition, Fair Dinkum placed first for their Italian sausage in the continental category in the Capricorn region, as well as second for their Mongolian lamb and third for their lamb, pumpkin, feta and shallot sausage.

No stranger to the competition, Mr O'Loughlin said this was the third time they had entered and each time they've taken home more than one prize.

The team will contest the state final at this years' Ekka in Brisbane on August 29. If successful, Fair Dinkum Meats will be in the running to take out the Australian Sausage King title at the national finals in Perth next year.

"For me, it's not about the awards, it's about what my customers think,” Mr O'Loughlin said.

"It's good advertising and good exposure but we get that feedback personally from our customers. They say, 'why don't you put these ones in (the competition), they're my favourite'.”

You could say a passion for meat and service runs in the family, with Mr O'Loughlin following in his father's footsteps, and now his son, Grady, following his, at Springsure.

"My son runs the Springsure shop,” Mr O'Loughlin said.

"It was his shop that made them (prize-winning sausages) so he's pretty stoked - he actually made them.”

Blackwater Quality Meats placed third in the Best Butchers Burger Competition with its bourbon beef burger in the gourmet/open class burger category.