Get a taste of this lineup: linguiça in 2009, chorizo in 2010, smoked summer sausage in 2011, fresh pork sausage in 2012, and, for 2013, low-sodium fresh pork sausage.
UC Davis Meat Lab student employees produced all of these in grand champion style, in the collegiate division, five years in a row, as judged in the California Association of Meat Processors’ cured meat show, part of the association's annual convention.
UC Davis hosted this year’s event, where the UC Davis team not only took the grand champion title (first place) but the champion title (third place) as well, plus the Norm Eggen Championship Cup for highest achieving university (top three scores, combined).
Kyle Anderson, Antonio Beltran, Cindy Garcia and Kristina Rothery comprised the UC Davis team, with each member preparing low-sodium fresh pork sausage as the designated product for collegiate judging in 2013.
Garcia prepared the grand champion entry, Rothery prepared the champion entry, and Anderson received a merit award. Together, they gave the UC Davis team the highest combined score for the championship cup.
There were 24 entries in all, from UC Davis; Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; California State University, Chico; and CSU Fresno.
The judging panel — three best-of-show winners from among the commercial exhibitors in the association's cured meat contests — evaluated each of the collegiate entries internally and externally prior to cooking, and again after cooking. Then they put them to the taste test.
Sign on La Rue Road
Caleb Sehnert, Meat Lab manager, explained that each year he forms (and advises) a meat processing team of student employees — each of whom must have completed the small-plant operations course (Animal Science 49G) that he teaches, and completed an internship.
Sehnert has served on the California Association of Meat Processors board for the last three years, and, at this year’s convention, was elected vice president.
Want to taste Meat Lab products for yourself? Public sales are held from 1 to 5:30 p.m. every Thursday and Friday. More information, including price list and location, is available online.