Craig Munro of Munro's Quality Meats Wilberforce named top butcher at Sydney Meatstock Sydney Butcher Wars

HE's been working towards this for eight years, and finally Craig Munro has climbed to the top of the ladder at Sydney Meatstock.

The Hawkesbury butcher, owner of Munro's Quality Meats Wilberforce, was named not only number-one in the prestigious Sydney Butcher Wars Competition at Sydney Showground this month, but he was also part of the four-member Australian team that took out the win in the Tri-nations Competition against teams from New Zealand and Brazil.

"I've competed in eight of these competitions so far. This is the first time I've won," Mr Munro said.

"Since my first competition I've been getting better and better; first time I finished outside the top ten, then made the top ten, then came in fifth, then fourth, then third, and finally I've won it."

In the group competition, the teams were required to break-down a rump and loin of beef, and a whole lamb, and make them into 'sellable' products - like you'd buy from your local butcher.

"It was split up into eight-minute rounds, and each butcher from each country has specific tasks to do for each product," said Mr Munro.

"Then we were given 15 minutes at the end to present all your products - as you would in a shop front - for the judging.

"The judges were scoring on creativity, speed, technique and the final presentation."

Mr Munro said he enjoyed being part of the Australian team, and working with his fellow butcher team mates who hailed from Melbourne and Adelaide.

The Brazil team actually got in touch with Mr Munro before the competition, to do a 'practice round' at his Wilberforce butcher shop.

"They wanted to get their head around the rules because they hadn't competed before," Mr Munro said.

"It was great - they bring a much different set of skills, coming from a different background, so it was good to learn a few things from them.

"It went the other way around, too; a few things I showed them, they brought to the real competition! I was pretty impressed with the way they were able to take on new techniques so quickly."

In the individual competition - which was "very close", according to Mr Munro - competitors were given a side of lamb and a side of pork, and half an hour to create whatever products they could, and display it however they liked.

"It was a very tight competition, that one. The top ten competitors were all within 12 points of one another. I was competing against people from France, New Zealand, Brazil, Italy, and Scotland, so it was good fun," he said.

Mr Munro competed in the Sausage Competition for local butchers, at the recent Hawkesbury Show, with his traditional thick beef sausage, and a beef, chilli and pineapple variety in the gourmet category.

"It's something a bit different," he said of his gourmet entry, which you can buy from his Wilberforce shop. "The pineapple takes the edge of the chilli, so it's more like a sweet chilli."

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