Slicing — not skating — on the ice in Texas Roadhouse competition

Butchers compete in qualifier for national prize

Posted 10/15/18

Usually, onlookers might see hockey players or leisurely ice skaters at South Suburban Ice Arena, but Oct. 8 was a day for chopping raw meat. Nearly 30 butchers from Texas Roadhouse restaurants in …

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Slicing — not skating — on the ice in Texas Roadhouse competition

Butchers compete in qualifier for national prize

Posted

Usually, onlookers might see hockey players or leisurely ice skaters at South Suburban Ice Arena, but Oct. 8 was a day for chopping raw meat.

Nearly 30 butchers from Texas Roadhouse restaurants in Colorado and surrounding states came to the ice rink, at 6580 S. Vine St. in Centennial, to do what they do daily: hand-cut beef. But here, they competed in a qualifier round to attempt to advance to the semi-finals for the 2018 National Meat Cutting Challenge for Texas Roadhouse meat cutters.

“Everyone wants to be the best and compete for pride and money,” said Mathew Lang, a kitchen manager in Greeley.

Lang, 32, came with two meat cutters who lined up to face between 30-40 pounds of beef each — every participant received one sirloin, one filet and one ribeye to cut, according to a news release for the event. Whoever could cut the most steaks with the highest quality in the least amount of time won.

Keeping the scene at 38 degrees on the ice assures the quality of the meat, the release said, but the cold didn’t stop the group’s intensity.

Using rulers, meat tenderizers, scales and other tools, the group — some from Thornton, Sheridan, Parker, Littleton and Arvada — went to work, meticulously slicing fat off of cuts and displaying the skills they use on the job. Meat cutters hand-cut the steaks served at Texas Roadhouse, the release said.

“It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” said Nathan Garness, a 29-year-old from Rapid City, South Dakota. “I love my job.”

The competition is part of the Meat Hero program, created in 2001 to recognize daily efforts of Texas Roadhouse meat cutters, the release said.

This year, Camerino Segura of Thornton and Auder Revelario of Longmont advanced to the semi-finals. That stage and the final competition will be held in March in Orlando, Florida. The Meat Cutter of the Year receives $20,000.

During the competition, Gabe Aumack, 20, stood to the side as a judge, watching the scale at the table in front of him to ensure the meat’s weight fell within the parameters.

“I wanted to learn a bit,” said Aumack, who came from Cheyenne, Wyoming.

A training coordinator at Texas Roadhouse, Aumack is in the learning stages of cutting meat.

“It’s really cool to be a part of that,” Aumack said. “You learn a lot about the business.”

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