by | Jul 4, 2023

• A further Simmental steak takes third prize.

Firming up its eating quality credentials, Simmental steaks took first and third at this year’s prestigious Tesco Sirloin Steak competition held in conjunction with Kepak MacIntosh Donald, at the Royal Highland Show, Ingliston.

Eric Scott (centre, light blue polo shirt receiving his award at the Royal Highland Show).

The winning entry came from first-time exhibitor Eric Scott, Mains of Kindrought, Strichen with a 382kg, 25-month Simmental cross heifer which graded at R4L, and which was bred by W&A Oag, Scrabster Farm, Caithness. Typically Mr Scott finishes around 750 store cattle bought from Thainstone and Huntly each year. In all the competition saw a mighty 160 entrants from across Scotland, with all of the sirloins matured for 30 days after being processed at the Portlethen site.

Whittle down to a final twelve, the sirloins were selected as part of the Tesco Finest range and preliminary judged by the company’s technical manager Max Tooley, who said all entries were ”fantastic” examples of Scotch beef. Come the Royal Highland itself the finalist sirloins were all grilled on the Tesco stand. Five judges in all then presided and including the Chair of Quality Meat Scotland Kate Rowell, and previous winner Noel Gall from Mintlaw. The steaks were judged on appearance, taste, tenderness and succulence. An added element saw the producers also interviewed on sustainability, animal health and welfare, and with this also included in the scoring.

With Simmental steaks very much to the fore, third place in the competition went to J and AF Davidson, Tarbothill, Bridge of Don, who entered a nearly 18-month Simmental steer weighing 398kg, grading R4L.

Commenting, the British Simmental Cattle Society’s General Manager Iain Kerr said: “A huge well done to Eric Scott for winning this high-quality competition, and to the Davidsons for coming third, both with Simmental steaks. The Simmental breed is well recognised for its maternal traits, growth, and leading age at slaughter qualities, it’s great to see it now being top of the tree in this competition for tasty, tender, succulent steaks! There’s been plenty of ‘industry discussion’ about the forward beef grading system recognising eating quality and competitions such as this show just how well-suited Simmental cattle would be to that for producers, processors, retailers, and the consumer.”

Simmental steaks have consistently featured at the top end of these tasting competitions at the Royal Highland over the years, and internationally in similar competitions in North America, and beef and lamb trials in New Zealand.