Butcher Paul Clarke is celebrating having the best bangers around.
Paul, who runs George H Pickings Jnr’s village butchers in Front Street, East Boldon, has come out on top of a British Sausage Week contest.
He picked up the prize for best innovative sausage in the North East for his new pork, spicy tomato and sticky onion creation at the British Sausage Week Banger Awards.
Paul, who created the flavour alongside staff member Stephen Auton, said: “We won the contest three years ago with our Pitmen’s Porker sausage, that was pork with black pudding, but this time they changed the rules and said we had to re-invent the sausage.
“I though, ‘how am I meant to do that? If I take it out of the skin it’ll become a burger’, but they said it was all about creating a new flavour.
“Everyone does apple or leek but we wanted to do something totally different and Stephen came up with the spicy tomato idea and we gave it a try.”
It’s selling really well, it absolutely flies off the shelves and the customers can’t keep their hands off my award – it looks really funny.Paul Clark
Paul sent off his sausage to the judges, who cooked and tested it, as well as the hundreds of other entries from around the country.
He added: “It’s a proper flavour sensation and it’s great to win because it shows that I’m still doing something right and have new ideas even after doing it for 35 years.
“It was great that Stephen suggested the flavour as well because it shows that he’s really keen to learn and that I’ve taught him something.
“It’s selling really well, it absolutely flies off the shelves and the customers can’t keep their hands off my award – it looks really funny.
“It’s great to have banter with people when they come in though, it’s like going back to the good old days when it wasn’t just about offering a great product but also a great service to encourage people to keep coming back.
“The competition used to be all about presentation but it’s about the taste now. There used to be three or four of these a year and there’s only two or three now so it feels brilliant to win the North East award.
“Our Pitmen’s Porker sausage is still one of our best sellers and I think this one is going the same way.”