Clifton Park ice rink hosts a meat-cutting challenge; Dozens of steaks cut, judged – The Daily Gazette

CLIFTON PARK — A winner was expected to be announced Monday evening after the qualifying round of Texas Roadhouse’s Meat Cutting Challenge took place earlier in the day.

On Monday, 12 meat cutters from different Texas Roadhouse restaurants in New York and one from Vermont competed in the company’s annual Qualifier Meat Cutting Challenge. The Capitol Ice Arena in Clifton Park hosted this round of the competition.

Competitors cut dozens of steaks and the steaks were judged later that evening for weight, size and a number of other specifications. The meat cutters had one hour to process about 35 pounds of beef into different cuts of meat.

The winner of Monday’s contest will advance to the regional round, which has about 50 entrants from across the East Coast, said Texas Roadhouse product trainer Michael Davis. The final winner of the competition will receive $25,000.

Davis explained that the competitors were used to the cooler temperatures inside the arena during the competition. “They cut all the steaks,” he said. “They’re in a cooler all day, eight to 10 a.m., 36 degrees, just cutting fresh hand-cooked steaks all day.”

Texas Roadhouse trains its meat cutters for 20 days, Davis said. Their development never stops, he said, explaining that they attend classes, seminars and meetings like the competition on Monday.

Steaks make up about 44% of the Texas Roadhouse menu, and the company reports that meat cutters cut an average of $1 million worth of meat per restaurant per year.

“There’s a ton of education, because it’s a lot of money, so it’s really important that they know what they’re doing,” Davis said.

All of the restaurant’s steaks have their own specifications, Davis said. Competitors’ steaks are measured for height, width and length, Davis explained, and they’re also rated for fat allowances and sinew allowances.

Judges measure the different types of steaks cut by competitors and see who is most accurate in their finished cuts. Judges weigh each steak with a scale to see if it is within three-tenths of variance and measure the steaks with a ruler down to one-sixteenth of an inch.

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