A County Durham butcher has been awarded two top prizes for some of the UK's best pies and burgers after a rigorous process, which saw the two products win 'gold standard awards'.

Coates Butchers, which is based in Coxhoe, clinched two gold craft butchery honours for its traditional Steak pie and dry-aged brisket burger.

More than 200 products were put forward by butchers from up and down the UK for evaluation in this year’s Smithfield Awards, organised by the prestigious Q Guild of Butchers.

The Northern Echo: Coates Butchers, which is based in CoxhoeCoates Butchers, which is based in Coxhoe (Image: COATES BUTCHERS)

Representatives from Coates butchers are now off to London next month to see if their Traditional steak pie and dry-aged brisket burger will pick up the coveted Diamond Award, presented to the best of the best in each of the eleven categories.

A cook-off, selected from a shortlist of the Diamond Award winners, on the day of the awards in London and judged by an esteemed panel of judges, including renowned Irish butcher Pat Whelan, will also see one butcher crowned supreme champion and awarded the Smithfield Platinum Award.

The Smithfield Awards recognise and reward the best meat products from butchers across the UK, showcasing their craftsmanship, innovation and skill. Categories include Artisan Home-cured Bacon, Best Black Pudding, BBQ Product, Best Butcher’s Steak, Traditional Pork Sausage and Best Traditional Pork Pie.

The Northern Echo: The steak pies that can win the diamond awardThe steak pies that can win the diamond award (Image: COATES BUTCHERS)

Products from Coates Butchers were judged at an extensive judging session at the City of Glasgow College last month, by respected industry professionals, journalists and foodies including Scotland’s National Chef and MasterChef The Professionals winner Gary Maclean.

Products were evaluated using a points system, with the best products awarded Bronze, Silver or Gold. Gold winners in each category will now be vying for the coveted Diamond Awards which will be announced at next month’s awards ceremony on April 24, 2024, at Butchers’ Hall in London.

The Northern Echo: The award-winning burgersThe award-winning burgers (Image: COATES BUTCHERS)

Gordon Wallace, Q Guild Manager said: “The Smithfield Awards serve as a platform to highlight the pinnacle of craft butchery, elevating standards and inspiring product innovation.

"This year, over 200 products were submitted by Q Guild butchers from across the UK, marking it as the meat trade’s foremost and most rigorous product evaluation event.

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"Achieving a Gold award is a significant accomplishment, and we extend our best wishes to Coates Butchers as we approach our upcoming award ceremony.”

Butcher Ewan Lowther from Coates Butchers added: "We're thrilled to announce that we've received two Gold awards from the esteemed Q Guild of Butchers.

"These awards not only serve as a prestigious industry endorsement but also highlight the skill and innovation of our team. Here's to the possibility of our products being crowned the best in the UK!"