Clifton Ice Rink stages first round of National Meat Cutting Challenge

It usually hosts hockey games and skating tournaments. Next week, the Clifton Park Ice Rink will stage a different type of competition – and it requires participants to trade in ice skates and hockey pucks for their favorite butcher knives. 

The 2022 National Meat Cutting Challenge kicks off at 1 p.m. on Monday in Clifton Park  with 15 Texas Roadhouse meat-cutters from across the state competing to qualify for the semifinals and get a shot at the $25,000 grand prize. The public is invited to watch the competition. 

Each butcher will receive 30-40 pounds of beef – one sirloin, one filet and one ribeye – to cut on the ice rink to ensure all of the meat stays cold. Competitors, who will stand on a floor covering to avoid slipping, will be judged on quality, yield and speed in the timed cut-off. The winner will advance to the semifinals in March then compete for a spot in the final competition that will crown the Meat Cutter of the Year.

“It’s really an art,” Mike Davis, Texas Roadhouse Product Coach said. “We host this annual competition to celebrate our professional meat cutters. We love our people, and our meat-cutting program is one way we show appreciation and reward their hard work and dedication.”

The chilly temperature of the rink is a condition that the Texas Roadhouse employees are accustomed to. In an average year, the steakhouse butchers cut an estimated $1 million worth of meat and spend seven to eight hours a day in the walk-in cooler, according to the company.

A spokesperson said that the meat used in the competition is usually either donated to a local charity or goes back to the restaurant, depending on the region.  Albany’s Sean Collins is representing the Capital Region.

The competition is part of the Meat Hero program created in 2001 to recognize Texas Roadhouse meat cutters.

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