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Grandad’s recipe sees butcher made haggis king

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By Tom Hanley
Dumfries and West
Grandad's recipe sees butcher made haggis king

A FAMILY recipe handed down from his Grandfather has helped Dumfries butcher Stuart Houston secure the Scottish Haggis Championship 2017.

His handmade haggis beat off stiff competition from around 80 butchers from all across Scotland to lift the coveted national title at the Scottish Meat Trade Fair in Perth.
And newly-crowned champion Stuart, 55, yesterday revealed the country’s best haggis owes its origins to his grandfather, Bert “Kiddie” Houston, who set up the family firm J B Houston on the outskirts of Dumfries nearly 70 years ago.
Stuart said: “This is the title I’ve wanted all my life, and it’s as much for my Grandfather as it is for me. Scottish Haggis Champion is the title every butcher chases – it feels like winning the lottery!
“When I found out we won, I was punching the air. For a small business like us, it gives us a bigger profile, a bigger marketing advantage, and gives us the chance to let new people in new places try our haggis.”
The third generation Dumfries butcher is renowned for its handmade traditional haggis, producing around 25 tons each year to meet demand, and Stuart says that with this win they are anticipating an extra 10-15 tonnes.
Using a recipe created by his grandad, Stuart admits there have been “tiny tweaks” over the years but that today’s product stays true to the original – and remains secret.
“It’s always been a secret recipe, but it will be even more secret now. We’ll have to keep it under lock and key! This year we made a few tiny tweaks, trying a more intense flavour, as well as a few tricks, and it’s worked out for us,” he said.
Stuart’s haggis was judged the South West Scotland regional champion before his entry faced another tasting panel of experts to establish the overall winner.
Head judge Gordon Wallace said the judging process had been robust and intense and said that the new Scottish Haggis Champion was a worthy winner.
He said: “It had lovely flavour, great texture and the right balance of ingredients and seasoning throughout. It also had a natural casing which added to its appeal.”

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