NORWICH -- Think Iron Chef mixed with being elbow to elbow with your top competitors, wielding knives inside a hockey rink.
“I’m a little nervous. Every time I think you come to one of these events you get the nerves kicking in a little bit,” Edward Ludwig, a butcher from Newington, New Hampshire.
Butchers hailing from all across the Northeast bundled up Tuesday at the Rose Garden Arena in Norwich for the Texas Roadhouse challenge. The goal was to see who could craft the best steaks with the 30 pounds of beef on their blocks.
“Everybody is focused on the cutting boards and knives and doing your job, this is what we do every day, it’s nothing different it’s just doing it in a different setting and being able to handle yourself. You have to have a lot of nerve,” says butcher Brent Moran from Springfield, Massachusetts.
The winner here is determined by who can yield most number of steaks, with the highest quality cuts, in the least amount of time all while being in a 38 degree arena.
“If you use your specifications and you use your ruler and everything you can get the highest yield possible,” says Ludwig.
"I’m thinking 'What would I want to serve to myself when I’m working', so I put pride into my work and integrity into my work that’s what I think about," says Moran.
Why should someone watching or reading from the comfort of their own home care about what these competitors are able to do? The butchers say it’s simple.
“I think America in general, we love our meat, we love our red meat," says Ludwig.
"I would say it’s important from a guest perspective, would you rather a Cryovac steak, or would you rather have a fresh-cut steak?” adds Moran.
The top two finishers from this ice-side showdown will get the chance to warm up a bit and go after a national title in Florida
“I would love to go down to Orlando, so I’m pretty excited, and I’m pretty confident today. So, I’m feeling pretty good” says Ludwig.
Win or lose, the steaks won’t be going to waste, they’ll be served up in restaurants in Manchester, Danbury, Waterbury and West Haven to name a few.