Four Houston Butchers Advance to Regional $25,000 Meat-Cutter Challenge

By: Nicole Vesco
| Published 01/20/2022

Jesus Jaimes - Conroe, TX

TAMPA, FL -- When area butchers hit the ice rink at TGH Ice Plex in Tampa next week, they won’t need skates or hockey sticks to score. To prove they’re a cut above the competition 19 professional meat-cutters, from across the region will compete on the ice in the second round of the National Meat Cutter Challenge.

Area Butchers Slice on Ice in Regional Competition

Each participant receives 30-40 pounds of beef, consisting of one sirloin, one filet and one ribeye to cut. Meat cutters are judged on quality, yield, and speed in this timed cut-off. The winner is the cutter who yields the most steaks, with the highest quality cut in the allotted time. To assure the best, freshest quality meat, all cutting is done at a chilly 38 degrees.

Top scoring challengers in the region will advance to the final round in Louisville, KY. The winner of the national competition receives a grand prize of $25,000 and is crowned Meat Cutter of the Year.

“Hand-cut steaks are a signature element of our success and our culture,” says Chase Evans, Regional Product Coach Director. “The annual competition allows our meat cutters to showcase their skills. They’re the best of the best!”

“Our hand-cut steaks are our most popular items on the menu,” Regional Marketing Director Nicole Vesco says. “Having in-house meat cutters allows us to provide a higher quality to our guests and still maintain our value.”

Participating Meat-Cutters

• Jason Allen - Chattanooga, TN

• Henry Berdugo - Austin, TX

• Christopher Byrd - Decatur, AL

• Tony Caro - Ocoee, FL

• Jose Luis Carpio - Houma, LA

• Manuel Celis - Hendersonville, TN

• George Clauson - Brandon, FL

Alejandro Cristobal - Richmond, TX

• Benito Galindo - Covington, LA

David Garcia - Houston, TX

• Alvaro Gomez - Lafayette, LA

Jorge Grimaldi - Katy, TX

Jesus Jaimes - Conroe, TX

• Jose Lemus - Richmond, VA

• Jordan Mitz - Melbourne, FL

• Nicasio Ramirez - Panama City Beach, FL

• Ernesto Reyes - Lady Lake, FL

• Daniel Rivera - Covington, LA

• Abraham Vazquez - San Marcos, TX

Each Meat Cutter is responsible for hand-cutting every steak served at their local Texas Roadhouse. In an average year, they cut about $1 million worth of meat and spend seven to eight hours a day cutting meat in the 35-degree walk-in cooler.

The National Meat Cutting Challenge is part of the Meat Hero program, created in 2001, to recognize daily efforts of Texas Roadhouse meat cutters. Meat cutters hand-cut each steak served at the restaurants. Their work is displayed in the lobby where guests are invited to choose their favorite steak.

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