Search narrows for best Scotch steak

Steaks from 12 sirloins have been selected to compete for the accolade of best Scotch steak at next month's Royal Highland Show at Ingliston, Edinburgh.

The final 12 were selected from a record entry of 151 cattle at McIntosh Donald's Portlethen meat plant, near Aberdeen, and will now compete for the coveted McIntosh Donald/Tesco championship trophy and a cash prize of £1000 in a cook-off of steaks from the short-listed sirloins on the Tesco stand at the show.

"The standard of all the entries was very high which reflects the quality of cattle supplied by Scottish farmers to McIntosh Donald's plant throughout the year for Tesco's Finest range," said Tesco technical manager, Peter Broadbent, who chaired the judging panel.

Sirloins were selected from 75 cattle - whittled down from the original 151 according to weight and classification - on the basis of visual appraisal. Steaks from the 12 sirloins selected will be cooked at the show by celebrity chef, Colin Capon, and sampled by an expert tasting panel, which will include NFU Scotland president, Jim McLaren.

Capon and McLaren will be joined on the panel by Matt Hood, senior buying manager with Tesco, and Alasdair Fletcher, editor of The Scottish Farmer.

The final 12 sirloins came from five steers and seven heifers and comprised eight Limousin cross, three Charolais cross and one Blonde cross.