FOR a third year running, local butcher Paul Carey will compete as a finalist in the National Sausage King Competition.
Carey, chasing his first national title, conquered the Queensland regionals before winning the state finals.
His pork sausages saw him through in 2011, with his lamb sausages qualifying him in 2012.
He hopes this time his beef sausages will finally prove to be a cut above the rest.
"It's very exciting to be headed there again and something I've strived to do for a long time," Mr Carey said.
"I'm just hoping to take the next step and win the title."
He's not bitter about two losses on the trot either.
Mr Carey has worked hard every year to produce better meat and it's clearly the reason he sees himself on the national stage once again.
"Because I haven't won doesn't mean I haven't gained anything out of it," he said.
"I always talk to the judges - never sour grapes that I didn't win.
"We've always come back, tweaked things, seen what they've said and taken it on board."
All the meat is locally sourced through sale yards with only milk-fed animals being used.
This ensures only the highest quality meat is produced and doesn't deteriorate especially during Queensland's recent droughts.
But what's really Carey's recipe for success?
"Sausages are simple," he said. "People think about adding bits of this and that, spices - it's all about the meat."
The national competition will be held in the Hunter Valley on Saturday, February 1.