WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Thirty-four butchers that work for Texas Roadhouse across the state of Kansas competed in the first round of the Qualifier Meat Cutting Challenge at the Wichita Ice Center Monday.

“We really have some high-level, skilled craftsmen here,” said John Head, a product coach at Texas Roadhouse. “They’ve taken years to really develop their craft and really be skillful with handling a knife. Some of these guys have been training all year since last time we got together because they really want to have that opportunity to advance and to show at that their craftmanship level, they can perform at a very high level.”

“We practice for months,” said Lorenzo Martinez, a butcher at the west Wichita Texas Roadhouse. “But we do this every day. We always practice with a purpose and this is a purpose right now, and hopefully, we will advance to the next round.”

Each participant received 30-40 pounds of beef, consisting of one sirloin, one filet and one ribeye to cut.

The butchers, or meat cutters, were judged on quality, yield and speed in the timed cut-off.

“We are cutting hand-cut steaks for the same as we would in our restaurants,” said Head. “We are cutting for quality and for yield and for speed. They have to be skilled in making pretty steaks, but also ones that weigh the correct amount. We always want to give our guests what we promised. If they order an 11-ounce sirloin, we’re going to give them an 11-ounce sirloin.”

The winner was the cutter who yielded the most steaks with the highest quality cut in the least amount of time.

“The judges score the steaks based on our quality specifications: length, dimension, the amount of fat we’re allowed to have on there, all the things we look for in our restaurant every day,” said Head.

The meat was cut at 38 degrees to assure the best and freshest quality meat.