Area meat connoisseurs had their work cut out for them.
Tuesday in Norwich, 18 professional meat cutters were at the Rose Garden Ice Rink to show off their skills.
Participants from Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire competed in the first round of the Qualifier Meat Cutting Challenge.
The competition ran from 9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Channel 3 will stream the event live on Facebook.
Each participant received 25 to 30 pounds of beef consisting of one sirloin, one filet and one ribeye to cut.
They were judged on quality, yield and speed in the timed cut-off.
"We cut over 400 pounds of sirloin each day," said Cory McCarthy, a Texas Roadhouse meat cutter. "As a meat-cutter, we stand in a cooler that is 44 degrees, sometimes eight to 10 hours, just cutting steaks for the restaurant."
Organizers said the winner was the cutter who yielded the most steaks with the highest quality cut in the least amount of time.
To ensure the freshest quality of the meat, the competition happened on the ice in 38 degree temperatures.
Two challengers will advance to the semi-finals where they'll compete for the opportunity to participate in the 2018 National Meat Cutting Challenge this March in Orlando.
The winner in Orlando gets a grand prize of $20,000.
"Meat cutting is truly a lost art, and the talented men and women participating in this competition are the best at what they do," said Jake Hall, Texas Roadhouse product coach. "The National Meat Cutting Challenge is our way of recognizing the significant contributions our meat cutters make each day."
The challenge is part of the Meat Hero program, which was created in 2001 to recognize the work of Texas Roadhouse meat cutters.
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