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Waco butcher competes in national Meat Cutter Challenge

Posted at 6:33 PM, Jan 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-12 19:33:12-05

WACO, Texas — One Waco butcher is a cut above the rest. Jose Alevera has been cutting steaks for the past 10 years at Texas Roadhouse and now he's taking his talents nationwide. The Waco Butcher is competing in a National Meat Cutter Competition.

  • Jose Alevera is competing in Texas Roadhouse's annual 2023 Meat Cutter Challenge. He is currently in the top 25 and will compete in the semi-finals Wednesday, January 17th, 2023 in Houston.
  • Alevera has been working at the Waco Texas Roadhouse since he was 15 years old.
  • Alevera will have one hour and 15 minutes to cut 40 pounds of meat, he will be judged on his speed and his cutting quality.
  • The winner of the Meat Cutter Competition will win 25 thousand dollars.

From the cracking of peanuts to the sizzling meats on the grill, When you walk through the doors at Texas Roadhouse in Waco, the steak you’re getting is cut by one of the top 25 butchers in the country.

“I love cutting meat because its nice and its fun, you have a lot of fun, I prefer cutting the steaks over working in the kitchen,” Alevera said.

Jose Alevera started out as a dishwasher at Texas Roadhouse when he was 15 years old, now more than 30 years later he’s pushed himself everyday.

“I’ve gotten so far because I kept pushing myself to be better and better,” he said.

He’s competing in the 2023 meat cutter challenge in Houston.

“We’ll have one hour and 15 minutes to cut sirloin, filet and ribeye, and out of those three we try to lose the least amount of meat and we make them look as nice as they can be,” he said.

This isn’t Alevera’s first rodeo, this is his second time to make it this far, hoping to bring home $25,000.

“At first you get nervous, but once you start cutting, you’re thinking, numbers, numbers, losing almost nothing, and trying to cut it perfect. If you want a 6 oz, the most you want to cut is 6.2, 6.3,” Alevera said.

If it’s too heavy or too light, you’re disqualified, but as someone who’s been slicing meat for 10 years, Alevera knows just the right amount.

“As I see, and feel it in my hand and I’m like, ah no I didn’t cut too much off,” he said.

And if it’s too heavy or too light, you’re disqualified. Alevera is hoping he slices his way to the top. His favorite cuts are the ribeye and the filet, he said, the sirloin is the most difficult.

“I feel good, and confident, because I’ve been doing this for a really long time, so I’m not embarrassed for anyone to see me, because I know what cutting meat is," he said.

If Alevera makes it past Wednesday’s round, he’ll be in the finals. One steak closer to the 25 thousand dollar prize. He tells me if he wins, he will pay off his debts.