Toowoomba butchers Meat Cellar win title for world’s best bacon

A family-owned butcher in Queensland has been recognised for producing the best tasting bacon in the world.

Meat Cellar, located in Toowoomba, beat out six other butchers to take the win at the World Charcuterie Awards in London.

Its short cut bacon rashers were described by the judges as “visually stunning with a satisfying meat to fat ratio”.

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“The flavour is robust, enhanced by the smoke and lingers on in the mouth,” the judges said.

The business has been owned by husband and wife duo Luke and Michelle Jensen since 2017. However, it has served the Toowoomba community for over 30 years.

Luke, who has been a butcher for over two decades, thought his bacon would do well at the competition, however never expected to be recognised so highly on the world stage.

“Our team that made it, a butcher and a skills-based apprentice … they’re really chuffed,” he said.

“It’s just those little things that they get recognised for, and just sort of gives you a little bit of a spark.”

Meat Cellars’ bacon, which is flavoured with salt and honey, can take up to a week to be made.

Luke said the added honey component helps to combat the harshness of the salt.

“If you get just that balance right, it’s sort of, you’re then not going ‘hey, that just tasted like salt’, you’re actually getting the smoke flavour, the flavour of the pork,” he said.

A family-owned butcher in Queensland has been awarded the title of producing the best tasting bacon in the world.  Credit: WCA

The business also makes an effort to prioritise Australian-made products.

“If we can keep the money local, it helps everyone grow,” Luke said.

The award-winning bacon can be purchased from Meat Cellar for $24.99 a kilo.

The Aussie butcher also took home two other awards at the competition, a silver for its bone in ham and a bronze for its boneless ham.

Over 400 products were judged during the competition, with results revealed on September 11.

Awards were available across eight different classes which covered all the different kinds of meat you might see on a charcuterie board: air-dried hams, cooked hams, salamis, bacon, sausages, game and poultry.

They were judged on their taste, length of flavour, mouth feel, appearance and tradition or innovation.

The champion product of the competition was awarded to a producer in Spain for their dry-cured ham.

Head judge and chief executive of The Institute of Meat Keith Fisher said the inaugural World Charcuterie Awards were a “thrilling contest”.

“There are medals awarded to charcuterie producers from Australia, New Zealand, USA as well as the well-established European producers,” he said.

“As for the UK-based producers … who knew? In Class 1 — cured and air-dried whole muscle products — a British producer was beaten by the merest whisker as winner of Best in Class. Full credit is due to British producers, who are finally taking their place on World stage.”

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