Toowoomba Meat Cellar: Aussie family-owned butcher wins world’s best bacon title

A family-owned butcher in regional Queensland has been named the home of the world’s best tasting bacon.

Meat Cellar, in Toowoomba, beat out six other butchers from around the world to take out the impressive win at the World Charcuterie Awards in London last week.

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

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

The award-winning bacon can be picked up for $24.99 a kilo and takes up to a week to be made.

Luke Jensen, co-owner of Meat Cellar, revealed it was flavoured with salt and honey.

“If you get just that balance right, 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.

The business has served the Toowoomba community for more than three decades and was bought by Mr Jensen and his wife, Michelle, in 2017.

Mr Jensen said he believed his two decades of experience as a butcher gave their bacon a fighting chance at the awards, but he never expected to take out the top gong.

“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 Cellar tries its best to sell Australian-made products, with Mr Jensen saying: “If we can keep the money local, it helps everyone grow.”

The Aussie butcher took home two more awards at the competition — silver for its bone-in ham and bronze for its boneless ham.

More than 400 products were judged during the competition, with awards available across eight different charcuterie classes, air-dried hams, cooked hams, salamis, bacon, sausages, game and poultry.

The meats 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 Spanish producer for its dry-cured ham.

Head judge and chief executive of The Institute of Meat Keith Fisher said the inaugural World Charcuterie Awards was 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.

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Originally published as Toowoomba Meat Cellar: Aussie family-owned butcher wins world’s best bacon title