Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

New Zealand's bacon of the year winner revealed

Chris Brown says he has been working towards New Zealand's top bacon prize for years. Photo / Greg Bowker
Chris Brown says he has been working towards New Zealand's top bacon prize for years. Photo / Greg Bowker

A small Canterbury butchery has beaten more than 50 contestants to reign supreme in this year's bacon awards.

Ellesmere Butchery, in Leeston, Christchurch, was yesterday awarded the New Zealand Bacon of the Year prize for its sugar-cured middle bacon.

The bacon was awarded a stellar 100 out of 100 points from an expert panel of 33 judges on competition day, which was July 13.

Butchery owners Chris and Sue Brown said they had been working towards the top prize for several years and had entered products in the New Zealand Pork competition since it began in 2008.

"Two years ago we won two of the five gold medals, but we didn't get the Bacon of the Year. It's great to actually get there this year."

Mr Brown has been working in the butchery industry for 23 years and said he still ran his business the "old-fashioned way".

"[Bacon's] very much a traditional product and it's 100 per cent handmade.

"And ours is still an old-fashioned country butcher's smokehouse," he said. "We go out there and light the fire up and heat it, and give it eight hours of smoke."

Mr Brown said he and his wife, who employ seven staff, began testing bacon cuts about six months out from the competition.

"We normally have bacon once a week, or once every two weeks.

"But as it [the competition] gets closer, we eat more and more of it. It's pretty intense."

Another family-run butchery took the highly sought-after consumer choice category. Lucia Rodrigues, who owns Grey Lynn Butchers in Auckland with her husband, Richard, won the consumer choice award.

Unlike the five other categories, the consumer choice award is decided by members of the public who text in their favourite butcher's name.

- APNZ

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