Product. Ring-a-ding-ding, there is a new Bacon King!
Stepping into the king’s shoes is no easy feat, but Josh Perry has done it just four months after taking over Smithton butcher shop, Johnston Gourmet Meats.
Following on from the success of long-standing owner Peter Johnston, Perry and his team of seven have been recognised at the Australian Bacon Awards for producing Tasmania’s best short-cut and full-rasher bacon.
“We’re very over the moon! We entered it with no expectation,” Perry said on Monday.
Entering the competition only two weeks after taking over the business in March, Perry admits he “didn’t have time to pick out anything specific”.
“We had to use what we had ready to go . . . which made it even more fantastic of a win because it’s stuff that we sell to the public day in and day out.”
And the sales are continuing, with a 20 per cent increase in bacon sales since.
Announced in time for Australian Bacon Week from June 21 to 27, the national awards celebrate homegrown product. With 10 years of livestock experience behind him, Perry is using predominately Tasmanian pork alongside some product sourced from the mainland.
Up against 135 entries, the local cuts were assessed on appearance, flavour and aroma among other characteristics – earning a special mention from judges.
“We really love what we produce here,” Perry said, “and we think everyone should have the chance to taste it.
“Full credit in a way goes to Peter for the recipes. I just have to keep the standard as high.”
Despite basking in the newly earned title, Perry admits it could not have been done without all the king’s men – and women.
“I can’t do it without the great staff that I have. They’re a real backbone of the business, especially with me and my wife (Jennifer) coming in and being new in the industry.”
Perry thanked his seven staff, in particular Craig Tuxworth for the “wonderful work they do”.
“All of them play a part . . . some cut, some pick and pack it, some pump it in the brine, and I cook it and smoke it. We all have a part to play in sending that bacon out the door.”