Toowoomba butcher brings home bacon, wins best in state
THERE'S nothing like sitting down to a fabulous breakfast of bacon and eggs on a weekend morning.
Especially if that bacon comes from Gray's Modern Meat Mart in Toowoomba.
Owner Mark Nolan, who was already on a high from winning first place in the Leg Ham on the Bone in the Ham, Bacon, Jerky and Smallgoods competition of the 2017 Royal Queensland Show last week, said he was over the moon to have found out he'd won the top spot in the Queensland short cut category of the recent Australian PorkMark Bacon Awards.
Judges said Gray's Modern Meat Mart won over judges with a bacon that had a "very good colour, great smell, great after taste, slight smoke and perfect texture".
"To win this on top of winning the bone-in-ham last week is pretty amazing," Mr Nolan said.
Mr Nolan has worked at the meat mart for more than 30 years and has owned it for 20.
During that time, he said, he's perfected the recipe for making the perfect bacon.
"The difference between a cheap bacon and good bacon is the longer process," he said.
"You've got to have good pork to start with. Then we pickle it in our own pickle recipe, then hang it and dry it, then smoke it and then leave it to cool.
"It's a long process."
He experimented over the years, finally fine-tuning the process.
"You just gotta play around with it until you're happy," he said.
The reward for all his hard work is the fact his customers love it.
"They all say they know it's the best," he said.
"They love it. We get people who come from all over to buy it, people who've moved away stop in when they're here and get it.
"If you want real bacon, it's not cheap but it's better."
The butchers was established in 1952 and Mr Nolan took over ownership 20 years ago, after starting there after he finished his apprenticeship at another Toowoomba butcher.
He said entering awards like these and the Ekka awards was a great way to know if they were on track with their products.
"It gives you a good guide to how you're going," he said.
Australian Bacon Week runs from June 25 to July 1. Details at www.pork.com.au.