BUTCHER’S BEST STORY BY BEV JORDAN | PHOTO KAREN TAYLOR

Dean Byrnes with Craig Munro

Craig Munro was in pre-school when he fell in love with being in the butcher’s shop where both his grandfather Harold, and his dad, Barry worked.

He left Hawkesbury High at the age of 15 to start his apprenticeship in the family run business, Munro’s Quality Meat in Wilberforce, and has been winning awards ever since.

The last few months have been huge. Last weekend Craig, now 32, won the hotly contested Meatstock Butchers’ Wars in Sydney before a crowd of over 15,000.

“We had 30 minutes to cut, prepare and present a side of lamb and pork,” he said.

Judging was on presentation, speed, creativity and technique. The win followed a huge result in the Tri-Nation’s butchers’ awards where Craig was a member of the Australian team which beat teams from Brazil and New Zealand to take the top title.

In April, there were more awards at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, where Munro’s Quality Meats won the ham and bacon competition.

In what was the tightest points score for the trophy in many years, the little family butcher’s shop impressed judges with it’s hams and bacon again. The family shop has won four of the past five Royal Easter shows.

“We believe that for quality smallgoods we must start with quality pork,” said Barry Munro when asked about his secrets.

They were cured and soaked in brine for two weeks before a long, slow cooking program and finished with a heathy dose of hickory smoke.

Points were awarded for even colour, aroma, overall appearance and of course flavour and taste.

The hams also took top place in the Australian Meat Industry’s small goods competition in March.

Craig, who was named the State’s first Master Butcher at the end of last year, said he loves working in the family business.

His grandfather retired in 2011 and his father is stepping back a bit. The staff of nine work with head butcher Dean Byrnes while Craig is winning for Australia.

Munro’s Quality Meats is at Shop 2, Wilberforce Shopping Centre, King Road, Wilberforce. Cal 02 45 75 1961