Hungerford Meat Co has a deep and rich history embedded in the agriculture of the Hunter Valley. When we were presented with the opportunity to take over this historic building and butchery we also inherited an opportunity to slow the process down and bring the butcher’s shop back to what it used to be.
Working with as many small local producers and farmers as possible and taking care to use the whole animal – not just in our fresh cuts in the butcher’s cabinet, but also through our charcuterie and smoked meat range – we found we could better connect local kitchens with the region.
When Michael Robinson took over the butchery in 2016, his direction was clear. After 15 years working as a chef in some of the best kitchens in the world (La Trompette in London to Ortolan in LA and both Bathers Pavilion and Becasse in Sydney), Michael knew what was required to cook the best meat and create the best charcuterie. He had also worked with some of the best producers in the country.
His ideals had been formed: sustainably produced, grass-fed where possible, rare breed where available. This is a butcher who has worked from the kitchen backwards, and then from the farm forwards. This is the traditional idea of the butcher, taking a place between the farm and the kitchen.
Hungerford’s Butchery and Smokehouse was created by Claude Hungerford in 1937. The shop became his legacy, a tradition of butchery that he passed on to his son, then his grandson. A predominant family in the Valley, Claude was, of course, related to the Hungerfords of Hungerford Hill, but also had relatives in the Tyrrell family.
The Hungerford family also had interests in the saleyards and abattoir in Pokolbin and so the butcher’s shop was a natural extension. This was a butcher’s shop built in the traditional mould, were the connection to the farmers and animals was paramount.
The Hungerford family ran the butchery for over sixty years. It is a history and legacy we are very proud to continue.