#ThrowbackThursday: Harrogate butcher brings home the bacon on 18th birthday

Gordon Atkinson, Owner of Elite Meat holds up some smoked goods which were entered into the awards this week. Picture: Adrian Murray

Gordon Atkinson, Owner of Elite Meat holds up some smoked goods which were entered into the awards this week. Picture: Adrian Murray

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It’s been 18 years this very week since one award-winning Harrogate business opened its doors.

Elite Meat on High Street, Starbeck, celebrated its 18th birthday in business on Tuesday (January 31).

Back then, Gordon (owner) holds up his award-winning sausages which were dubbed the best bangers in Britain!

Back then, Gordon (owner) holds up his award-winning sausages which were dubbed the best bangers in Britain!

But it is also the same week since the business won the best sausage in England at the Guild of Q Butchers’ Smithfield Awards over a decade ago.

In 2006 the business won gold and took home the title of the finest banger in the land with its pork and sweet chilli sausages.

But this week saw success for the birthday butchers again when they returned to the annual Smithfield Awards and took home the title of England’s best bacon.

After recently taking some classes on meat smoking, owner of Elite Meat, Gordon Atkinson, had said he hoped that one of the shop’s new smoked meat products would bring them home a title.

The smoked streaky bacon was the winner and now Gordon has said “We will be selling the best bacon sandwiches in the country!”

Prior to the awards Mr Atkinson said “a nice slab of silverware would be good to celebrate the 18th birthday” and that’s exactly what the team have got.

But they’re also no strangers to taking home a trophy or two since they opened in 1999.

In 2003, 2004 and 2008 the shop won best sausage in the country, in 2006 and 2007 they were the home cured gammon champions, they had the best kitchen ready product in 2010 and in 2013 they took home the best in show with their caramelised onion pâté.

Mr Atkinson said: “With the exception of the pie ones I think we have won almost every category.”

Back in 2006, Mr Atkinson had the brainwave of creating the award winning sweet chilli sausage while eating at a restaurant in Prague for his 15th wedding anniversary.

Even today he insists that you have to take inspiration from all aspects of life, including conversations with customers!