A new boutique butcher opens in the Hunter Valley | Oink Oink
When there’s customers lined up out the front of your shop at 7.30am, chances are, you’re onto a good thing. And no, I’m not talking about the usual early-birds – bakeries, cafés, newsagents or bait ‘n’ tackle shops.
That’s how it was when I popped in an for an early morning chat at The Pickled Pig Butchery, Cessnock’s latest store opening.
I can assure you the queue isn’t just a health and safety measure, although owner Jason Pearson is happily doing his part, allowing no more than three customers in store at once (for the time being anyway).
No, this line is the kind that denotes a fan base. Every time I drive past, it’s always there. Rain, hail or shine.
So naturally, I was pretty excited to meet the man and brand behind so much talk and popular custom here in town and take home some goodies to try for myself.
By most standards, I’m on the clock pretty early today. Not for Jason though. A usual day for him (weekends included) starts at 4am and yes, The Pickled Pig is open seven days! As you’d expect for someone who rises before the rooster crows, Jason is passionate about what he does and he’s been doing it for a while now.
Starting his trade fresh out of school at his father’s butchery in Kurri Kurri, aged 15, Jason’s career as a butcher is quite extensive. Judging by the quality fit-out and the revolving door of customers, he's been pretty successful too!
Before opening this rather impressive looking store here in town, Jason had two other butcheries under The Pickled Pig banner. The first at Belmont which he sold in 2017 and the second at The Junction which he sold just this year. He’s passionate yes, but industrious and obviously, has a good business acumen to boot.
Growing up in Kurri Kurri, Jason was keen to move back to the area. After selling up at The Junction, he relocated and approached the former butchery tenant about buying the prime location on Wollombi Road.
The offer must’ve been just right, with Jason commencing a three-month renovation of the space before his quiet store opening in late April. Perhaps the reno, which was delayed (thanks to you know what) worked in his favour. I for one, kept a watchful eye on the corner block as designers, painters and tradies brought The Pickled Pig to life. I suspect however, it was mostly the kudos Jason’s earned over the years, providing quality gourmet meats to the people of Newcastle. Good news travels fast does it not?
“People are still lining up and we’ve been open now for seven weeks. The support from Cessnock and the surrounding communities has been great.” Jason Pearson
Thankfully, it didn’t matter that there wasn’t much fan-fare at the opening. A relief you could say for this super-busy Butcher. Quite frankly, he just wouldn’t have had the time! All of it, as you’ll note when you walk into the shop, is spent sourcing and preparing quality cuts of meat for you and me.
In fact, I’m surprised on checking out the produce, that the prices at The Pickled Pig are so reasonable. Certainly not what you’d expect for a gourmet butcher with Jason’s reputation. Jason assures me that these aren’t ‘introductory specials’ either. He works with local meat suppliers and as you’ll see, he orders a lot!
From Chicken Thigh Schnitzels and Pork Belly to Crumbed Lamb Cutlets, Spicy Sausages and everything in between, The Pickled Pig has all the meaty morsels a carnivore could dream of.
They also make ready-to-cook stir-fry meals, making those mid-week dinners a breeze, and sell eggs, condiments and quality packaged Pork Crackling. In time, Jason will re-introduce his popular cured meats too.
If you like to ‘try before you buy’, Jason regularly hosts Mulga Bill’s catering, who uses a selection of The Pickled Pigs finest produce to cook up delicious BBQ fare like pulled pork and slow smoked brisket burgers.
And, not that you need another reason to buy your meats from The Pickled Pig, but Jason doesn’t mind in-store comps. In fact, he’s got them running every fortnight and the prizes? Well, they’re smoking hot! At the moment you can win a Charcoal BBQ or a Meat Smoker when you spend $30. He’s been known to giveaway cash, vouchers and other BBQ gear too.
A little birdy also tells me they’re planning a ‘Christmas in July’ special that has something to do with the store’s name. Intrigued? Well, keep following The Pickled Pig on their social channels for more details about this, their fortnightly competitions and for updates on the eta of their online store which, by the way, is going to be huge!
“We love seeing people at the shop, but the online store is an easy option for busy people. You place your meat order by 10am and it’ll be delivered to your place on the next run. Usually within 1-2 days.”
Bring it on! Click here to follow The Pickled Pig on Instagram. Oink, oink.