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Lismore butcher Geoffrey Allen cuts his way to the top

AWARD: Lismore Country Meats manager Geoffrey Allen is proud to have won pork butcher of the month.
AWARD: Lismore Country Meats manager Geoffrey Allen is proud to have won pork butcher of the month. Marc Stapelberg

CARVING up pig carcasses hasn't changed much since Lismore butcher Geoffrey Allen started his career 43 years ago.

But the kind of cuts sold over the counter today come in many more shapes and sizes.

This month the veteran Lismore butcher was named Australian Pork's Butcher in the Spotlight, giving him the chance to reflect on how his trade had changed over the years.

In 1970 Australian meat eaters more or less stuck to three or four cuts of pork.

The hind legs were cut for roasts, the front legs pickled for hams, the shoulders for pork chops, and the ribs.

Nowadays our health-conscious diets have led to leaner options: stir fry strips, lean pork steaks, boneless pork roasts and medallions to name a few.

Mr Allen said he enjoyed the plethora of cuts on offer these days - but admitted his favourite pork cut was still a good roast leg.

"You lose the rind when you do the new style, that's the best part of the meal I reckon," he said.

Today, chicken counts for 35-40% of the meat sold over the counter at Country Meats Lismore, where Mr Allen cuts his trade.

He once ran his own butchery on Conway St and later South Lismore for 25 years but gave it up when the (then) new GST made keeping up with the books a headache.

In those days being butcher meant starting at 6am and finishing about 4pm, with Saturday arvos reserved for sport, and Sundays with the family.

Today Mr Allen works from 6am until at least 7pm, and butchers work right through the weekend.

But the 62-year-old still enjoys it and has no intention of hanging up the apron until at least another "four or five years".

"It's a good trade, it's rewarding, and you get to meet a lot of good people."

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