Meat our team – say hello to Liam Kirk

11th April 2024


Meet Liam Kirk, Cranstons Bacon and Poultry Production Supervisor who is pictured here with his wife Kelly.

Caroline, Cranstons’ Brand and Content Creator, met Liam in Cafe Oswald’s  As they settled in, Liam opened up about his experiences and responsibilities at Cranstons.  Providing behind-the-scenes insight into how our award-winning bacon is created.

Can you tell me a bit about yourself, and how you got started in the butchery profession?

Well, I’m Liam, and my journey into the world of butchery started about 19 years ago. Funnily enough, I never imagined myself here—I actually always wanted to be an electrician. But fate had other plans, and here I am, knee-deep in bacon!

What drew you to work in the bacon production department at Cranstons?

Ah, bacon—it’s like a universal language, isn’t it? Truth to be told, I stumbled into the bacon game back when I was doing my butchery apprenticeship, I was asked to cover for someone who was retiring. What kept me hooked? Well, it’s the flexibility and control I have over my day. Plus, working alongside good colleagues like Maris and Shaun makes it all the more enjoyable.

Walk us through a typical day in your role. What tasks do you find most satisfying?

A typical day kicks off at 6 am, diving straight in to picking shop orders and producing whatever’s needed. From slicing bacon to curing it just right, there’s always something on the go. But the most satisfying part? It has to be crafting that perfect batch of dry-cured bacon—it’s like a work of art hanging to dry.

It’s a meticulous process that requires precision and patience. First, we carefully coat the meat with our special curing mix, a traditional mix of salt and sugar, you have to ensure each piece is perfectly seasoned.  It’s a delicate task of layering on just the right amount of the cure to achieve that mouthwatering balance of flavours.

Once the curing process is complete, it’s time to hang the bacon to dry. There’s a sense of pride that comes with knowing we’re creating something truly special.

And when the time finally comes to sample our handiwork, that’s when all the hard work pays off, knowing we’ve carefully cured every slice of dry cured bacon that leaves our counters makes me proud- it makes all the early mornings and long days’ worth it.

Are there any challenges or unique aspects of working specifically in bacon production that people might not be aware of?

Oh, you bet. Beyond the savoury aroma, there’s a whole lot of meticulous work that goes into each rasher. From ensuring the perfect thickness to precisely trimming the fat, each step requires careful attention to detail.

Meeting the massive Christmas trading peak at Cranstons is a challenge especially as our team look after our value-added poultry alongside bacon. We prepare items like the chuckling and Christmas cushion. It’s challenging, sure, but knowing that we’re providing families with the center-piece of their holiday meals makes it all worth it in the end.


How would you describe the team atmosphere in the bacon production department? Is there a strong sense of teamwork?

Absolutely! We’re like a well-oiled machine, each of us playing a crucial role in the bacon/poultry making process. Maris, Shaun and I get along well– it’s a happy atmosphere.

Cranstons is known for its commitment to quality. How do you contribute to maintaining high standards in bacon production?

Quality is non-negotiable here at Cranstons. We follow the recipe to a ‘T’, pouring our heart and soul into every batch we make. It’s all about taking pride in our work and striving to deliver the best product every single time.

What’s your favourite type of bacon, and do you have a special way of preparing it at home?

Ah, smoked streaky bacon—that’s my jam. There’s nothing like waking up to the smell of sizzling bacon in the morning. And when Kelly’s (Liam’s wife, whom he met 10 years ago at Cranstons) in charge of full breakfast, you know it’s going to be a good day!


How do you manage to maintain a healthy work-life balance, especially during busy periods in bacon production?

For me, it’s all about leaving work at work. Sure, bacon production can get hectic, especially during the holidays, but I’ve learned to switch off and enjoy quality time with my family. Oh, and a good walk or a bit of footie helps clear the mind too.

Are there any hobbies or activities outside of work that you find refreshing?

Absolutely! I’m a huge LEGO fan—I love building sets with my daughter. I also love experimenting in the kitchen, whipping up spicy Chinese or Mexican dishes.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in butchery or bacon production?

Run! Nah, just kidding. But seriously, patience is key in this game. It’s not always glamorous, but with practice and perseverance, you can become a master craftsman. And hey, the world needs its fair share of bacon enthusiasts, right?

What qualities do you think are crucial for success in this profession?

You’ve got to be able to handle the pressure if you work in fresh food production, especially during busy periods. But above all, taking pride in your work and striving for perfection is what sets the great butchers apart from the rest.

If you could invent a completely new bacon flavour or combination, what would it be, and how do you imagine people reacting to it?

Irn Bru bacon! I mean, who wouldn’t want a hint of that sweet, bubbly goodness infused into their bacon? Sure, it might raise a few eyebrows, but hey, that’s what innovation is all about.

Every profession has its soundtrack. What songs or music do you think best capture the vibe of working in bacon production? Is there a specific song that motivates you during a busy day?

If it were up to me, it’d be heavy metal all the way—nothing gets the adrenaline pumping like a bit of Iron Maiden or Metallica.

If you had the chance to share a plate of bacon with any celebrity, dead or alive, who would it be and why? What bacon dish would you prepare for them?

If I had the chance, I’d definitely share a plate of bacon with Elvis Presley! The man knew how to appreciate good food, and I can only imagine the stories we’d swap over a crispy bacon sandwich. As for the dish, I’d whip up something special—a Hawaiian bacon chop stuffed with pineapple and mozzarella!

If you were to create a signature bacon dish exclusively for Cranstons, what would it be like? Feel free to get as wild and creative as you want!

Oh, now we’re talking! For a signature bacon dish exclusive to Cranstons, I’d pull out all the stops. Picture this: a bacon-wrapped pork loin, stuffed with a savoury-sweet apple and sage filling. Slow-roasted to perfection and served with a tangy maple glaze, this dish would be a showstopper on any menu. It’s bold, it’s flavourful, and it’s everything that Cranstons stands for—quality, innovation, and of course, delicious bacon.

Quick fire round:

Bacon or sausage?

Really? Do you need to ask?!

What dessert do you think would be enhanced by adding bacon?

Eton Mess! The sweet, tangy flavours would pair perfectly with crispy bacon bits (hahaha)

If you could instantly teleport to any place in the world for a vacation, where would it be?

Berlin! I’d love to soak up the vibrant culture, drink some beer, and indulge in some delicious ham hocks.

Do you have a hidden talent that not many people know about?

I can cross my eyes! It’s not exactly useful in the bacon business, but it always gets a laugh.

What’s your go-to comfort food after a long day?

Chinese takeaway, without a doubt. Nothing beats a piping hot bowl of noodles or some crispy fried rice.

One item on your bucket list you’re determined to check off?

Germany! Specifically, I’ve got my eye on visiting the Miniature Museum in Hamburg. Call me a big kid, but there’s something fascinating about tiny worlds.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Laser vision! Just imagine the time I could save slicing bacon with my eyes. Efficient, right?

Winter, spring, summer, or fall?

Winter—it’s all about those cosy nights in with a hot cuppa after a long day at work.