WHILE many businesses in Powys have been crippled by mounting bills in the face of the cost-of-living and energy crisis, a Powys butcher continues to find a cutting edge and try to re-invent himself.

Peter Smith has been a butcher for 20 years and works at the family-owned AJ Pugh Butchers shop in Knighton. But he decided he needed to change things up a little when Wales became gripped by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

In July 2020 Pete created what he described as the UK’s biggest sausage roll, weighing in at a mighty, meaty 1kg, measuring 19 inches and available at the shop for £15.

He then created his own Facebook group – Craft Butchers International, an inner circle for butchers. On there he posted various monthly giveaways and showcased some of his own unique skills via videos – you may remember him as the blindfolded butcher, who appeared in online clips making sausages without being able to see.

He’s continued to innovate over the last few years and learn new techniques – he’s even working alongside renowned barbecue chef Marcus Bawdon, who has released two books and has his own YouTube channel.

Pete, 37, said: “I’m now working alongside Marcus who has been on TV and has his own show. He and son have won a Great Taste Award for their haggis.

“He teaches people in the UK how to barbecue their food and I spoke to him about the cold side of smoking, which led to me purchasing a machine.


“I’ve been put in touch online with a company called Pro Q too, they’re joining with Marcus to showcase UK food and the barbecue and smoking side. It’s about learning different techniques. I’ve since made some maple bacon, which has a sweet taste and smell.”

Pete has taken over the running of the American Butchers group on Facebook, which has 17,000 followers, and has recently teamed up with seasoning specialists Angus & Oink, as well as I.O.Shen Mastergrade Knives.

It’s involved a lot of adaptation, but Pete feels that is key to longevity, especially in the wake of other butcher shops shutting down locally.

Popular high street business J Williams and Son Butchers ceased trading a few weeks ago in Llandrindod Wells – open for more than half a century it was believed to have been one of the spa town’s longest-running and oldest businesses.

Pete added that another butchers in Bridgenorth, just across the Powys border from Knighton in Shropshire, closed recently too.  

“I feel in order to keep your business running you have to embrace newer and more modern ways to attract new customers,” added Pete.

“It’s like farmers diversifying more and more with holiday lets or chicken farms. It’s about embracing the modern-day professional world.”

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