History | Awards | Our Philosophy | In the News

History of RJ Balson & Son

In 1535, John Balson began trading meat at the local market in Bridport, Dorset, England. The Balson family has continued trading in Butchery for almost 500 years, making us England's oldest family butchers. Today, RJ Balson and Son butcher shop can be found in the same location it has been since 1880. The Balsons have managed to survive the influx of supermarkets and fast food, and still run a successful family business after all those years. The family joke is that we've just never made enough money to be able to retire.

Balson's butcher shop has become especially famous for its handmade specialty sausages. Our unique sausages have won numerous awards at county and national competitions. In our small shop located in the seaside village of Bridport, we typically have over 20 varieties of bangers at any given time. We use all-natural ingredients and even have exotic blends made out of elk, wild boar, ostrich, and duck. Traditional British sausages typically have a blend of rusk (ground bread crumbs), meat, and fresh herbs. They earned the name bangers as they would give a loud bang when the casings popped while cooking over a hot fire.

Our shop in England is still run by Donald & Joan Balson and their son, Richard, son-in-law, Rudy, and daughter, Jane. Come by to experience first hand why RJ Balson & Son has been around for almost 500 years. To place an order within the UK, or to contact the shop, please call # (01308) 422 638.

Our U.S. Connection: Mike Balson, son of Donald and Joan, began playing professional soccer in England at the young age of 16. He left the family butcher shop to pursue a career as a professional footballer. He played for Exeter City and Highlands Park before moving to Atlanta, Ga. to play for the Atlanta Chiefs in 1979. He has enjoyed a distinguished career as a professional player, coach, and referee for over 30 years, and was recently inducted into the Soccer Hall of Fame. While Mike still actively develops the game of soccer in his local community, he has returned to his family's roots - making bangers and bacon! Through collaborative efforts with his son, Oliver, and U.K. family, the Balson legacy continues in the U.S. The Fall of 2007 marked the beginning of our stateside banger production and 2009 marked the beginning of our award-winning bacon production. In 2011, RJ Balson's offerings expanded once again with our "chipolata" breakfast bangers.  In 2012, we will also brought our beef bangers to the U.S. market, still strictly following our generations old methods and recipes.  In the near future, we plan on making our black pudding available, and hopefully we'll add a surprise or two along the way!

We are honored to be able to bring these time honored recipes to America. And we've taken every step to preserve the same quality that our English and Irish customers have come to expect from our specialty meats for nearly 500 years. We currently have four great varieties of bangers and a delicately smoked, hand-trimmed back bacon available in our online store.

Please visit our on-line store for more information. We truly hope you enjoy our specialty meats as much as we do!





 Recent Awards for
R.J. Balson & Son

What follows are the most recent honors awarded to RJ Balson & Son in competitions held by The SouthWest Area Council of Meat Traders, The SouthWest Meat Product Awards, and British Pig Executive (BPEX) Regional Roadshows: - (BPEX is a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and is focused on enhancing the competitiveness, efficiency and promotion of quality-assured Red Tractor pork in Britain and Globally).

2010 Overall Champion Beef & Horseradish Banger Sausage
2010 GOLD AWARD Honey Roast Pork Banger Sausage
2010 GOLD AWARD Wild Boar Banger Sausage
2010 GOLD AWARD Beef & Horseradish Banger Sausage
2010 GOLD AWARD Dry Cured Back Bacon (Smoked)
2010 SILVER AWARD West Country Pork with Mace, Ginger & Nutmeg
2010 SILVER AWARD Dry Cured Bacon (Unsmoked)
2010 SILVER AWARD Ostrich and Cranberry Banger Sausage
2008 GOLD AWARD Dry Cure Back Bacon
2005/2006 GOLD AWARD Dry Cure Back Bacon
2005/2006 GOLD AWARD Traditional Pork Banger Sausage
2004/2005 GOLD AWARD Home Cured Back Bacon
2004 GOLD AWARD Traditional Pork Banger Sausage Competition
2003 GOLD AWARD Home Cured Back Bacon
2002 GOLD AWARD Home Cured Back Bacon







Our Philosophy

We at RJ Balson & Son USA take the craft of butchery very seriously -- it is our belief that each product we produce and package is a direct reflection of our family and the legacy that we have established. As such, we take pride in every aspect of every product, from the raw ingredients to the label packaging. We believe that there is an intimate connection between the food that a person eats and his/her cultural heritage, and we strive to keep those of Irish, Scottish, and English descent connected to their own legacy through our meat products. It is our goal to be a source of comfort to the Ex-Pat community in the U.S. by providing the quality meat items that they are familiar with and that remind them of home.


We focus on the rich culinary legacies that England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales share together. With all of the societal, cultural, and historical conditions that potentially alienate and divide the British Isles, it is our hope that we all as individuals would strive to treat our neighbors as ourselves and to celebrate points of commonality rather than difference. It is our hope that making English and Irish meats in the U,S, would in some small way encourage the recognition of these similarities.


On a global level, we are also aware of the struggles that many of our neighbors face around the world. While, comparatively speaking, we in the Western world eat "high on the hog" and can take for granted basic necessities like clean drinking water, we cannot forget those less fortunate than ourselves. A part of your purchase from RJ Balson & Son goes to support worthwhile causes around the globe. We donate 10% or more of our profits to Water1stInternational (www.water1st.org), World Vision (www.worldvision.org), Not For Sale (www.notforsalecampaign.org) and various smaller scale charities, locally and globally.

 



RJ Balson & Son In the News

 

RJ Balson & Son on the Food Network

Watch the Balsons on the Food Network's coverage of the Fancy Food Show in New York:

 

 


RJ Balson & Son Butchers Join Heritage Collection of Historic Places

Balson's Butcher Shop was sketched as a part of a postcard series for the Heritage Collection of Historic Places by artist Tony Heaton.  This and other historic images throughout the U.K. can be found at:  www.greetingsfromengland.co.uk

 


RJ Balson & Son featured by Mick Nosh

A great article (below) from Dorset Magazine covering the Balsons, Master Butcher Richard Balson, bangers, back bacon, and Bridport by Mick Nosh.

 


RJ Balson & Son Highlighted in Local News

Here's a nice article from Athens, GA, from the Athens Banner Herald, covering the Balson butcher shop in Dorset, England and the beginnings of the Balson's bangers and bacon production here in the U.S. Click here to view.

 


RJ Balson & Son Win at Westcountry Food Festival

An oldie but a goodie... from the Dorset Echo, coverage of the Balsons winning awards at the Westcountry Food Festival for their back bacon and varieities of British bangers. (See below.)


RJ Balson & Son in Bridport

A terrific photo printed in a local Bridport paper taken outside the Balson's butcher shop, with Richard Balson and Rudy Boulay proudly displaying their bangers and boiled pork loins.