Australia's best ham revealed

Jose Pereira of Sunshine Meats

Jose Pereira of Sunshine Meats

That office Secret Santa gift might be a hasty, vaguely regrettable decision, but your Christmas ham should be a purchase made with a bit more care and deliberation. Fortunately, Australian Ham Week (November 30 to December 6) is here to celebrate locally produced ham and educate us on the finer points of selection in time for Christmas. 

First question: bone-in or boneless? As part of Ham Week, The Australian Ham Awards have named winners of both categories from a total of 123 entries.

The overall winner of Australia's best artisan ham was New South Wales producer Sunshine Meats with a boneless ham, double-smoked and infused with maple. The company's founder, Jose Pereira, says he didn't want to enter, but his daughter pushed him into it. Pereira extols the convenience of a boneless ham, which is naturally easier to slice than a traditional bone-in leg. The Victoria-based Bertocchi Brothers' triple-smoked leg ham, meanwhile, won the nationally available category.

Paul Rae of Master Meats in Queensland took out the national gong for bone-in ham for the second year running. Rae favours the traditional bone-in method for the sweeter meat it produces, he says. The secret to his prize-winning ham is a cure involving juniper and malt - the result of much tinkering and testing.

Horst Schurger, who carries the hefty title of fleischmeister, or master butcher, judged the awards along with chefs Paul McDonald and Simon Bestley. Schurger says that when judging entries (or, in our case, shopping) it's important to look for a ham that's "nice and plump", with uniformity of colour, a saltiness that enhances the taste of the meat without overpowering it, a subtle hint of smoke on the meat closer to the rind, and an absence of fermentation holes (the result of too much sugar during curing).

The involvement of restaurants around the nation in Ham Week will showcase how quality Australian ham can be served. In Melbourne, "hamgustations" are being held at Huxtable and The Commoner; in Sydney, Carla Jones at 4Fourteen is serving a traditional baked ham with pickles, while Richard Ousby at Brisbane's Stokehouse will be serving his ham maple-glazed with fresh figs. With butchers around the country putting on tastings and demonstrations, you're set to end up with a ham that will be lucky to make it past the big day.

For more information visit pork.com.au


RELATED LINKS

How to glaze a ham

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
The Producers: Box Grove Vineyard Verjus
14.08.2017
What is bee pollen?
09.08.2017
David Jones’ new food hall opens in Bondi Junction
03.08.2017
OzHarvest is fighting food waste by looking in your refrigerator
24.07.2017
Meet Your Maker: RL Foote Design Studio
18.07.2017
Our Baking Cookbook is here
06.07.2017
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

Hot 100 2015 - Food

The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about glob...

Women in Hospitality

A new organisation is empowering women working in the hospit...

The producers: Two Rivers Green Tea

A leading local tea exporter now offers his leaves to the do...

The producers: Colony honey

A selection of regional monofloral honeys sourced direct fro...

Liquid gold

We find ourselves inexorably drawn to salt caramel in a jar....

The producers: Atssu Divers

Hand-dived abalone, turban shell and sea urchin.

Making a scene

Entertainer Julia Zemiro notes there’s little difference bet...

Deutscher’s Turkey Farm

When it comes to talking turkey, the best birds have lived t...

Sandor Ellix Katz Q&A

Food fermentation 'revivalist' and guru Sandor Ellix Katz di...

The producers: Alexandrina Jersey milk

Meet the producers of the creme de la creme of Australian fu...

Gamze smokehouse

Bringing local flavour to artisan-made bacon.

Gourmet Traveller Gourmet Fast app

Now, here's a mighty handful: GT's Gourmet Fast recipes are ...

Food emoji we wish existed

What? More than 200 new pictograms in the latest Emoji set, ...

What is jumbuck?

The jumbuck has leapt straight from the pages of Banjo Pater...

Inside Out almond milk

Thicker, creamier milk, with a more pronounced almond flavou...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×