Presenting the 2016 Christmas Hams on the bone.

We are proud to present two exceptional hams for Christmas 2016. After searching the nation coast to coast and tasting many different products we narrowed it down to two very special and wonderfully different hams.

From South Australian butcher and highly respected meat industry educator Richard Gunner comes the Newbury and Watson Heritage Ham. This ham is made using mainly Berkshire heritage breed pigs as well as other heritage breeds: Tamworth; Hampshire and Wessex Saddlebacks.

“I prefers these breeds because they are exceptionally good for making hams,” says Richard. “These old fashioned breeds may grow a bit slower but they make up for it in extra flavour.” Richard has strong relationships with a string of small growers who almost all raise their pigs under APL Certified Free Range guidelines. Those too small to justify the expense of certification are contracted to raise their animals to the same standard. “I want to help these farmers maintain the traditional ways of farming and preserve their herds of heritage pigs,” he says.

Whole legs are trimmed, injected with Richard’s special, delicately spiced brine, and then quietly left to soak in more of the same brine for a week. “It’s sugar, salt, spice and the minimum sodium nitrite I can get away with to hold the colour,” says Richard. The legs are then hot smoked in a steam oven over a mix of hickory and South Australian red gum for six hours. “Making a really good ham seems like it should be simple. But it’s not,” says Richard. “It is the tiny little attention to detail. It takes years of experience and our ham gets better and better every year. “

We think of this as the true food lover’s ham with a rich flavour, lovely covering of pure white fat under a golden skin making it perfect to slice cold or score, glaze and bake.

The other ham is the Quattro Stelle Christmas Ham on the Bone. Quattro Stelle are Sydney based Italian salume makers and their name means ‘four stars’. It refers to four siblings of Italian descent who learned making salume at their grandfather’s side when they were children. “We only buy in larger, older and more flavoursome female pigs that are bred specifically for the smallgoods industry,” says award winning smallgoods maker Tony Sgro. After carefully trimming the legs they are kept in a bath of brine made of salt, pepper and honey extract for almost a week. They are then dried, netted and gently cooked at 75 degrees for 14 hours. During this time they are smoked just twice for four hours each time over a blend of apple and beechwood, juniper berries and other dry spices.

“Many of the big ham makers use starch fillers and chemicals to get the ham to hold more water,” says Tony. “We don’t. As our hams cook they actually lose a little weight. Perhaps we would make more money if we cut corners but we prefer to make a really good, delicious ham that we are proud to put our name on.”
The result is a lightly smoked ham that is beautifully presented, with an enticing smoky aroma, a dense yet tender texture, and a pleasing flavour perfect to entertain the family on Christmas Day.