A panel of judges has declared house-brand Christmas hams to be the tastiest, no matter where you shop.
The judges, including celebrity chef Adrian Richardson, award-winning free-range pig producer Judy Croagh and gourmet butcher Ralf Fink of Oakwood Smallgoods, rated more than 20 different Christmas hams as part of Australian Pork’s second annual taste test.
Taking out the top spot was the Double Smoked Half Leg Ham from Woolworths, at $12.50 per kilo.
This ham also won silver at the 2021 Perth Royal Food Awards, and bronze at the 2021 Royal Tasmanian Fine Food Awards.
Meanwhile, the best-tasting value option was also the Regular Half Leg Ham, also from Woolworths, at just $8.50 per kilo.
“This ham had a beautiful balanced smoky aroma, flavour with a good bite,” Mr Fink said.
At Coles, Aldi, IGA and Costco, the judges found each store’s own brand of ham trumped the name brand options.
“I have been very impressed with the offering from the selection of supermarket hams, still using key traditional techniques,” Mr Fink added.
The ranking is a departure from last Christmas, when house brands rubbed shoulders with more expensive brands like Bertocchi.
The winners from this year’s taste test are all Australian pork.
For leg ham this is a given, because strict quarantine laws mean meat on the bone can’t be imported.
For ham off the bone, it pays to check the label to see whether the ingredients are mostly local.
The best-tasting Christmas hams by supermarket
Coles: Beechwood Smoked Half Leg Ham at $8.50 per kilo
Woolworths: Double Smoked Half Leg Ham at $12.50 per kilo
Aldi: Specially Selected Triple Smoked Ham Half Leg at $11.99 per kilo
IGA: Naturally Smoked Leg Ham at $8.50 per kilo
Costco: Central Highlands Pork Ham on the Bone at $8.50 per kilo
How to keep your Christmas ham
According to Australian Pork, the best way to keep a Christmas ham is to refrigerate it in a ham bag.
A pillowcase or tea towel are also suitable substitutes.
The ham bag should be soaked in a solution of four cups of water, and two tablespoons of vinegar.
Then, the ham should be placed inside, and kept in the coolest part of the fridge.
You should re-soak the ham bag every few days, or when the ham dries out.