Time to bone up on your Christmas hams
ALMOST no Christmas feast is complete without a ham on the table. But which one should you be buying to feed your family this year?
To find out, we compared supermarket varieties with butcher shop favourites, including this year's Australian Pork Awards national winner from Brisbane's Pattemore's Meats and the second place getter from Noosa Meat Centre.
Judging the piggy products on taste, texture, appearance and likability were meat and smallgoods expert Emma Daley and The Courier-Mail restaurant reviewers Anooska Tucker-Evans and Des Houghton.
SPECIALLY SELECTED HAM PREMIUM TRIPLE SMOKED HALF LEG
Des: I found that rather dry and not terribly intensely flavoured. I thought it was a bit too dry. Underwhelmed.
Emma: I don't mind a dry-ish ham but it's a little too dry. The flavour I'd say is good but the smokiness is a bit artificial.
Anooska: I find it really quite dry. It's got a definite smokiness but it's almost artificially smoky. I don't love it.
WOOLWORTHS GOLD FREE RANGE LEG HAM TRIPLE SMOKED
Anooska: The texture is similar to ball ham or what you'd find in the deli cabinet at the supermarket - it's very moist. It doesn't have very much smoke to it but it's really salty.
Emma: It's very salty and it's got a very soft texture. It is nice and easy to eat. The texture is not what I go for but it is enjoyable. I can see why people would really like it.
Des: It's certainly flavoursome and it's got a better texture. Texture fantastic. For me it's a bit too salty. If you had it on a sandwich with tomato and lettuce it wouldn't matter.
NATURALLY SMOKED LEG HAM
Anooska: There's no smoke to it at all. It's quite a dry ham. I would like a little more moisture, but I quite like the flavour. It's a good eating ham.
Emma: I quite like the flavour. It's not too salty. There's no smoke though.
Des: Although it's dry I don't mind that fibrous texture. It's good. I like that.
PECAN-FED, FREE-RANGE PASTURED PORK HAM ON THE BONE
$18.99/kg, Meat at Billy's, Ashgrove and Rosalie
Anooska: The flavour of that is amazing. I think there's a really good level of salt and it's not too smoky. The texture is also really good - not too soft, but not too dry.
Emma: That tastes like ham to me. The texture is really good.
Des: I can taste something going on there. There's a middle palate hum. The balance of the salt in it is really good and it's tasty. That's good ham. It's got a herbal thing going on.
DOUBLE SMOKED HALF LEG HAM
Anooska: It's got a maple syrup-like sweetness to it and an almost artificial flavour to it. The texture of it is fine, but I'm not a fan of the flavour.
Emma: It almost looks a bit silverside-y. It's super sweet. It's like they've put something in the brine solution - the curing solution.
Des: I don't like that flavour. That would need a lot of mustard to mask that funny taste to it. They've put molasses or something in it.
WOODSMOKED LEG HAM
$12.99/kg, Noosa Meat Centre, Noosaville
Des: It really tasted processed to me. It's too watery. The flavour is anaemic.
Emma: It just tastes like salt, there's no real ham flavour. It is really moist - I would say a little too moist.
Anooska: I'm getting quite a lot of smoke at the end coming through. It's juicy but to the point it's almost watery.
$13.99/kg, Pattemore's Meats
Des: That's really nice. The texture's great, the flavour's great, it's good. That's the best one for me.
Emma: That's got a nice sweetness and a nice ham flavour. It tastes like a ham should taste to me. It's probably a little too sweet for me, but I think that would appeal to a lot of people.
Anooska: It does have that sweetness coming through but it's not overwhelmingly so. It's got good moisture and a good texture. It's a little fibrous, so not that soft, bouncy quality and it's not too dry. I think it's a great ham and tastes like a Christmas ham.
BONE IN HALF LEG HAM
Des: That smells like gunpowder. I don't like that one. There's a real chemical thing going on there that I don't like.
Emma: It's too salty. The texture I quite like but the salt overrides anything else. I think it was better than the others we scored six.
Anooska: This one is really salty. It needs to be served with bread or tomato to try to balance out that saltiness. The texture is good, the moisture content is good, but it's just too salty.