When selecting a ham, he says people should look out for a rich colour, firmness, smokiness you can smell and good fat content for moisture. Australian pork is a must, and female pigs give the best fat ratio on the legs.
“They should be naturally smoked to give a golden brown to rich dark brown colour, and maybe a bit lighter towards the hock end,” Vourvahakis says. “There should also be no cracks in the skin, and the hock shouldn’t be hollow or it’s been cooked wrong.”
Chin Chin’s executive chef Ben Cooper agrees that a sunken hock is a sign that your ham is overcooked. “If it’s in a bag, avoid anything with any excess liquid,” he adds. “And you want a natural meaty texture with good overall smokiness – don’t be afraid to ask the butcher if you can taste it.”
Still haven’t got your Christmas ham in the bag? These are some of the best hams around Australia that you can still buy.
Naturally smoked, brined with herbs and spices and consistently voted Victoria’s Best Ham, these plump beauties made from 100 per cent Australian pork are a work of art. Their 7kg traditional ham on the bone is $179, and there are also easy-carve boneless options, made with just as much pride and care.
New South Wales
New South Wales
Half hams are still available in-store at Vic’s Meats’ three NSW locations (Pyrmont, Mascot and Victor Churchill in Woollahra), each weighing around 3.5kg to 4.5kg, making them perfect for smaller gatherings (each feeds between five and seven people). Tender and plump, they’ve been smoked over beechwood for 12 hours.
Daryl Pattemore has been sourcing pork from the from the Darling Downs region, and curing and smoking it using traditional methods for over 40 years. His skill shows in these top-grade hams, which start from $80.95 for a 4kg leg.
Tasmania and Victoria
There are still a couple more days left to get your order in for these free-range, beechwood-smoked South Australian hams, and they also sell free-range roasting geese from The Broody Goose Farm in the Murray River region. Ham on the bone starts at $17.99 per kilo and orders close 17 December.
The Re family have owned this premium smallgoods business since 1953, with Umberto Re’s grandsons Eric and Jon Paul continuing his legacy at their butcher in Malaga in North Perth. Head to the website to order their German beechwood-smoked hams for $14.49 per kilo, and pick up in store.