Sunday, August 14, 2022

Two smokin’ butcheries bring home the bacon

NZ’s top ham and bacon honours go to two Auckland businesses.
Rob Lee and Michael Irving of Warkworth Butchery, which won the Supreme Bacon award. Photo: Supplied

New Zealand’s best ham and bacon have been found, with two butcheries from the Auckland region taking top honours at the 100% New Zealand Bacon & Ham Awards. 

Warkworth Butchery won NZ’s top bacon award with its dry-cured middle bacon entry, and Auckland’s Westmere Butchery won best ham award for its bone-in leg ham.

Warkworth Butchery has been a part of the local community since 1905, with current owners Rob and Renee Lee taking over eight years ago and seeing the business go from strength to strength. 

Westmere Butchery’s David Rossiter has more than 45 years in the butchery business and a team of passionate, experienced butchers working onsite.

Rob Lees said he’s stoked with his win. 

“Good meat comes from a good home, and time well spent and consistency are key to producing amazing products,” he said.

Read: NZ pork ‘under serious threat’

Glenn McKendry of Westmere Butchery said it was “a team effort to produce an award-winning ham – time, patience and the right amount of cure are the key ingredients, and that effort has paid off tonight”.

Judging took place over two days, with a team of butchers and culinary experts inspecting and sampling bacon and ham products, all produced from 100% NZ-born and -raised pork. 

Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded in each of the bacon and ham categories. 

From there, all gold medal winners were re-judged against each other to choose the two supreme winners.

Competition judge Hannah Miller Childs said choosing the winning ham is largely about finding something with great smoky characteristics as well as good texture. 

“You want it to be nice and meaty but still be moist and have enough fat content,” she said.

The judges found picking the winning ham fairly easy as Westmere Butchery’s bone-in leg ham was “insanely delicious”.

The bacon, though, was a very close competition, and the judges had to re-taste some of the products to ensure they picked the right one.

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