Hospitality Business Magazine

‘Insanely delicious’ ham wins top pork award

Two butcheries have become Supreme Winners of the 100% New Zealand Bacon & Ham Awards. Warkworth Butchery has taken out New Zealand’s top bacon award with their dry cured middle bacon entry and Auckland’s Westmere Butchery has won New Zealand’s best ham award for their bone-in leg ham.

Back after a three-year hiatus, the awards, which have seven bacon categories, and two ham categories, were open to all retailers who produce bacon and ham from New Zealand Pork (from PigCare™ accredited farms).

With almost 200 entries, from around 40 retailers being judged, the competition sees bacon and ham producers from across the country submit their products in the hope of being announced one of the Supreme Winners.

The 100% New Zealand Bacon and Ham Awards is an NZPork initiative and is supported by Cabernet Foods, Freshpork NZ, Hally Labels, Fibrisol, Porkcorp and Wilson Hellaby.

2022 Supreme Award – Bacon
Warkworth Butchery – Dry Cured Middle Bacon.

Warkworth Butchery has been a part of the local community since 1905, with current owners Rob and Renee Lees taking over eight years ago.

Rob was the winner of the 2020 Pure South Master Butcher of the Year Awards. Westmere Butchery, also well-known and popular in their local community, with owner David Rossiter having more than 45 years in the butchery business and a team of passionate, experienced butchers working onsite.

Rob Lees, owner of Warkworth Butchery says he’s stoked with his win. “Good meat comes from a good home, and time well spent and consistency is key to producing amazing products.”

Glenn McKeendry, of Westmere Butcher in Auckland says “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!”

Both butcheries supply local cafes with pork products.

After a three-year break, it was great to see the competition back up and running with more entries than ever before – almost 200 being received across seven bacon and two ham categories.

Judging took place over two days, with a team of butchers and culinary experts inspecting and sampling the entries. Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded in each of the bacon and ham categories. From here, all gold medal winners were re-judged against each other to then award the two Supreme Winners – Warkworth Butchery and Westmere Butchery.

Competition judge, Hannah Miller Childs said when choosing the winning ham it was largely about finding ham 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,” says Hannah.

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

In contrast to this the bacon was a very close competition, and the judges had to re-taste some of the products to ensure they picked the right one!

Miller Childs says “It’s been an honour to be a part of the judging this year and incredible to see not only the quality of the beautiful New Zealand pork, but also the butchers’ talents improve over the years. This is definitely making our jobs a lot harder as judges.”

While bacon is arguably a favourite any time of year, the announcement of New Zealand’s top ham comes just in time to inspire Kiwi’s to host a mid-winter Christmas, with a glazed ham as the centre piece!

Full results are available here.