Where to buy your 2017 Christmas ham in Victoria

Meatsmith's Christmas glazed ham is succulent and made from purebred Tamworth pigs.
Meatsmith's Christmas glazed ham is succulent and made from purebred Tamworth pigs. Photo: Supplied

What are you looking for in a Christmas ham? A great big leg to feed a legion, or a petite mild ham that won't offend the in-laws? Do you like a ham from a farm with the strictest ethics on which the pigs have led a natural piggy life or do you not care how the pig was raised, you just need to feed a multitude? Some hams have been pumped with additives, giving them a plumper, juicier texture. Others are preserved with little more than salt and smoke, resulting in a drier, more meaty ham.  All the hams on this list are made with Australian pork – keep an eye out for the pink Australian Pork sticker on the packaging. When ordering a ham, allow about 300g for each guest for a bone-in ham and 200g a head for a boned ham. A 7kg ham will feed 16 to 20 people. Here's a list of hams for every taste and budget, starting with the least expensive.

Woolworths The Half Leg – Bone-in ham, $9/kg

It's made from Australian free-range pork and last year Woolworths sold more than 2 million of them. It's quite a wet ham with a punch of smoke and not unpleasant fat cover. Delivery available.

Pacdon Park gammon is made from free-range pork and brined in apple juice.
Pacdon Park gammon is made from free-range pork and brined in apple juice.  

Stockist: Woolworths supermarkets, woolworths.com.au

Aussie Farmers Direct Half Leg Christmas Ham, $12.20/kg

At about 4.5kg this is perfect for the family of 12 or fewer who don't want to be carving off slices well into 2018. A classic, juicy ham with lovely gold skin and very mild smoke. Delivery available.

Stockist: Aussie Farmers Direct, aussiefarmers.com.au

Greenvale Free Range Boneless Ham, $21/kg 

This is a lovely compact 2-3kg golden nugget of a boned ham that is every easy to carve and with very little waste. Light tasting and pleasantly smoked this is a decent ham crying out for the trimmings. Delivery available.

Advertisement

Stockist: Aussie Farmers Direct, aussiefarmers.com.au

Donati's Fine Meats Leg Ham, $23/kg

Donati's is a Carlton institution. For more than 40 years Leo Donati has been making a simple but delicious leg ham for Melburnians' Christmas  table. He uses female, free-range pork, brines it to make it plump and juicy, and smokes it over Tasmanian hardwood. Whole legs average 10kg so they're suitable for bigger gatherings. Half legs are available.

Stockist: Donati's Fine Meats, Carlton.

Saint Bernard Free Range Ham by Peter Bouchier, $23.90/kg

A big, dark beautiful 7-9kg double-smoked ham from  a certified free-range farm brined in salt, brown sugar, rosemary and juniper. With a scant layer of fat, it is a juicy but not watery ham that is exceptional value for the quality.

Stockists include: Peter Bouchier, peterbouchier.com.au; David Jones Toorak; IGA, Beaumaris; Gumtree, Albert Park, Middle Park and South Yarra.

Salt Kitchen Free Range Smoked Ham, $25/kg

Former chef Mick Nunn works with Western Plains Pork, which raises bigger, older cross-bred pigs for his charcuterie business. Great for glazing, these full-flavoured, drier textured 5-6kg hams are redolent of bay and juniper and a perfect match for shiraz.

Stockists include: Salt Kitchen Charcuterie, Ballarat, saltkitchen.com.au; Skinner and Hackett, Carlton North; McCoppins Clifton Hill and Hawthorn; The Farmer's Place, Freshwater Creek.

Pacdon Park Gammon, $27.50/kg

Made from free-range pork and brined in apple juice, this gammon needs to be simmered until cooked, the skin removed, the fat then covered in honey, mustard and marmalade and cooked in a scorching hot oven until gold and brown. Serve with cider or a big red wine for a classic British-style Christmas.

Stockists include: The Pork Pie Produce Store, Echuca, pacdon.com.au; Skinner & Hackett, Carlton North; Sandringham, Flemington and Abbotsford farmers' markets.

Meatsmith Rare Breed Ham on the Bone, $36/kg

Heading into the top-shelf area of hams, we have this succulent ham made from purebred Tamworth pigs. Ranging in size from 6-8kg, they have great texture, are perfectly juicy and generously smoked with lingering spiced sweetness. For $50 extra, you can order a glazed ham.

Stockist: Meatsmith, Fitzroy and St Kilda, meatsmith.com.au

Gamze Smokehouse Traditional Ham on Bone, $39/kg

From a Wangaratta butcher comes this deep-brown, firm and full-flavoured ham made from Australian Pork Industry Quality-certified free-range pork fed on a vegetarian diet. Rosemary and honey aromas complement the smoke.

Stockists include: Gamze Smokehouse, Milawa, gamzesmokehouse.com.au; The Happy Apple, Ascot Vale; Apples and Sage, Balwyn; The Leaf Store, Brighton and Elwood.

Bundarra Naturally Cured Smoked Leg Ham, $39/kg

If you like sweet, creamy fat, clean smoky aromas and hints of clove and juniper, you'll love this large 7-8kg mahogany-coloured ham made from pasture-fed, free-range pigs. Made by butcher Lauren Mathers, this is a delightful artisan ham. She is also making a less traditional but even better flavoured shoulder ham. Deliveries available.

Stockists include Harper & Blohm, Essendon; Obelix & Co, Fitzroy North; Fairfield farmers' market, and direct from the farmgate in Barham, bundarraberkshires.com.au.

Storage note: To keep ham once it's been cut, fold the rind back over the exposed surface, and wrap the remaining ham in a tea towel moistened with water, a tablespoon of vinegar and lemon juice and wrung out. Place it into a clean pillowcase or ham bag, and store it in the coolest part of the fridge, where it will keep for more than a week.