Today I wanted to elaborate on our unique Ham offerings. Even though we're a small business, we've been making our own hams a long time. Being an organic butcher, one who choses health before shelf(life) and other benefits, we took a critical look at Hams on the market years ago. Here's what we found:
There are better things you could eat than Nitrites - this was recently backed up by the WHO - see our response here.
Most hams follow a long supply chain - even if purchased from your local butcher's shop. Hams typically go from a large farm, to an abattoir, to distributor to shop to factory to shop. - that is most butchers will have someone else make the hams for them!
Many hams are very salty - factories will do this to prolong the shelf life of the meat.
Hams are cooked hot and quick to save time and money
True free range pork is as rare as hens teeth.
We've addressed each of these concerns as we've built our product. Firstly, we're partnered with some great suppliers - just up the road the at McIvor farm Jason and Belinda Hagan grow most of our pork, its all free range, berkshire old breed pork (old breed is how it used to be, before they started selecting breeds for which would grow the fastest, rather than provide the best product).
Back in in the early 2000s, we started working on minimising the use of chemicals in our products. When it comes to ham, nitrites are used to cure and preserve the meat. These nitrites can come in many forms, synthetic or mined as sodium or potassium nitrite etc. In the last few years however some butchers and artisans have been preserving meats with an organic chemical derived from celery. Using this celery derivative, we've worked closely with the leading experts in this field to develop our natural-nitrite hams to where they are today.
Ever had a christmas ham that's over-salted? When curing our Hams we use the minimum amount of salt in the process as possible. This is better for your heart (and hydration at 3am on boxing day!)
Once cured, we smoke our hams at a low temperature, slowly for over 16 hours to ensure they don't dry out and the natural flavour is preserved. For smoke we use sustainably grown Victorian red gum wood chips - red gum is the envy of the world when it comes to smoke, it burns clean with minimal ash and great flavour very similar to hickory.