New Zealand Bacon

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Last Friday I flew to Wellington to be a judge at the inaugural Lesnies 100% New Zealand Bacon Competition.
The criteria for entry was that the bacon be New Zealand Pork.
While this may seem logical unfortunately it did prohibit some of the big commercial companies from entry! 
For those that wonder why the emphasis on NZ reared pork – aside from the obvious of supporting a local economy there is also the animal welfare issue which in other countries may not be as stringent as NZ and also imported pork could contain growth hormones.  Growth hormones are not used in NZ.

NZ Pork have released stickers for companies to label their bacon and ham NZ Pork, they assure also that they will be auditing the companies using these stickers to ensure that they are sound.

Back to tasting bacon – 233 in all and divided into 4 categories of middle, shoulder, streaky and danish.
We looked, poked and prodded 2 rashers of each bacon in its raw state and then got to sniff, poke and taste it once cooked.  After counting that our table were tasting over 20 bacon samples I realised I would in fact have to chew and spit – not quite as elegant as it is with wine tasting :)

The level was fantastic and there was such a range of bacon available.  Personally I favoured those with a good crisp rind and a lovley smoky bacon flavour.
I did have a problem with a couple of samples that had taint – an unpleasant odour that is most commonly detected by women and Asian people.   Funny that men can’t seem to pick it up – being the only female at our table I was on my own a bit with that one but it was only a few samples. 

Overall top bacon went to Heller Tasty from Christchurch with it’s Danish Bacon.
The top midle bacon went to  Murchison Meats, Murchison,  Elite Meats won the Shoulder bacon and Franklin Country Meats from Pukekohe won the Streaky. 

Heller Tasty Danish – Heller Tasty

Middle Bacon

Gold Murchison Meats, Murchison

Silver Goodman Fielder, Auckland

Bronze Bream Bay Butchery, Ruakaka Town Centre

Shoulder Bacon

Gold Elite Meats, Christchurch

Silver A E Preston, Wellington

Bronze Allenton Meat Centre, Ashburton

 Streaky Bacon

Gold Franklin Country Meats, Pukekohe

Silver Peter Timbs Meats, Christchurc

Bronze Verkerks Pancetta, Christchurch

Danish style Bacon

Gold Heller Tasty, Christchurch

Silver Buzz the Butcher @ Westown, New Plymouth

Bronze Pork n Poultry. East Tamaki, Auckland






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7 thoughts on “New Zealand Bacon

  1. Pigs are intelligent ,social animals that are genetically close to humans.They are actually more intelligent than dogs .Yet these animals suffer terribly in modern farming.Sows are confined in stalls (they cant even turn around)till they are driven insane from boredom.
    Modern pig farming is intensive and they packed into sheds and kept on concrete and denied basic freedoms that a pig should enjoy like rolling in the mud.Disease is rife and they are subjected to castration and teeth clipping without anaesthitic .

  2. Did you find a butcher in Christchurch that makes haggis . We are having a Scottish dance night and would love to find some haggis .

  3. Hi Suzanna

    I find this a very useful piece of information. I have been trying to locate a butcher that sells Haggis, so that I can get some for my dad – he just loves it. I haven’t found this search very easy so thank you for leaving this message.

    Ps. Do you know of a butcher in Christchurch that sells haggis?

  4. I have bought the most amazing bacon (and sausages and black pudding) just recently from Leckies Butchery in St Kildas in Dunedin. Their chipolatas are wonderful, black pudding delicious and their venison products are outstanding.They also do by all accounts a great Haggis!
    I am not from Dunedin but had heard about them from Queenstown (even though I live in Christchuch) and decided a visit was the go!
    A useless peice of info but I am a good friend of Hester Guys so food is important!
    Kindest regards

  5. I am a bacon lover. Particularly when it is barbecued. I have noticed that some bacon has a sticker on the outside saying that it is gluten free. I would have thought that all bacon should be gluten free. If not why should a wheat based product be added? or this part of a misleding advertising campaign? Like the clasic one on dish washing liquid that said it is phosphate free when almost all dishwash was phosphate free?

  6. We definitely had some bacon that shrunk to half it’s size when cooked which isn’t a good sign.
    We also looked at the texture of it raw to ensure it wasn’t flabby meat that looked like it had been “stretched” with filler.
    I agree with your thoughts on a “good” bacon and they were the qualities that I was looking for as were the other judges at our table.
    In terms of the natural smoking and curing – we only had taste to go by as we didn’t know the actual bacon ingredients.

  7. Helen, I wonder whether the water content was an issue at these competitions? In my experience, bacon I would consider “good” doesn’t have water as an ingredient and is naturally smoked/cured – do you have any feedback regarding this?