Princi is ham king

Rueben HaleThe West Australian

WA received some prime cuts at the Australian Ham Awards this week.

The competition to find the best WA and Australian hams was part of Australian Ham Week.

Beaconsfield's P. Princi Butchers won the top WA gong in the traditional bone-in leg ham category, with O'Connor producers Mondo Doro Smallgoods and Salume Amo awarded second and third, respectively.

In the WA boneless competition, B. Re & Sons, Malaga, was first, Plantagenet Meats of Mt Barker was second and Salume Amo took third.

The festival, sponsored by Australian Pork, runs this week until Saturday and celebrates and promotes the finest home-grown ham.

A panel of three judges assessed hams to find the best traditional bone-in, boneless and nationally available Australian hams.

This year's judges were fleischmeister Horst Schurger, who has a master degree in butchering and smallgoods from the Master College in Monchengladbach, Germany, and chefs Simon Bestley and Paul McDonald.

They assessed more than 140 entries for a range of criteria, including appearance, texture, aroma and taste.

Competition winner Joe Princi, from P. Princi butchers, said he had continued his run of succuss in the competition.

Last year, Princi hams won first and second prize in the bone-in and boneless categories.

It has also won the best bacon award for the past four years.

"The perfect ham is all about the pork," Mr Princi said.

"We only use the Berkshire Black pork breed, which is bred here in Western Australia," he said.

Australian Pork marketing manager Mitch Edwards said not all hams available were made from local pork.

"More than 56 per cent of people are unaware that ham can be made using imported pork," he said.

The best Australian ham and best traditional none-in ham titles went to Sunshine Meats, Milperra, NSW. The best national boneless ham was awarded to Victoria's Andrew's Choice, Laverton North.

The judges named the IGA bone in leg ham the best nationally available ham.

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