What’s Australia’s best supermarket ham

Christmas ham

For many, the Christmas ham is the star of the lunch or dinner table. And any dilemma about where to buy your ham just got easier with CHOICE taste testing and rating supermarket hams.

And in further good news, you don’t have to spend a fortune.

Is it even Christmas without a ham? Whether baked or just deliciously cold out of the fridge, it’s often the star of any Christmas meal – and for many meals after. ‘Hamuary’ is a regular feature in many Australian households.

Many people like to adopt a ‘price is no object’ attitude to the Christmas ham, but with others keeping an eye on prices this year, the supermarket ham may be the preferred option.

But very much like fresh seafood, supermarket hams have come a long way in a very short time.

CHOICE has taken the hard work out of deciding on your supermarket ham by employing a panel of experts to taste a selection of hams from Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and IGA.

In one of the best gifts for Christmas, the best-tasting ham was also the cheapest.

Hamtastic

IGA Naturally Smoked Leg Ham at $8/kg was awarded a CHOICE expert rating of 73 per cent, with a taste score of 64 per cent.

CHOICE noted it impressed the experts with its mild and pleasant taste and even fat distribution, although it recommended serving it cold as it dried out a tad when cooked.

In second place by a whisker, but double the price, is Woolworths Gold Triple Smoked Leg Ham at $16 a kilo.

The Woolworths offering was given an expert rating of 72 per cent and taste score of 65 per cent.

It impressed the judging panel with its balance between smokiness and sweetness as well as its appearance and texture.

Other expert notes were it ‘actually smells like ham’. Which begs the question of what the others smelt like.

Well, read on.

Hogwash

Coming in stone, motherless last was Coles Finest Gold Triple Smoked Free-Range Quarter Ham. Which according to the CHOICE panel, is a lot of words for ‘yuck’.

It garnered only 21 per cent on the expert rating and just 17 per cent on taste. Ouch.

It was described by every single judge as ‘unpleasant’.

And it got worse from there.

Terms used to describe this tragic specimen were ‘strong chemical smell’, ‘acrid aroma’ and ‘lacks flavour’.

All that and it’s $15/kg.

You’d think baking it might improve the flavour. You’d be wrong. It got worse, and while there were more than a few scathing comments, perhaps they were summed up best by ‘overall incredibly unpleasant’.

They do things differently in Tasmania

Which is weird, because this ham won a gold medal at the Royal Tasmanian Fine Food Awards last year.

Maybe this year is just a bad year for hams.

However, if sustainable ham is your thing, this is your ham. It’s made using free-range pork, it’s certified as carbon neutral and carries the RSPCA-approved farming logo.

You can always cover it in mustard to kill the flavour.

To round out the four major supermarket chains, the Aldi Speciality Selected Triple Smoked Half Leg Ham came in third on a expert rating of 63 per cent. It sells for $13.99/kg.

Whatever your choice, it’s still better priced than buying sliced ham from the deli and it freezes well if you have any leftovers.

Is ham a part of your Christmas meal? Do you bake it or prefer it cold? Why not share your opinion in the comments sectionbelow?

Also read: Spicy Peach and Mango Jam Glazed Ham

Written by Jan Fisher

Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.

3 Comments

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  1. Your assessment is worthless. Neither my wife or myself enjoy heavily smoked anything, so as soon as you mention Triple-smoked we would never eat it. We have for many years enjoyed the standard half leg hams from woolworths @$8 (this year)

    • My advice Roger would be to speak to the manager at the IGA. He may be able to let you know if there are any more coming and what day they would be in. Woolworths managers have less control over their stock and simply have to accept what turns up.

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