Waratah Farms

Waikato butchers recognised at 100%
New Zealand Bacon & Ham Awards

Cured, smoked middle bacon and popularity with the people provided two Waikato victories in the 100% New Zealand Bacon & Ham Awards. 
Photo Credit: Hartemink | Dreamstime

Waikato companies have brought home the bacon – and ham – awards in a national competition.Kihikihi’s The Meat Factory Limited struck gold for middle bacon,
while Whitianga butchery Mercury Bay Meats got people’s choice in the 100% New Zealand Bacon & Ham Awards.

There were 197 entries from 50 entrants in the 2015 competition and they went before 33 judges.

They covered five bacon categories – middle, dry cured middle, shoulder, streaky, middle eye – and two ham categories: bone-in-ham and boneless ham.

A “true to style” middle bacon got a gold medal for The Meat Factory Limited.

Husband and wife team Deane and Tania Pitcon’s honey-cured, Manuka-smoked entry had a “nice sweet taste”, according to judges.

Deane Pitcon said he was initially reluctant to enter but ended up doing as Tania said.

Their meat is sourced from local pork producer Warratah Farms.

“You need a top product to achieve a good finished product and that’s what we get from Warratah,” he said.

The People’s Choice Award went to Whitianga Butchery Mercury Bay Meats, which has also had honours in the past.

Owners Nigel Jackson and Cole Edinger were delighted with the win.

“The locals love our bacon and ham so to see this support evident in the People’s Choice Award is fantastic,” Jackson said.

Mercury Bay local Josh Thompson was a regular, and praised the team and their range of products, saying they had “some of the best bacon I’ve had”.

Christchurch’s Cashmere Cuisine won Bacon of the Year and Auckland’s Westmere Butchery took out Ham of the Year winners with honey cured maple bone in ham.

NZ Pork Chairman Ian Carter said awards celebrated New Zealand Pork’s farm to plate story.

“It is great to be able to feature the best of 100% New Zealand Bacon and Ham for the eighth year running.”

- Based on an article by STUFF (www.waikatotimes.co.nz 02/9/15)

Butchers take slice off bacon and ham awards


PRIME OUT: Graeme Pilkington and Warren Klein owners of Lifestyle Meats in Dinsdale are ecstatic 
with their bronze at the 100% New Zealand bacon and ham awards. Photo Credit: CHRIS HILLOCK/ Fairfax NZ

They source quality local meat, have quality butchers and live locally, all the while using old-school local techniques.

These are the three main reasons behind the success of two Waikato butcheries at the 100% New Zealand bacon and ham awards.

Lifestyle Meats owners Warren Klein and Graeme Pilkington were ecstatic to pick up the bronze award for Bone-In (ham leg) and agreed their success came down to being 100 per cent local with their meat being sourced from Waratah Farms in Waikato.

Those sentiments are shared by Mercury Bay Meat owner Nigel Jackson who picked up the silver award for his streaky bacon.

Klein said his success was about keeping it local.

“It’s a combo of things, the local products we source, the recipe we use and our team who are all qualified butchers.”

Pilkington said their aim has been to bring the traditional butcher back into the game.

“We are a traditional butchery, we source our meat from six local Waikato farms, and we use traditional methods in preparing our meat. We want to bring back that old-school butcher feel to our customers.”

Lifestyle Meats, which opened its doors three years ago, is New Zealand Beef and Lamb accredited for quality and is well renowned for their tender cuts.

“Together we have over 50 years of experience in the meat industry,” Klein said, before Pilkington interjected: “Well Warren has a bit more experience because he’s older than me.”

The won’t divulge the secret recipe behind their award-winning ham but did open up about the smoking process.

“Our hams are smoked the old-school traditional way,” Pilkington said.

“The key is to use natural ingredients and we smoke the ham for 16 hours.”

More than 60 hams were entered in the competition.

Jackson is only the sixth owner to take over the butchery since it opened its doors 107 years ago.

He said he sources his meat locally and uses traditional methods.

Rob Cameron and Simon Harrison of Cameron Harrison Butchery, Wellington, won the Ham of the Year, gold for Bone-In (ham leg) and Boneless (sliced ham).

The gold awards for bacon went to Pokeno Bacon (Auckland), Peter Timbs Meats (Christchurch), Westend New World (Bay of Plenty) and Ellesmere Butchery (Christchurch); with Independent Meat Processors taking out the 100% New Zealand Bacon of the Year with their Manuka-smoked streaky bacon.

- Based on an article by FLORENCE KERRĀ  (www.waikatotimes.co.nz 27/9/14)

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Taste, Tenderness, Succulence