Where to buy the tastiest gammon to star on your Christmas table
A succulent gammon is the focal point of many a festive feast. To help you buy the best, our panel of judges tasted their way through gammons from the five leading supermarkets
HOW WE CONDUCTED OUR TASTE TEST
We invited 30 Sunday Times Food readers to act as judges.
Boneless raw gammons of about 2kg were purchased from five leading supermarkets and prepared by the chefs at the HTA School of Culinary Art in Randburg, Johannesburg.
The packaging was removed and each gammon numbered and then boiled according to package instructions.
Once cooked, they were cooled on a tray, the netting and skin removed and the fat glazed with smooth apricot jam/and or brown sugar as per package instructions, then baked in the oven until the glaze bubbled and the fat was crisp and golden brown.
The hams were presented to the tasters sliced, without any packaging or knowledge of which store they came from. The readers rated them from one to seven, one meaning the gammon was extremely disliked and seven meaning it was liked a lot.
The gammons were judged according to appearance, texture, juiciness, smokiness (does it taste like a gammon) and whether or not the taster would consider buying it.
Auditor Stephanie Pardoe was on hand to monitor the process, from removing the packaging and numbering the samples to the preparation and judging. Pardoe collated the scores.
WHAT WERE WE LOOKING FOR?
A well-cured gammon with a pleasant smoky flavour and colour, not too salty and featuring a good layer on fat on the top for glazing.
First place: Woolworths Christmas Ready-to-Cook Medium Gammon
Judges' comments: It had a very good shape and a lovely fatty layer for glazing. It was extremely juicy and tender with a great flavour and aroma that reminded one of Christmas.
Second place: SPAR Boneless Gammon
Judges' comments: A good rounded shape with a smokiness that was just right. Good flavour, too.
Third place: Pick n Pay Uncooked Boneless Lightly Smoked Gammon
Judges' comments: Very tender and juicy although meat was lighter in colour and didn’t look as smoked as the other gammons.
Fourth place: Food Lover's Market Gammon
Judges comments: Meat was dry and the smoky flavour not noticeable.
Fifth place: Checkers Boneless Gammon
Judges' comments: Quite salty and dark in colour. The meat looked as if it had been compacted together on one end and had a chewy texture.