If you’re looking for New Zealand’s best bacon - and, really, who isn’t? - then look no more. The winners of the New Zealand Bacon competition have been announced and the top prize went to West Auckland’s Sam’s Butchery, owned by Ragupathy Nadason.
Nadason, also known as Sam, took home the Bacon of the Year award in the 100% New Zealand Bacon & Ham Competition 2013, a competition he had been entering since 2009. This year, he beat 139 other bacon entries and 50 other butcheries.
He had previously won other medals in the competition but this year admits he went “all out” to reach for the supreme award. Sam says the award is a testament to the hard work he has put in since immigrating to New Zealand from Malaysia in 1988 and going from having almost no money to running two successful butcheries in Auckland (in Kelston and Silverdale).
He says that, since he started entering the competition in 2009, he has been working to improve the bacon. “We’ve been changing it a bit and slowly trying to make it better.” The last few hours since the award announcement have been busy in both stores, a trend Sam hopes will continue.
“There is, every year, a rise in the standard and professionalism that come with the competition entries. Ultimately the Bacon of the Year was unanimously judged to be deliciously sweet and tender and for such a thick middle, amazingly tender and tasty,” says head judge Anita Sarginson.
The 100% New Zealand Bacon Competition is contested over five categories: Middle, Dry-Cured Middle; Shoulder; Streaky; and Middle-Eye. This year, Gold awards went to Ellesmere Butchery, Sam’s Butchery, Buzz the Butcher, Hellers Ltd, Kiwi Bacon, Cameron Harrison and first-time entrant Main Street Butchery Temuka; with Sam’s Butchery of Kelston taking out the 100% New Zealand Bacon of the Year with his Dry Cured, Middle Eye, Maple Bacon.
The butcher says he has no plans to stop now that he’s reached the top. “Next year, we will try to win with our streaky or spicy bacon,” he says.
Winners by category:
100% New Zealand Bacon of the Year
Ragupathy Nadason (Sam) of Sam’s Butchery, Kelston, Auckland
100% NZ Middle Bacon
Joint Gold - Caroline Gaisford of Goodman Fielder (Kiwi Bacon), Auckland
Joint Gold - Rob Cameron and Simon Harrison of Cameron Harrison, Tawa Wellington
Silver - David Crosbie of Franklin County Meats, Pukekohe
Joint Bronze - Chris Beach of Cattermoles Butchery, Kaiapoi, Canterbury
Joint Bronze - Helen and John Clotworthy of Pokeno Bacon, Pokeno, Waikato
100% NZ Shoulder Bacon
Gold - Gibby and Jackie Campbell of Main Street Butchery, Temuka, Canterbury Plains
Silver - Helen and John Clotworthy of Pokeno Bacon, Pokeno, Waikato
Joint Bronze - David Crosbie of Franklin County Meats, Pukekohe
Joint Bronze - Mike Hanson of Netherby Meats Ltd, Ashburton
100% NZ Streaky Bacon
Gold - Chris and Sue Brown, Ellesmere Butchery, Leeston, Christchurch
Silver - Brydon Heller of Hellers Ltd, Kaiapoi, Canterbury
Joint Bronze - Caroline Gaisford of Goodman Fielder (Kiwi Bacon), Auckland
Joint Bronze - Brett Collins of Tairua Butchery, Coromandel Peninsula
100% NZ Middle-Eye Bacon
Joint Gold - Ragupathy Nadason (Sam) of Sam’s Butchery, Kelston, Auckland
Joint Gold - Murray "Buzz" Sattler of Buzz the Butcher, New Plymouth
Silver - Lucia Rodrigues of Grey Lynn Butchers, Grey Lynn, Auckland
Joint Bronze - Brydon Heller of Hellers Ltd, Kaiapoi, Christchurch
Joint Bronze - Calum Sutherland of Westend New World, Bay of Plenty
100% NZ Dry-Cured Middle Bacon
Gold - Brydon Heller of Hellers Ltd, Kaiapoi, Canterbury
Silver - Chris Beach of Cattermoles Butchery, Kaiapoi, Canterbury
Bronze - Chris Timbs of Peter Timbs Meats Ltd, Richmond, Christchurch
100% NZ Consumers’ Choice Award
Claire Vogtherr of Holly Bacon Company, Hastings