Who has New Zealand's hottest bacon?

Who has New Zealand's hottest bacon?

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