As you know, I’m passionate about Irish food, local producers and seasonal produce. So I was only delighted to be invited to Brady Family’s launch of their three new flavours of packaged ham: twice turf smoked, whiskey marmalade glazed and black pudding spiced. I was really impressed with everything I learned that day, from how it’s always been a family business to how they are still using the traditional ways of making their hams. They also naturally smoke their ham, rather than infusing it, they don’t add water to the product and they only source pork from Bord Bia approved farms. It’s a 100% Irish pork which means the product has to travel less far and their food miles are kept really low, which is only one of the benefits of choosing Irish products over imported versions.
For their new range Brady Family has teamed up with some other local producers, like New Ross-based Wexford Preserves and West Cork’s Spice O’Life. I love myself some good ham and use it in quite a few recipes, like of course ham and toast sandwiches, but also for some Belgian endive wrapped in ham and in some of my savoury pies. On the launch of the new hams I discovered a few other interesting ways of using ham in lunch meals so I’ll be writing up some new recipes with ham very soon for sure!
About the brand
Brady Family has been producing the finest quality traditional deli-style ham from their base in Timahoe, Co. Kildare since 1978. Much has changed in those 40 years since Mary and Ossie Brady decided to cook and sell quality Irish ham from the kitchen of their home. In all that time, however, one thing has remained consistent: the recipe.
Each Brady Family Ham takes three days to produce from steaming, to trimming, glazing, roasting, and resting. It’s a recipe that has endured, beyond even the well-deserved retirement of Mary and Ossie in 2000, when the business passed to Bill O’Brien and his family.
Since then, every Brady Family Ham has been crafted by butchers in the time-honoured way, always using 100% Irish meat from a single pork joint. And no water is even added. That’s what makes Brady Family Ham ‘Real Ham’.
Bill says: “We were very conscious of maintaining the business’ two core values: Family and Product Quality. Firstly, I wanted to continue to run it as a family business because I believe there is a passion and personal aspect that only comes with a family business. Secondly, and most importantly, we continued to follow Mary’s traditional recipe, step by step, because even though there are many quicker ways to cure ham, we believe there is only one right way and that method is slower, more time-consuming and more manual. In short, it’s ‘Real Ham’.”
So what makes a Brady Family Ham a traditional ‘Real Ham’? “It’s all in the traditional crafting method. To ensure the Brady Family high standards; only young Bord Bia approved fresh Irish pork legs are sourced. Next, they are slow cured in natural well water, on the bone for at least 3 days. This is what gives our hams’ their distinctive flavour.
Craft butchers trim the cured legs, and then steam cook them slowly, rind on, for 8 to 12 hours, for a traditional real ham taste. Finally, the rind and fat, which give the ham its flavor and succulence during cooking, are now removed and the ham is then coated by hand with breadcrumbs, or sugar glazed and dressed with pineapples and cherries.
The quality of our ham is due to insisting on the best farming, curing, crafting, cooking and dressing practices. Because our hams are produced from whole pork legs, there is a natural colour and texture variation. That’s the sign of a real ham, produced with passion, to traditional methods. Water is never added to the finished ham, the ham is never tumbled, which is why you sometimes get cracks, breaks and colour variation.
This shows the naturalness of the product versus the uniformity in colour and shape of some hams on the market.”