New black ham celebrates north-eastern heritage

A butcher has joined forces with a local brewery to produce a distinctive black ham, celebrating two of the north-east’s regions specialities.

George Payne, a founder-member of the national Butchers Q Guild has teamed up with Allendale Brewery near Hexham to reproduce an ancient recipe. The Allendale Black Ham, as it has been christened, is made from pork from locally produced rare-breed Saddleback and Middle White pigs and uses Tar Bar’l Stout as an integral part of the cure.

Payne said: “The ham is based on a recipe perfected by English monks in the 12th Century and is cured in molasses and Allendale’s Tar Bar’l Stout. This produces a distinctive dark-fleshed colour and malty core. It’s a real old-fashioned traditional mild ham, with a slightly sweet flavour.”

Neil Thomas, manager of Allendale Brewery explained: “Tar Bar’l is a very dark traditional-style stout, with rich coffee and chocolate flavours, and a creamy brown head. It was first brewed to commemorate the famous Tar Bar’l celebrations of Allendale.”

Allendale Black Ham is being sold at the the George Payne Butchers-run meat counter in the food hall at Newcastle department store Fenwick, as well as in its main Brunton Park shop.