Wien traditional ham has been made since around 1860 when Raimund Thum, a Czech pork butcher, moved to Vienna and brought a recipe for ham that was made in his homeland. Indeed, Wien traditional ham is similar to Prague ham, which is aged longer and smoked more than that produced in Vienna.
At the time the Thum family’s ham could be found in all of Vienna’s gourmet shops and the name of the Thum family was, and still is, closely tied to this production.
Starting in the 1970s, the eating habits of Austrians shifted increasingly towards low cost, mass produced products. Currently only a handful of pork butchers still make Wien traditional ham but all of them carefully select the ingredients, placing priority on the quality of the raw material.
The production phases for Wien traditional ham have not changed much compared to the method used at the end of the 1800s. The entire leg of the pig (“Schlögel”) is salted using the arterial system with a cannula. This allows the salt to reach the bone so it is not just applied to the muscle and fat.
The flavor of Wien traditional ham is soft and delicate, since it is only made with salt and a pinch of sugar.