What Makes Iberico Ham Such a Good Quality Meat?
The easy way to turn an ordinary brunch or family dinner into a memorable occasion is to bring Iberico Hamto the table. Although Iberico Ham is often used to complement other dishes, most Iberico ham aficionados suggest that it pairs well with fresh bread or toast, sherries and full bodied red wines. Iberico Ham is also specifically recognized as a culinary treasure or “jewel” in the Spanish culture.
What makes Iberico Ham such a good quality meat and set it apart from others such as Serrano ham are a unique combination of distinctive elements and a consistent flavor profile. To produce this world renown delicacy depends on strict criteria in breed selection, rearing, diet, curing and even cutting method.
Iberico Ham for sale must …
- Primarily be produced from pure black pigs indigenous to the west and southwest of the Iberian Peninsula. The uniform black color and short hair distinguishes this breed from other species. While there are a select few of other approved varieties of pigs, such as the reddish Iberian pig with the distinctive black hoof, the purity of the black Iberian pig specifically meets the high standards for Iberico Ham.
- Enjoy a free breeding environment. This is a key element for consistency in muscle size and fat content. The difference between stable grown pigs and the free roaming Iberian breed is the fat content that accumulates outside the animal’s muscles. Free roaming therefore achieves sufficient muscle growth in the legs and a limited amount of fat veins within the muscle.
- Diet also makes a significant difference in the incomparable flavor and exquisite bouquet of Iberico Ham. From October to January these select pigs feed on acorns within the “dehesa” bucolic ecosystem. Dehesa describes a multifunctional private or communal grazing landscape of southern and central Spain and southern Portugal that provides a natural habitat for Iberian pigs. This environment is a rich forestry containing grassland and trees like oak and cork. As long as they stay within the “dehesa” their primary source of food will consist of wild acorns, plants and roots in this natural ecosystem. Attempts to breed Iberian pigs for ham in other regions that provide an alternate diet has proven to be unsuccessful in achieving the quality of traditional Iberico Ham.
- Iberico ham typically has less salt and goes through a long dry curing process. The hind legs of the Iberian Pig are salted and; based on the size of the animal, hung to dry for one to three years. This curing method has not evolved much over hundreds of years.
- In Spain, the method of cutting Iberico Ham is also a long standing tradition. In fact, a professional Iberico Ham cutter receives specialized training in the handling of the specific tools such as the Iberico-ham knife and ham holder that are employed in this process. These instruments support the slicing procedure by avoiding contact between the cutter’s hands and the delicate meat.
Iberico ham vs serrano ham
Right away, avid consumers of Iberico ham will argue that there are no other cured meats comparable to the distinctive, mouthwatering quality of Iberico Ham. Still, although the flavor of Iberico ham is unmatched, Serrano Ham is often used a means of judgment for quality.
Serrano Ham is a name given to a variety of ham that is produced from mostly white Iberian pigs. However, in some instances, the less appreciated front legs of the Iberian Black Pig are used to produce a high quality Serrano Ham. The subtle yet key variances include the characteristic V-form cut. Ultimately, texture, aroma and flavor makes the distinction between Iberico ham and Serrano ham.
As the most revered and coveted dry aged cured meat in the world Iberico de Bellota Boneless Ham has achieved international acclaim for multiple reasons including health benefits and its decadent flavor profile.
Get your gourmet meats such as Iberico de Bellota Boneless Ham, Whole Bone in Jamon Serrano in addition to Foie Gras, fresh or preserved truffles and other specialty foods at our online store. Also, follow House of Caviar and Fine foods on Facebook to explore the many ways to get recipes and ways to enjoy or incorporate these delicacies into your lifestyle.