Iberico Ham – A Definitive Guide
If you thought that all ham tasted the same, prepare to be proven wrong, as this ham isn’t your standard ham sandwich luncheon meat.
What is Iberico Ham? – Iberico ham, or Jamon Iberico, is a Spanish delicacy that comes from the black Iberico pig. These free-range pigs live comfortably and are fed an exclusive diet of the finest-quality acorns, which is what helps to create an earthy, nutty, yet rich and luxurious taste. However, it is the preservation process that really brings this dish to life. The meat is lightly salted and then cured by being exposed to the elements for up to six months. The resulting Iberico Ham legs have a rich, deep, and golden hue, which along with the marbled fat and the deep red color of the meat, provide a truly exquisite culinary experience. Such bold flavors are easily captured in foods like Iberico chorizo, Iberico Jamon Ham Potato Chips, and on plates of charcuterie at the finest Spanish restaurants.
Iberico ham: what to know
It’s all about the acorns – If you thought that simply feeding pigs any old acorns would be enough to create Iberico Ham you are very much mistaken. The acorns are just as important as the meat itself, because they help create the delicious marbling effect of the fat, and must therefore be of the finest quality.
Know your Pata Negra – Only 100% Iberian pigs are categorized as Pata Negra. These large pigs have black hides, minimal hair, long snouts and veins of fat running through their muscles as well as having many layers of fat in general.
The tip of the Iberico – Though the entire leg of ham will taste absolutely divine, the best part of the ham is the tip of the leg. This is where most of the most potent flavor is, as it is tender, and mellow.