WHAT IS JAMON IBERICO?
Also known as Iberian (southwestern Spain) ham, Jamon Iberico is exclusively from the native black pig. They’re a primitive breed, distinctive for having little hair and hooves that are actually black. With a much larger amount of fat both over and running through the muscles, they are cured for much longer periods of time then most other breeds. Covered in sea salt, these pig legs are then hung to dry for 2 to 4 years. Over this time they lose more then half of their weight as fat and moisture are lost. With repeated winter and summer seasons resulting in the heating and cooling of the meat, different chemical reactions cyclically occur as the meat is cured. This results in a flavor that is truly unique among even other cured meats. In the days before refrigeration was invented, this is how our ancestors preserved protein for the long winter months.
WHERE IS A JAMON IBERICO CUT LOCATED?
The 2 front legs are considered “shoulder” cuts and due to their increased musculature have a different flavor and texture. They are shorter and result in smaller portions. It has a greater amount of fat and is cured for a shorter time then the back legs a.k.a. “ham.” Some experts argue that the shoulder cut has a stronger but less sophisticated flavor.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BELLOTA AND JAMON IBERICO?
The majority of this ham is made from pigs that are fed eating corn and other traditional feed. These are considered white label . Bellota or black label hams are typically twice as expensive as white label ones. These are from free range pigs that are free to eat their favorite acorns and other wild pasture plants. The term pata negra refers only to these pigs. One pig can eat up to 22 lbs (10 kg.) of acorns in 1 day. That is why their name “Bellota” in Spanish means acorn. Red label hams are pigs that are raised the same as black label, but at least 50% of their ancestry is black pig. Green label hams are fed a combination of acorns and grain. To find out more, read our Food Fight on Bellota vs. Cebo!
HOW LONG DO I COOK JAMON IBERICO FOR?
You do not. This is a dry cured meat that through the application of salt and time is perfect to eat as is!