For the production of Iberian ham, the hind legs are used, the front legs being called shoulders or shoulders. The rest of the pork pieces are used to make sausages, salami and other sausages, or to be marketed as meat products.
If there is a precious treasure in the Spanish pantry, this is undoubtedly the pure Iberian ham fed with acorns, which in each slice synthesizes all the strength and magic of our land and has nothing to envy other products that, perhaps better advertised, They have reached the world category of delicacies without even touching the excellence of taste that characterises our best legs.
Obtaining our excellent Iberian pig products is carried out by means of a delicate and selective procedure, composed of the following stages:
The pig carcass is cut and the ham is branded the week that corresponds to the slaughter. It is carried out in authorised cutting rooms with every guarantee of hygiene. The ham is given a typically serrano cut. These hams go to the air chamber.
The hams are placed one on top of the other, separated by salt at a maximum height of eight hams in the salting chamber, remaining in it for approximately one day per kilo of weight at a temperature between 1º and 5º C and humidity around 80-90% . Very important phase because the ham that is considered of quality should not be salty, on the contrary, its taste must be sweet. Once the previous phase is finished, the hams are washed to remove the salt that remains on the surface, they are left between 35 and 60 days, at temperatures between 3º and 6º C and humidity of 80-90%.
It is carried out in outdoor dryers. They are hung so that the humidity disappears little by little, with a rigorous temperature control (from 15º to 30º C) and ventilation. In these natural dryers of La Dehesa de Huelva they remain from six to nine months, where sweating occurs due to the summer heat and the fat is distributed through the muscle fibers, generating a juicy and perfumed meat.
To achieve a slow maturation, the hams are lowered into the cellars (it is essential to keep the temperature and humidity constant). It is usually carried out in the fall and they remain in the cellar for between 6 and 18 months, depending on their weight, with temperatures between 15º and 20º C and humidity of 60-80%.
In this phase, the fungi that appear on the hams on the outside facilitate the aroma of the Iberian ham (bouquet). When the ham leaves the cellar, it is soaked through a bone (called a cove), which is stuck into the ham. The calla lily is removed and smelled, and should give off a pleasant and strong smell. In this whole process of curing the ham, a weight that ranges from 30 to 35% has been lost.
The ham thus obtained is of unmatched quality and is appreciated by all “gourmets” in the world, since Roman times.
For its correct identification, it should be noted that it is an elongated piece, finished in a hoof. The meat varies from pink to red in color, with a very pleasant aroma, slightly salty and even sweet taste, with a slightly fibrous texture, soft fat and a pleasant flavour.
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