The Iberian pig is a unique species of our peninsula and with an unparalleled genetic peculiarity: it has the ability to infiltrate fat into the muscle. But what does this really mean? This is the factor by which the ham obtained from the Iberian pig is juicier than the one from the white pig and, if you want to know how is the Iberico Bellota ham made, you are at the right place; here is all the information you need to know!
The relevant factors for an Iberico Bellota ham to be considered as such
There are two critical aspects for a ham to be called Iberico de According to the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, th... (acorn):
- The species: we have already talked about the Iberian breed, but not all the pigs of this breed are obtained from both Iberian fathers and mothers: in some cases, the racial purity is less than 100%; does this mean that their legs can no longer be categorised as Iberico Bellota? No it doesn’t. All the The Iberian pig is an animal of the porcine breed, the name ... that descend from at least one Iberian progenitor (this is usually the mother) are to be considered Iberian. Therefore, in order to preserve the characteristics of the Iberian breed, such as its fat infiltration capacity or the more stylised shape of its legs, among others, when it has to be crossed with another breed, the Duroc breed, typical of the United States and with similar characteristics (but not the same) to the Iberian breed, is the chosen one.
- The feeding: all the pigs, Iberian or not, are fattened with animal feed until they have reached 100 kg. of weight and, once they have, the producers decide whether or not they are taken to make the The Montanera Season is a period in which pigs are free in t..., where they will be fed on acorns and wild herbs. The products obtained from pigs brought to the The Iberian Pastureland is a type of ecosystem made up of ho... and fed on acorns are called Iberico Bellota Ham is one of the star products of the Spanish gastronomy, a....
How to make Iberico Bellota ham
Once the Iberian The pig is a wonderful animal that is part of the famous Med..., fed in the pastureland, has already finished the fattening and has reached 150 kg. of weight, the production process of the hams begins; it is the “cooking stage”as we call it in Enrique Tomás and this usually lasts about three years.
The first step is salting, when the hams are buried in salt for an average of one day per kilogram, i.e. if a leg weighs 14 kilos, it will be buried for around 14 days. Although in the four Iberian ham origins the salting is similar, each area has its own peculiarities and it must be borne also in mind that most of the ham shoulders and hams have a V-shaped cut in the upper part to allow the salt to penetrate better; however, there is an exception, the Jabugo ham shoulders.
After this, the next phase is drying and usually lasts about six months during which fat infiltrates between the muscle fibers. This stage starts between March and April and all the producers have to do is maintain the temperature and humidity that the ham pieces need.
Finally, the When we talk about curing in gastronomy we are talking about... stage arrives, and this depends on the type of ham or ham shoulder to be dried, being about 24 months in the case of Iberico Bellota ham shoulder and three years in the case of hams. At this stage, it is necessary to be more attentive to these delicacies, as they must be greased from time to time in order to protect them and ensure that they are cured as homogeneously as possible. It is important to watch each piece in detail because only by supervising them one by one, the area where they has less fat can be seen properly and, therefore, where more lard must be put to prevent it from drying out. After this process, the hams and ham shoulders will be ready….now you know how long it takes for a ham to cure!
Now that you know how to make Iberico Bellota ham and understand why it is so well appreciated, there is one more thing to keep in mind. This production process followed by Iberico Bellota pigs is no different from that of the Iberico de Cebo or Serrano hams, but it is considerably longer. For example, a Serrano ham is considered a premium ham that is at the top o... shoulder hung in the drying room for fifteen months will be ready, a time far away from the two years needed for Iberico Bellota Iberian pigs. Therefore, this product is more expensive because, in addition to coming from an animal whose meat is juicier, it has needed more attention and care for longer time – only experts in the field are able to produce this first-rate delicacy!