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Many hamIberian ham (jamón ibérico) is a culinary tradition in Spa... More lovers usually ask themselves when buying a good Iberian ham, how they should choose. The most common way to make this decision is to opt for a top-quality ham, but do you know all the different types of Iberian hamsHam is one of the star products of the Spanish gastronomy, a...? Do you know the differences between them? At Enrique Tomás we are going to explain to you what aspects you should pay attention to when choosing a good Iberian ham. The most important thing is that it suits your taste, preferences and needs.
We all know that 100% Iberian acorn-fed acorn-fed hamThe Iberico de Bellota ham is the best ham in the the world,... (Jamón de Bellota 100% Ibérico), popularly known as pata negra, is the best qualityThe assessment of the quality of Iberian ham/jamón is based... More ham. However, this does not mean that it is the one you will like the most, nor does it mean that it is the only good alternative when it comes to buying a ham. That said, how do you choose a good Iberian ham? By looking for it in specialized establishments such as Enrique Tomás, you can be sure of the best quality guarantee.
In our stores there is no such thing as a bad quality Iberian ham, but neither is there only one recommended ham. We must bear in mind that if the quality is good it will always be good, but it is another thing if everyone likes it in the same way, and it is not an exact science either, and we really know that a ham is good when we start to cutThe cutting of ham is a skill that requires a lot of dexteri... More it and above all when we taste it. Here are some basic tips to differentiate whether a ham is of good quality.
It is very easy to find packaged jamónThe head of the ham is the front part where the hoof is loca... More with labels where you can read that it is top quality and whose slices are exactly the same size and shape as each other, perfect for a sandwich. If you have come across such a package, be wary. As master jamón makers, we know that jamón slices do not have this identical shape. If some companies achieve it, it is because they join several loose pieces of different rest os hams with others, freeze them and cut them this way, and we are especially referring to the boneless pieces
It has to look shiny because if not, it is dry, and therefore you will not enjoy its flavor to the fullest. It is best if it is tender and juicy. Iberian ham should have bright white streaks in between the meat. This is the fat infiltrated in the muscle; an exclusive capacity of the Iberian pig.
When the Iberian ham is also Bellota ham, the shine is even more intense and the fatThe bacon of the ham/jamón is the layer of fat that covers ... More almost transparent, due to the acornThe sugar from acorns is an important component in the produ... More oil ingested by the Iberian pigThe pig is a wonderful animal that is part of the famous Med... in the pasture.
Now we know what to look for, but how to choose the best Iberian ham for me? Well, according to your tastes. We can differentiate between Iberian cebo ham, Iberian field-fed ham, Iberian acorn-fed ham and 100% Iberian acorn-fed ham. We tell you the differences!
At Enrique Tomás we have different types of ham or shoulder ham that are classified according to quality standards and are differentiated by the number of stars we give them. What does this classification depend on? Well, nothing more and nothing less than the breed of pig it comes from, the feedIberian pig feed should be of high quality and consist of a ... More it has received and the curingWhen we talk about curing in gastronomy we are talking about... time of each piece.
In this case, the Iberian pig has lived on a farm, but also in freedom grazing in the countryside, being able to feed on some herbs and wild fruits and acquiring some qualities that will make it a better ham. Even so, it must be taken into account that the basis of their diet has been provided by feed and cereals. In this type of pigs, the percentage of Iberian breedThe Iberian pig is a breed of pig originating from the Iberi... More purity is usually between 50% and 75%. Its curing time is also around 24 months.
In this case, the Iberian pig has lived on farm, but also in freedom grazing in the countryside, being able to feed on some wild herbs and fruits and acquiring some qualities that will make it a better ham. Even so, it must be taken into account that the basis of their diet has been provided by feed and cereals. In this type of pigs, the percentage of Iberian breed purity is usually between 50% and 75%. Its curing time is also around 24 months.
Acorn-fed Iberian hams (Jamón de Bellota), on the other hand, come from pigs that have made the montanera, the name given to the last fattening phase of the pigs and which takes place from October to February in the dehesas. During the winter, the pigs are released into the wild where they feed on acorns and roam freely. Thanks to the pigs’ ability to infiltrate the fat into the muscle, to a diet based on acorns and natural products, and to the activity of the animals during these almost five months, their front and hind legs acquire the characteristics that make their meat so juicy and delicious. In this type of Jamón, the percentage of Iberian breed purity is usually between 50% and 75%.
The one popularly known as “Pata Negra”. This Jamón has done everything we have explained in the previous point, but it meets a very important and specific requirement: it is a purebred Iberian pig, that is, from a 100% Iberian father and mother. It is the only one that can be considered 100% Iberian and, for this reason, it is the most prized and the most expensive.
After knowing all the details, the conclusion would be that the best one does not have to be the most expensive, but the one you like the most. At Enrique Tomás, faithful to our principles, our first recommendation is that you buy the one you like the most, let yourself go by your instinct and share the flavor you are most passionate about. What really makes the ham’s value the best is that you enjoy it to the fullest. Let you palate and the occasion decide for you!
We leave you above with a summary video where we explain the keys to choosing the best ham for you. Also, if you still have any doubts, you can contact our professional advisors in the live chat on the web and they will recommend the best one according to your needs and goals
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