Knowing how to cut/slice a Paleta (ham shoulder) is much more important than it seems because just by doing it the right way you can enjoy all the flavour and aromas of meat. Are you trying to figure out what the trick is about? You don’t have to worry anymore because in Enrique Tomás we’ll explain it to you in detail so that you can do it yourself and if, after trying, you still don’t get it right, bring us your ham shoulder, we’ll prepare it in individual vacuum-packs so that you only have to open it and enjoy it!
How to cut a Paleta -Ham shoulder at home
The first thing you have to do is make sure you have everything you need, i. e. you have to have a ham holder, a ham knife, a special knife for deboning and a knife suitable for removing the ham crust. Finally, the knife sharpener, that rounded utensil with which you will be able to sharpen your knives.
If you have everything ready, it’s time to put the paleta on the ham holder. In bars and restaurants, the hoof is turned upwards to serve first the meat of the maza (the part of the Paleta/Jamón where there is more meat and thus the fat is more infiltrated into the muscle, also, where Jamón slices can be bigger and more homogeneous), which is more tender, and then that of the contramaza (a more dry cured and narrower part opposite to the contramaza). However, you don’t have to do it that way if you don’t want to, but it depends on the use you’re going to give it and on which part you like it best. If you are few members at home, it is advisable to put the hoof down and thus enjoy before the meat of the contramaza that is more dry-cured and more tender, besides the maza. However, if you prefer the most tender meat, you can start with the maza and bring us the paleta (ham shoulder) so that we can pack the contramaza in some vacuum sachets for you so that you can keep it long and safe.
On the other hand, if you are going to share your paleta with friends and family, you can place it as it is done in bars and restaurants because it will be finished sooner. The most important thing, regardless of how you place the ham shoulder (paleta), is that you slice it correctly and in Enrique Tomás we will guide you with some good tips to help you carve the paleta:
- Before you start cutting a paleta iberica, you should know that the rind helps to keep the meat in good condition so you don’t have to remove more than necessary. However, the excess fat should to be thrown away because it should not be used under no circumstances to cover the exposed jamón of the paleta. Once the fat is cut off the piece, it becomes musty and rancid, therefore, if you put it on top of your piece, it will pass its taste onto it and your paleta will lose all its flavour nuances.
- You have to pay attention to the thickness of the slices because they do not have to be very thin or very thick. What’s the catch? Remember that virtue is just in between, i. e. the knife has to insinuate itself under the slice. If you follow this advice, you will get that the natural oil of the ham melts gradually in your mouth when it comes into contact with the heat of your palate while the flavours penetrate your taste buds. Also, keep in mind that the correct cutting direction is towards you but, beware, we don’t want you to get hurt.
- Little by little you will be finishing your paleta and it is important that while you are cutting it you use the deboning knife, the smallest one, to cut the meat around the bone and separate it; the slices will come out easily. When the bones prevent you from getting more Jamón slices, it will be time to turn the paleta around and start cutting the other side.
As easy as it may seem, we know this is no easy task and only the real Jamón experts can take full advantage of each ham piece. If you see that you can still get a little more jamón from your paleta but you feel that you can no longer do it, bring it to any of our Enrique Tomás stores. The best specialists will cut it off regardless of whether or not you have bought your ham piece in one of our stores. As soon as we have finished with it, we will prepare it in vacuum packed sachets that you can keep up to three months. When you want to enjoy an authentic Paleta Ibérica de bellota o cebo, you will only have to open one of your sachets, wait for the meat to air a little and then, you will be able to enjoy all its flavour!
Now that you have all the facts at hand, do you dare to start cutting a ham shoulder-Paleta at home? We hope the answer is yes, so here’s a recommendation with the best Jamón in the world as well as the best Paleta!