Free shipping +info

Gastos de envío Free national and international shipping +info
Buy Ham Shoulder

How to start carving a ham shoulder-Paleta?

Otros idiomas: Español Français Deutsch Italiano

Knowing how to start cutting an Iberian ham shoulder is a determining factor, because only by cutting the meat to the required thickness, thin enough to melt and thick enough to show the nuances, can you enjoy a top quality product. At Enrique Tomás we care about each piece and we pamper them all equally so that they have a unique taste; however, our work is useless if you cannot take advantage of all its taste by tasting it properly. If you have no idea how to cut ham shoulders, you can buy this product already sliced but if, on the contrary, you want to extract the meat from your piece yourself, this is what you have to take into account.

How to start cutting an Iberian (ham) shoulder

In the bars, restaurants and specialized shops the Iberian shoulders are finished immediately and placed in the ham holder with the hoof up to cut first the meat of the maza that is more tender. However, at home we don’t have to follow the same trend. Tools that you need to cut an Iberian ham shoulder Make a note of the tools you need to make the perfect cut:

  • 1. Knife: not just any knife can cut the shoulder, but you’ll need a long, flexible ham knife.
  • 2. Peeling knife: this is an indispensable tool and is strong and wide.
  • 3. Boning knife: shorter than the previous one but also indispensable.
  • 4. Sharpener or sharpening steel.
  • 5. Ham holder or stand for shoulder.
  • 6. Tweezers: if you have access to one, it will be perfect but, if not, it’s okay because they are not indispensable.

So, once you have all the elements, all you have to do is place the shoulder on the ham stand and in Enrique Tomás we will explain how to do it. So that you don’t have any doubts, we leave you this video on how to start a shoulder and how to cut it.


Parts of the Iberian shoulder

Once you have all the utensils to start a pork shoulder, the first thing to know is that the shoulder has three parts, so we can see which part to open:

1. Maza: the juiciest part

2. Contramaza: a more cured area

3. Codillo o jarrete: where the meat is more fibrous and has sweeter nuances   partes-basicas-paleta So how do you start cutting an Iberian shoulder?

It depends on what you’re going to use it for. If you are going to share the shoulder with your friends or family, the best thing to do is to place the hoof facing upwards, as is done in the restoration, because as your piece is going to be finished soon, you will be able to serve first the juiciest meat of the mace and then the rest.

On the other hand, if you are going to enjoy the shoulder at home and you are few members, it will be better to place it upside down, with the hoof facing down, because in this way the most cured meat will be served first and the one from the mace will still be in its point when you are going to taste it. However, what we have just explained to you is only a recommendation.

If, although you are few at home, you want to enjoy the meat of the mace already, go ahead. Then you can bring us the piece without any problem so that we can bone it and vacuum pack the counter-mace (contramaza) and knuckle (jarrete). You must bear in mind that this conservation process delays the expiration of the food because, by extracting the oxygen from the package, it does not become bad so quickly.

The vacuum-packed sachets that we have at Enrique Tomás are 80 grams but if you bring us your piece, which you do not have to have bought in our stores, we will slice it and pack it in the size you want. The vacuum-packed ones can last up to 90 days so if you keep them in a dry, dark place with a temperature between 17 and 23ºC, that is, in any pantry, they will be perfect when you are going to consume them. Don’t give it any more thought and enjoy your whole or sliced shoulder as soon as possible!

How to cut a shoulder at home

Now you know how to start an Iberian shoulder but how to cut it? Every step counts for you to enjoy all its taste and aroma. It is much more important than it seems because only by doing it the right way, you can enjoy all the taste and aroma of the meat.

Tips for cutting a pork shoulder

Tip 1

Before starting to cut an Iberian shoulder you have to know that the rind helps to keep the meat in good condition so you do not have to remove more than necessary. However, once you have cut it you must throw it away because under no circumstances must it be used to cover the meat of the shoulder. The fat will go rancid and if you put it next to your piece, it will pass on its flavor and your curing will lose all its nuances.

Tip 2

You have to pay attention to the thickness of the slices because they don’t have to be too thin or too thick. What’s the trick? Remember that the virtue is in the middle, that is, the knife has to insinuate itself under the slice. If you follow this advice you will get the oil of the Iberian ham to melt in cascade in your mouth when it comes into contact with the heat of your palate at the same time that the flavours penetrate your taste buds. Also, keep in mind that the right direction to cut is towards us, but be careful, we don’t want you to cut yourself.

Tip 3

Little by little you will finish your shoulder and it is important that while you are cutting it you use the boning knife, the smallest one, to cut the meat around the bone and thus separate it; the slices you cut will come out easily. When the bones prevent you from obtaining more slices of ham, it will be time to turn the shoulder over and cut the other side.

Discover the different types of Iberian shoulder by Enrique Tomás

Steps for cutting a ham shoulder


Place the shoulder according to the instructions we just gave you. With the maza upwards and the contramaza downwards or vice versa. In this step-by-step guide we will put the hoof up so we will start cutting with the maza.


Remove the crust and the yellow fat. Remember that you should only remove the part you are going to eat, so your shoulder will always be at the perfect curing point.


Slice the jarrete, that is, the highest part of the pig’s front leg.


Follow with the maza and the contramaza. Make fine, straight cuts from the hoof to the tip.


When you have taken all the meat from this part, turn the shoulder over and remove the rind.


Now all you have to do is slice the stifle and finish enjoying the taste of your Iberian pork shoulder. If you want to make the most of the product, you can bring the product to one of Enrique Tomás’ shops to cut the shoulder boneless or semi-boneless by machine.

How do you start a ham (jamón)?

And a ham? Where do you start a ham? Is it the same as the Iberian shoulder? Well, when it comes to cut it open through the maza or the babilla, the reasoning is exactly the same. If you are going to consume your ham quickly, you’d better start by cutting by the maza.

If, on the other hand, you are going to eat it quietly at home, it is better to put the hoof down. Now that you know where to start with a ham, the next question arises: how to cut it correctly? Well, when it comes to cutting a ham, the technique is similar but not exactly the same.

As you know, the Iberian ham and the shoulder are different parts of the pig and therefore need a different procedure when opening and cutting them. If you want to know how to open a ham at home, at Enrique Tomás we have made a very extensive step-by-step guide for you to learn how to cut it easily. We also leave you this video so that you don’t miss any details.  


What do I do if I don’t cut the ham shoulder properly?

As easy as it may seem, we know that it is very complicated to do and only the real slicing maestros can get the most out of each piece. If you see that you can still get a little more meat from your shoulder but you can’t do it anymore, bring it to any of our Enrique Tomás stores. The best specialists will finish it regardless of whether you have bought your shoulder in one of our shops or not.

As soon as we have finished with it, we will prepare it in vacuum-packed sliced packs that can be kept for up to three months. When you want to enjoy an authentic acorn-fed “Bellota”or fattened Iberian shoulder, all you have to do is open one of your packs, wait for the meat to reach room temperature for an hour and then you can enjoy all its flavour! Now that you have all the facts at hand, do you dare to start cutting a shoulder at home? We hope the answer is yes, so here’s a recommendation with the best ham in the world, and shoulders too!

Sliced ham
Tipo de servicio
Sliced ham
Nombre del proveedor
Enrique Tomás S.L.,
Telephone No.+34 933838485
Sales Dpt
If you want to know how to cut open a ham shoulder you will find all necessary instructions here. Take your time!

Otros idiomas: Español Français Deutsch Italiano


Deja un comentario

Tu email no se publicará.
  • *
  • *
  • *
Find out everything!
Sign up for the newsletter

To be on top of our new stores, recommended products, promotions and events.