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Iberian jamón is not a cold meat per se

El jamón ibérico no es un embutido

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Is Iberian ham a cold meat? This is a question we have all asked ourselves at one time or another, and many people still do not know the correct answer. Iberian ham/jamón ibérico is NOT a cold meat, it is a cured meat. The preparation process is what makes the difference. Read on and we’ll tell you why! Also, discover other false myths such as “it is best to cover the piece of Jamón with its own fat” or “if it has white spots, it is gone bad”.

Why is Jamón ibérico not a cold meat?

Cold meats are all those meat derivatives prepared from meat, usually minced. This meat is usually mixed with pork fat, blood, vegetable products, condiments and spices such as paprika, pepper and garlic, among others. The mixture is placed in different types of cured meats casings -whether natural or artificial- and the whole is subjected then to a curing process.

Jamón, on the other hand, is a cured meat (nothing is stuffed nor squeezed). In this case, the production process is different. Basically, it is a matter of curing the piece, that is, preserving it under very specific conditions in which salt, time, wisdom and care all play a part. At Enrique Tomás, as jamón experts, we call this part “the cooking of the jamón”. To learn more about the jamón curing process, we recommend: Jamón curing phases.

In summary, to make a jamón it is not necessary to put it into casings, but rather it is the result of drying the pig’s hind legs by salting and time.

Types of cured meats

So, what are the types of cold meats? In general terms, we can find different types of cold meats according to the different environmental maturation conditions to which the product is subjected.

At the same time, the additives and ingredients added to the mixture must also be taken into account, since the type of maturation of the product will also depend on this. One of the most important differences is whether they are raw or cooked. Raw cold meats include chorizo, salchichón and longaniza. And among the cooked ones we find turkey or cooked sweet ham.

Tabla de embutidos ibéricos
Iberian cold meats board

For those that are raw, another important classification is whether they are Iberian or not.

Iberian cured meats are those made with meat from Iberian pigs (of the Iberian breed), that is, from the Iberian Peninsula. The most traditional are salchichón and chorizo. For an animal to be considered as such (of Iberian breed), it must have at least 50% Iberian racial purity. The loin/lomo, although it is included among the cold meats, is not a cold meat per se, but a cured meat, since it is also made from a whole piece of meat, without grinding.

At Enrique Tomás we have several types of each, in addition to longaniza and fuet, equally well known and appreciated for their delicious flavor. These types of Spanish Iberian cold meats can be consumed in different ways and formats just like jamón, either in whole pieces or in sliced and vacuum-packed sachets.

How to consume these products

Although jamón is not a cold meat per se, these two products do share the same way of consuming and tasting it. To do this properly, the temperature of the product, the slicing technique (in the case of whole jamón), the duration and conservation must be taken into account.

The optimum temperature for consuming jamón and cured meats is between 20 and 25ºC. If you have a whole piece, you can start slicing and consume it directly, but if you have the jamón or cured jamón sliced and vacuum-packed in the refrigerator, bear in mind that you should take it out about 20 minutes beforehand so that it reaches the ideal temperature at the moment of consumption and remove the vacuum packaging.

The optimum shelf life of a whole piece is about 15 days and in vacuum-packed sachets up to 90 days. To preserve them in the appropriate way in each case we recommend: How to preserve jamón.

One of the ideal ways to enjoy its flavor at 100% is by means of an Iberian jamón and cold meats board. Find out how to prepare it in: How to prepare a charcuterie board and see the results in the following image.

Tabla de ibéricos y frutas de temporada
Iberian meats board and seasonal fruits

Other myths about jamón

“The most expensive jamón is the best one”.

In many areas we tend to think that the most expensive is the best. The same thing happens in the world of jamón, so at Enrique Tomás we want to disprove this belief. The best jamón is the one you like the most. Some people like it more cured, others more tender, some more tasty and others less salty. To find out which is the best for you, if you don’t know them well, the ideal is to let our experts advise you or try the different varieties to find out which is the best for you.

“If the jamón slices have white spots on them, it means that they are not in good condition”.

The little white dots are crystals of one of the 20 amino acids that make up proteins: tyrosine. They appear during the maturation process and are an unmistakable sign that the jamón has been cured correctly. One of the properties of tyrosine is its low solubility, which is why, when the water in the jamón tends to be lost, it regroups, forming those white crystals that indicate optimum aging and a top-quality product.

“It is necessary to cover the jamón with its own fat after slicing”.

The optimal conservation of the piece of jamón is to place it in a cool place without a draft and covered with a lint-free cotton cloth so that light does not penetrate the jamón. If, on the contrary, you leave it in contact with the fat, it becomes a greasier jamón, and this has a negative influence on its flavor. The fat you remove from the jamón should be thrown away.

Jamón is not a cold meat per se
Article Name
Jamón is not a cold meat per se
Did you know that Iberian ham is not a sausage? The key lies in the production process, click here and we will tell you the differences!
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Enrique Tomás
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Otros idiomas: Español Français Deutsch Italiano


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