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Jamón de Bellota Ibérico: what is it and how is it made?

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Dou you know the Jamón de bellota ibérico? Do you know why it is so called and how it is made? In this post we will answer all your questions about this delicatessen product of Spanish gastronomy. Jamón de Bellota is considered a culinary jewel worldwide for three main reasons: the breed of pig from which it comes, the food and care this animal receives during its life and the treatment of Jamón during the drying process. Do you want to be an expert in the world of Jamón? Let’s take a closer look at each of the reasons!      

The Iberian breed

The Iberian pig is a unique species in the Iberian Peninsula raised both in Spain and Portugal. It is an animal greatly appreciated in the gastronomic sector because it is thanks to it that the famous Jamón de Bellota is produced. Genetically, this breed of pig differs from other animals of the same species in that it can infiltrate fat into muscle fibers.

For the production of Jamón de Bellota 100% Iberico, only pigs whose mother and father are 100% Iberian are considered. The offspring of this pig breed , as well as the products produced from them, such as Jamón, can have varying levels of purity: 50%, 75% or 100%. View the infographic below to better understand this!

This breed of pig has genetic characteristics that differentiate it from other animals of the same species, the most outstanding of which is that it has the capacity to infiltrate fat into the muscle.

In the production of Jamón ibérico, not only the breed is taken into account, but also the animal’s breeding process, as well as the place where it lives and its diet.

Have you ever heard of “la montanera” season?

The Iberian pigs from which Jamón de Bellota  is produced are those that have undergone what is called “la montanera” season. During the autumn and winter months (4 months), the Iberian pig grazes freely in the dehesa (Iberian pastureland) and feeds on acorns, that is the last phase of its rearing.

The dehesas are located in Extremadura, Salamanca and Andalusia, these places have the most favorable climatic conditions to develop the acorn: Iberian acorns are the famous fruit on which the Iberian pigs feed and which are the source of the famous Jamón de Bellota. This fruit has an exquisite oil that the pig infiltrates into its muscle and is the cause of the highly prized fat contained in this Jamón after the curing and drying process. Furthermore, this characteristic gives its name to the product itself.

The curing/drying process of the Jamón de Bellota

One of the things that distinguishes Jamón de Bellota is its juicy and flavorful texture, resulting in a jamón that is simply unbeatable on the market. This result is not only due to its origin and diet, but also to the curing process. At Enrique Tomás, we refer to this part as “the cooking”. These moments are when our “maestro jamonero” combine all their skills to produce the best Jamón.

There is nothing more nor less to this cooking than the conditions in which le leg is preserved, the amount of salt, the storage temperature, and the curing time. In short, a Jamón is cured with time, wisdom, care and salt.

In the case of Jamón de Bellota, five years can pass from the time the animal is born to the time it is finished and we buy it. In order for the Jamón to be cured properly, it must be cured for thirity-six to forty-eitght months, depending on its weight.

cuanto tarda en curarse un jamon
Curing/drying process of Jamón

The jamón de bellota 100% ibérico: the real “Pata Negra”.

We refer to a Jamón as “ Pata Negra” when we say that it comes from pigs with both Iberian parents, i.e. it comes from pigs whose meat is 100% Iberian and gives it a unique category.

In the case of food, of course they are also pigs that have made “la montanera” and have grazed free in the pastureland being able to muscle their legs and feed on acorns, wild fruits and other wild plants.

The purity of the breed enhances to the maximum the flavor of each piece of Jamón Bellota 100% ibérico due to its great capacity of fat infiltration into the muscle. Try it and you will see that its flavor is irresistible! It practically melts in your mouth like butter.

como presentar un buen plato de jamon

What makes a Jamón de Bellota Ibérico different?

At Enrique Tomás, we have different varieties of Jamón Bellota Ibérico, depending on the percentage of purity of the Iberian breed.  That is why you will find our Jamón de Bellota with a red label and our Jamón Bellota 100% Ibérico with a black label, as you can see in the image below.

At Enrique Tomás, we emphasize teaching you how to distinguish between different types of Jamón because this is the only way to reach our goal: to make sure you enjoy eating it. If you become an expert in the types, you will know how to identify the one you like best. In addition, you will find them all in different formats so you can choose which one is best according to your needs or objectives. Browse online now!

Jamón de Bellota Ibérico: what is it and how is it made?
Article Name
Jamón de Bellota Ibérico: what is it and how is it made?
Do you know the Jamón Bellota Ibérico? Do you know how it is made? We tell you all about this delicatessen product of Spanish gastronomy.
Publisher Name
Enrique Tomás S.L.
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Otros idiomas: Español Français Deutsch Italiano


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