The Iberian ham is a delicacy with unrivalled flavour and, depending on the area from which its meat is extracted, it will have a more cured or tender, or more or less intense taste. But what are the parts of the Iberian ham? In Enrique Tomás we’ll explain them one by one and we’ll tell you how to cut them to make perfect slices thereof , Let’s get started!
There are six parts of Iberian ham
Let’s see what the parts of the Iberian ham are:
- Caña (Cane): this is the area closest to the hoof and also the narrowest. When it comes to distinguishing between an Iberian ham and a Serrano ham, the best way to do it with the naked eye is to look at this part; if it is very thin and stylised, the leg will be Iberian, otherwise it will have been produced with the meat of white pigs. The cane is perfect for making ham dice with it and if you don’t manage to remove it, that’s fine, bring it to one of our stores and we’ll take care of it!
- Jarrete (Hock) is the meat that is between the cane and the cushion and, as it is so juicy, aromatic and tasty, it is the favorite of many ham lovers because it melts in the mouth and floods it with flavor.
- Maza (Cushion): This is the part of the ham where there is more meat and is more tender than in other areas. The reason for this is that the bone accelerates the curing process and, as the flesh of the cushion is very far from it, it will take longer to cure.
- Contramaza (Fore Cushion): is the one located opposite the cushion and the same thing happens as in the previous case.
- Babilla (Knuckle): is the part of the piece that is on the opposite side of the cushion and, as it has less flesh and is closer to the bone, it cures earlier. When it comes to starting a ham, there are those who say that it is best to start by this part, but at Enrique Tomás we always say that it depends. If you are going to open the piece and finish it right away, you can do it by the cushion so you can enjoy the taste of this part as soon as possible. However, if you’re only a few at home and you think it’s going to last a couple of days, laminate the knuckle first to prevent it from overcuring and enjoy it after the cushion, when you go to sink the tooth will still be tender.
- Culata (Tip): as its name suggests, it is located at the end of the ham, just opposite the hoof.
Having said that, we have talked about the parts of the Iberian ham, but are they all there thereabove? No, these are the edible parts but there’s still one that we’ve mentioned and not explained, the hoof.
Parts of the Iberian Ham
The hoof is the part of the leg on which the pigs stand, i.e. the part that is directly in contact with the ground. Many believe that if they are black, it means that they come from Iberian pigs, but nothing could be further from the truth! It can happen that an Iberian pig has a white hoof and a white pig has a Whether you know about ham or not, whether you like it or no...; that’s all relative!
As we mentioned at the beginning, if you want to distinguish a Serrano ham from an Iberian ham, you have to look at the cane and, now that you know, avoid being swindled. However, if you want to be completely sure, you just have to go to a trusted store, and can you think of a better one than Enrique Tomás?