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Differences between Serrano and Iberian ham, get to know them!

Otros idiomas: Español

Knowing the difference between Serrano ham and Iberian ham is important in order to know what type of Jamón we are buying and have not had the wool pulled over our eyes, as not all hams have the same price. In Enrique Tomás, in addition to selling ham of the best quality, we want to raise awareness of their culture and provide information to help expand the knowledge we have about this product so typical of our land. To do this, we are going to start with the main question : What is the difference between Jamón Serrano/Serrano ham and Jamón Ibérico/Iberian ham?

Difference between Serrano and Iberian ham according to the breed of pig

Iberian ham is a product obtained from Iberian pigs (of Iberian breed) and Serrano ham is that which comes from white pigs. Both hams are obtained from the hind legs of the animal but the Iberian ham, unlike the Serrano, can only be produced in Spain and Portugal for two reasons; first, the Iberian pigs are only in our peninsula and secondly, only in these countries are the weather conditions necessary for the Iberian ham can be produced as it should and get the right results for this Jamón to be so delicious and special.

The Iberian Ham/Jamón Ibérico comes from the exclusive Iberian piglet

The Iberian pig is a unique species with characteristics that differentiate it from other animals of the same species. Its physiological traits are different from other piglet breeds, and the most special is its unique capacity to infiltrate fat into the muscle.  As a result of this exclusive feature, its meat is very juicy and tasty, resulting in a food product with unmatched flavour and taste on the market. Thus, it is recognized worldwide as a gastronomic jewel produced exclusively in Spain.

cerdo iberico comiendo

Iberian piglets

The Serrano Ham / Jamón Serrano comes from the white pig

What happens with Serrano ham? This type of cured ham is obtained from white pigs such as Duroc, Pietrain or Large White breeds, among others, i.e. those that are not Iberian breed. We can find this type of piglets anywhere in the world. Those that are dedicated to the production of ham/jamón follow an appropriate diet so that the end result is as delicious as possible. Jamón Serrano is more than a delicacy in Spain.  It is in fact a normal product and part of every family’s kitchen. The diet is usually based on feed and cereals. Shop Serrano ham.

Cerdo Ibérico y Cerdo Blanco

Iberian pig and white pig respectively

Depending on the breed of white pig it comes from and the treatment and curing time, we can identify different flavors, qualities or characteristics that differentiate the ham of each region.

In Spain we name it Jamón Serrano, but for example in Italy they speak of “Prosciutto”, in Portugal of Presunto or in France of “Jambon”. And it is clear that each of them has its own characteristics in terms of flavor, appearance and quality. Yet Serrano ham, there is only one!!!

Difference according to the curing process

The curing process of Iberian ham and Serrano ham is the same, that is, it follows the same guidelines, but there is are two factors that differentiates them notably,  time and dedication.

As we have already explained, Iberian piglets have a characteristic that no other animal on Earth possesses, they infiltrate fat into the muscle and this is what makes their meat tastier than that of white pigs and, therefore, this has a tremendous impact on the time and care to cure the meat. The curing process of Iberian ham takes longer because of several factors, being the infiltration of fat on to muscle, the main one. While Serrano ham only needs fifteen months approx. to be ready, an Iberian ham can take between 24 and 36 months or longer, depending on whether it is Iberian but reared totally in farm, free-range, free range and acorn-fed. Also the percentage of the Iberian breed is important. the higher the Iberian breed percentage, the better the quality, if we refer to curing time and human dedication.  See all types of ham in our online shop

Our three types of Spanish Jamon available

Difference between Serrano and Iberian ham according to flavor

We have already explained that the main difference between Serrano and Iberian ham is that they come from different breeds of the same animal, but how does this affect their flavor? Iberian hams have a genetic peculiarity that no other animal on Earth has: they infiltrate the fat into the muscle and this, together with a specific diet and the exercise that the pig can do in the pasture when it is released into the wild, results in a very juicy meat full of nuances and aromas.

The first thing to bear in mind is that even if a non-Iberian pig is released in the pasture, its meat will never be like Iberian meat, since white pigs do not infiltrate the fat. If a farmer wants to feed his white pigs with acorns and take them to the pasture for the “montanera”, he can do so without any problem; however, it should be noted that the flavor of the white pig will not be the same as that of the Iberian pig, the only thing he will achieve will be a more optimal meat, since the pigs will be happier and this will be reflected in the product obtained from them.

Differences between Serrano and Iberian ham
Article Name
Differences between Serrano and Iberian ham
Learn the difference between Serrano and Iberian ham according to the different factors that make the taste of one and the other totally different.
Publisher Name
Enrique Tomás S.L.
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Otros idiomas: Español


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