Iberico pigs are said to be the original swines of Spain and have been domesticated over centuries. The iberico hog is black in color and has very little hair, they have black hooves (which often you hear them referred to as ‘pata negra’) which distinguish it from the Serrano pig. The Iberico pig is huge and can reach up to 430 lbs! They also have a very long snout and slender legs. Most Iberico hogs are grass fed, grain fed or eat other feeds. The iberico hog has veins of fat that run through their muscle because of its high fat content the Iberico is cured for much longer. This long curation process gives the ham a rich complex intense flavor with hints of sweetness that is indeed truly indescribable! You must taste it to enjoy the delicacy of cured ham.
The Acorn Fed Iberico
We bring you here to the crème de la crème the Acorn Fed Iberico hog. These are the destined hogs that are released in “The Dehesa '' in the southern part of Spain and are allowed to graze and feed on acorns that allows them to get fat. These pigs loove to eat acorns! When the Iberico is released they weigh about 200 lbs and can eat up to 20 lbs of acorns a day (that's how much they love acorns) and within 3-4 months they double in size! Once they reach happy, healthy, fat hog status they get moved onto the curation process.
The Art of Curing
The Iberico hog gets packed in salt and hung to dry in the cool air; the salt helps keep the bacteria away. The curation process is a long process especially in acorn fed hams. During the curing process the hams lose nearly half of their weight as the fat slowly drips away. The curation process can be anywhere form 2-4 years! That's how much time it's takes to create a delectable ham! The curation process goes through salting and drying, heating and cooling. This cycle can go two to three times even! The process is significant because it gives the ham a plethora of flavors: sweet, salty, bitter, acid and of course that fifth umami flavor. The meat of the iberico is also considered the most healthy out of animal fats! It is rich in antioxidants and may have the ability to lower bad cholesterol. It is also high in oleic and omega fats and oleic acids!
How to carve and store like a Pro
Carve at room temperature. Remove the layer of fat from the top and the sides of the ham until the meat is exposed. Note: If you plan to consume the ham in 1-2 days you can remove the fat in its entirety Trim the fat as you slice. Cut small, very thin slices, including some of the fat which holds much of the flavor. Remember to slice downwards with the knife. It is best not to use a slicing machine which can alter the flavor adding a metallic taste which can stymie the flavor. As you get closer to the bone it will become difficult to slice. To store and avoid exposure to the air you can buy any of our ham covers that we offer here.You can also cover with plastic wrap, butcher paper or a moistened cloth with olive oil.