Jamon Iberico is superb. It is yet another form of porcine fat that really gets me going. If I knew I only had 24 hours left on this planet, I would definitely consume some of this Spanish ham. Some friends of ours recently returned from Spain and brought us several packages of pre-sliced Jamon Iberico. My wife and I have consumed nearly all of it ourselves. We didnâ€™t share one ounce with anyone else and we donâ€™t feel badly about thisâ€¦ Jamon Iberico is a Spanish ham made from a native strain of Iberian pigs known for their black trotters. They are related to wild boar, I suppose. Raised in special pens in the Southern and Western parts of Spain, each pig is allowed to roam in a large corralled area for up to two years to fatten, develop their muscles and build up flavor.
The pigs gorge themselves on a diet of fallen acorns in the Fall season then they are slaughtered, salted, dried and aged for up to two years. They are not smoked or cooked in any way. The salt does essentially â€œcookâ€ the meat and when ready, it is served thinly sliced, on its own or with some good bread. My favorite Italian dry salted raw ham is a Prosciutto di Parma or better yet a San Daniele but I think Jamon Iberico is significantly better. The color is a deep burgundy/red due to the strain of pig, its active lifestyle prior to slaughtering and the lengthy aging process where over 25% of its weight evaporates leaving a concentrated ham with fantastic flavor. It is streaked or marbled with fat that means flavor, flavor, flavor. It is also firmer or more substantial than the prosciuttos I have tried.
Less than 5% of all hams in Spain are Jamon Iberico and it is wickedly priced. On one U.S. website that is taking orders for U.S. delivery in 2006-2007 when they expect to clear strict U.S.D.A. quality standards, they are quoting a price of USD60 per pound for hams with their bones in!!! Thatâ€™s over PHP7,000 per kilo! Yikes, no wonder they slice it so thinly. Jamon Serrano, on the other hand, now only applies to hams made from white pigs and this is much more common that Jamon Iberico and costs significantly less. If presented with the opportunity, do not pass up the chance to try this superb Jamon Iberico from Spain, you won’t regret it!