Iberico ham has some peculiarities that distinguish it from the rest of cured hams that are made in Spain. Its smell, texture and flavor are characteristic of the breed and its diet. Even within the Iberian category, they differ from each other depending on whether they are acorn, field bait or bait. If you want to know the differences between the different Iberian hams, then you have all the info.
Feeding of the acorn-fed Iberian pig.
This pig has been raised and fed throughout its life in the open air in the pastures, feeding on wild fruits, herbs and acorns during the montanera season.
Within this category are acorn-fed spanish hams, both those of 75% and 50% Iberian breed, as well as the 100% racial purity or Pata negra ham. Their diet and aging are the same, only the degree of racial purity differs.
It must be taken into account that they only have access to acorns in the montanera stage that runs from October to March and that the rest of the year, even being outdoors and grazing in the field, they are also fed with cereals and legumes.
Feeding of the Iberian cebo de campo pig.
These Iberian pigs are from which Iberico cebo de campo hams are obtained, and can also be 100%, 75% and 50% Iberian breed. The most widespread and commercialized is the 50% Iberico breed cebo de campo ham.
Like the previous ones, they are raised in freedom and feed on the natural resources present in the field, but the acorns are not intended for them, although sometimes, if there are enough, they also have access to that particular fruit.
Farming in the open air is essential, since they travel many kilometers a day looking for herbs and that gives the meat a distinguished texture.
Feeding of the Iberian cebo pig.
Finally, within the category of Iberian pigs, we have the bait, from which the Iberico cebo hams are made, where the vast majority are of 50% Iberian breed, leaving the purest for the previous two categories.
This animal is raised intensively, that is, on farms. They are not free, nor do they have access to field grasses or grasses. Their diet is strictly based on high-quality cereals.
Their flavor, of course, does not have the nuances that fruits and herbs give jamon de bellota or field bait hams, nor do they have the same infiltration of fat into the muscle, thanks to the constant exercise they do, but they are very high-quality hams. good quality and with an unbeatable quality/price ratio.
What Iberico ham to buy?
It is not a simple answer, because it does not depend only on the price. Personal tastes come into play; if you like more or less the amount of fat, the power of the flavor and other small nuances.
When buying pata negra ham, obviously the outlay will be much higher and in many cases its consumption is associated with special events such as weddings or at Christmas, but you are lucky that there are also Iberico pork shoulders, much more within reach of all and they have nothing to envy to hams; yes, its fat percentage is much higher.
Spanish cebo de campo iberico hams are a very good choice, being much cheaper than acorn-fed ones, they don't have much to envy them, and in the Jamón Pasión online store you can find very good prices.
Iberian bait ham has a very good flavor. It does not have so many taste or aromatic nuances, but, apart from the fact that they are much cheaper Iberico hams, they are ideal for day-to-day use.