Pata Negra Ham
Popularly, in Spain, when we want to imply that a product, especially a food product, is of the best possible quality, we use the expression pata negra, appropriating the meaning we give to the highest quality ham legs: 100% iberico acorn-fed hams.
It must be understood that the name pata negra refers to the high quality, rather than a physical trait of the pig, since the vast majority of Iberian hams, even if they are not acorn-fed, also have black hoofs, except for some breeds, such as the Manchado de Jabugo, which has white. Even the Duroc breed of pig, which produces very good quality Serrano hams, can have a black hoof and is not Iberian.
Since the regulations regulating the quality of Iberian ham and its labeling came to light, among many other issues to guarantee the product, the term pata negra ham can only be used to refer to Spanish hams made from 100% Iberian pigs and that have fed on herbs, wild grasses and especially acorns during the montanera season.
What is pata negra ham?
A pata negra ham is an Iberian ham that has been produced from the hind legs of purebred Iberian pigs, i.e. its progenitors are 100% of the Iberian breed and have been reared in the open air, feeding on the natural resources of the countryside and acorns during the fattening season, when these fruits are ripe, from October to March.
Of all the Iberico hams, this pata negra category is one of the most sought-after thanks to its unbeatable quality and the unique gastronomic experience it provides, very different from many other meat products.
It is very easy to distinguish it, since it must have a black flange or label (clamp) around the shank of the ham, near the hoof, with the logo of the ASICI (Interprofessional Association of the Iberian Pig) which should read: Jamón de bellota 100% Ibérico.
Pata Negra Spanish ham can also be known as "black label ham" (jamón etiqueta negra) or "black flange."
It is possible that there are commercial names in other types of ham that use the expression "black label ham", but in these cases, the ham will not have the black identifying flange that specifies the percentage of Iberian breed and its diet, that is, the acorns, nor may it appear written anywhere that it is an Iberian ham.
Why buy pata negra ham at Jamón Pasión?
All pata negra hams at Jamón Pasión are 100% pure-bred Iberian hams, and certified with distinctive legal labels that guarantee their quality. In addition to this obvious fact, each of our hams is stored in the producers' facilities under optimal conditions of temperature and humidity, guaranteeing that the meat retains its unequalled quality.
When you buy from Jamón Pasión, you will also enjoy competitive prices and the best options to choose from.
Without intermediaries: competitive prices
Our pata negra hams are shipped directly from the place of production, without intermediaries or warehouse changes that could affect their quality. After selecting your pata negra Iberian ham from our online shop, an expert verifies the quality by calado, which involves assessing the maturation and aroma by inserting a thin, elongated instrument called a "Cala" into specific points of the ham.
This process without intermediaries not only guarantees quality, but also allows you to enjoy more competitive prices when purchasing Pata Negra acorn-fed hams. We also offer Acorn-fed 100% Iberico pata negra Boned hams, which are prepared immediately after purchase. The rind and surface fat are removed and vacuum-packed for delivery.
Variety of high-quality options
Additionally, at Jamón Pasión you will find the highest quality options, including PDO Los Pedroches Pata Negra Acorn-fed iberico ham and PDO Jabugo hams. These designations are a guarantee of excellence and are granted only to Iberian products that meet the most rigorous quality standards. We also offer pata negra bellota hams from renowned brands, such as the prestigious 5 Jotas, and with a very good quality at a very reasonable price, the Benito iberico de bellota ham.
At Jamón Pasión we also have a selection of Spanish hams without additives, including pata negra hams, such as those of the brand "Jamones de Juviles", made in the heart of the Sierra Nevada National Park, Granada.
In short, buying pata negra ham at Jamón Pasión is a choice that guarantees quality, variety and competitive prices for cured ham lovers.
What is the difference between pata negra and acorn-fed ham?
There are very few differences between both legs of ham. The most notable are the following:
- The percentage of Iberian breed: As we have explained, Pata Negra ham is 100% Iberian, while in acorn-fed ham the breed purity can vary between 50% and 75%. This is because a purebred pig, which must always be the mother according to regulations, is crossed with a Duroc breed pig, obtaining 50% Iberian, or a purebred pig with a 50% Iberian, obtaining 75% % Iberian Iberian breed.
- Fat infiltration: A pata negra ham, obtained from a pure breed Iberian pig, has less fat infiltration, resulting in a meat with a greater proportion of lean and without as much marbling as an Iberian acorn-fed ham crossed with Duroc might have.
- Flavor: Although the two Iberian hams are of excellent quality and have an intense flavour, the Pata Negra ham will have more differentiated nuances , such as more pronounced notes of acorns and nuts.
- Shape of the leg: The more racial purity, the more stylized the leg of ham will be, obtaining an elongated, profiled shape with a much finer shank than other hams.
- Price: Buying acorn-fed pata negra ham will always be somewhat more expensive than acorn-fed ham, which is not 100% Iberian, although the difference is not substantial.
For everything else, they are very similar. They have several similarities precisely in the most important thing when it comes to making Iberian hams: the type of aging and the diet. In both cases, it is exactly the same. They are raised outdoors, traveling many kilometers daily in search of pastures and during the montanera season, they feed exclusively on acorns and other natural resources from the pasture.
All these similarities and differences between these two categories of Iberian ham can also be applied to pata negra acorn-fed Iberian pork shoulders and bellota iberian por shoulder.
Characteristics of pata negra ham
The main characteristic that differentiates it from the rest of the hams is the combination of its percentage of Iberian breed, which is 100% pure, with its diet based on acorns and wild fruits in the pasture during the montanera period. Only this combination, and no other, of racial and dietary factors, results in this gourmet product so appreciated around the world.
Externally it has an elongated appearance and a thin leg , with a good proportion of external covering fat, greater than any other Iberian ham. Internally it has a lower percentage of infiltrated fat than other Iberian hams, resulting in a more cured meat, with less marbling. By having less fat infiltration, its flavor will be more delicate, where the nuances will stand out easily.
It is a product that from a nutritional point of view provides many benefits, both its meat and its fat. Due to the consumption of acorns, which can reach 12 kg/day per animal, the fat of Pata Negra ham contains a large contribution of unsaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid, around 55%-60%. Just a little bit less than olive oil. Despite what it may seem, it is a very good ally of good cholesterol (HDL) and reduces bad cholesterol (LDL).
Consumption of acorn-fed pata negra hams
The most purist fans choose to savor the Pata Negra Iberian ham on its own, avoiding its use in culinary preparations so as not to disguise its subtle gastronomic nuances. At most, they would choose to accompany it with bread and cheese, or a suitable wine that does not compromise the delicacy of the product.
Although it can be used at room temperature in various recipes (without cooking), such as in typical Spanish dishes such as broad beans with onion, peas with ham, artichokes or the famous broken eggs with ham, for an authentic culinary experience, it is recommended to enjoy it in thin Freshly cut slices straight from the leg.
How to cut pata negra ham?
For long-term consumption, as is common at home, it is recommended to start with the stifle, which is the narrowest part and is shown with the hoof facing down. This area is less juicy and more seasoned, so leaving it until last could make it too tough and difficult to cut or eat. In contrast, the mace, which is the part with the most fat and juiciness, will remain in excellent condition for a long time.
In this article we explain step by step how to carve a ham leg.
Pairing of Iberian pata negra ham
It is very common to pair pata negra acorn-fed ham with aged or reserve red wines, like most red meats with a powerful flavor, but a wine of these characteristics could camouflage the flavor of the ham. If you are going to choose a red wine, make sure it is a young red wine that has not spent much time in the barrel.
According to experts, white wines help the ham stand out more. As it contains fewer tannins, the astringency decreases and the flavors of the slice of ham are enhanced.
By having more acidity, this type of wine helps cleanse the palate so that each bite of pata negra ham is a new explosion of flavor. Always choose dry white wines, never sweet.
Sommeliers and those most knowledgeable in pairing affirm that the best combination for a good Iberian pata negra ham is Fino and Manzanilla . They are white wines with the particularity of having a lot of body but with a delicate character. Furthermore, the floral and nutty nuances of these wines form the perfect combination with the fat of the ham and its acorn nuances.
On the other hand, champagne and cava would also be a good choice.
How to preserve pata negra Iberian ham
The care and maintenance of a pata negra acorn-fed ham is quite simple and can be summarized in following some basic tips:
- Get rid of all the packaging: When you decide to buy a pata negra online, you will surely receive it very well packaged to prevent any damage during transport. As soon as you receive it, you must take it out of the box, remove the greaseproof paper and the cotton cover so that it can breathe and the humidity does not create mold.
- Locate it in a suitable place: The ideal is to put it in a place in the house away from direct sunlight and external heat sources such as stoves, radiators or appliance motors.
- Cover the cut: Once you have started eating the acorn-fed pata negra ham, although it is customary to put a slice of bacon that was removed when cleaning it on the cut, it is not appropriate. It is advisable to cover it with a layer of plastic wrap and drop a clean kitchen cloth on top of it. It is a very good idea, if you do not consume ham daily, to spread a little of the fat on it, as if it were butter, which we can obtain by scraping the sides of the ham with the blunt part of a knife and thus keep that area hydrated.