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Cutting Iberian ham

Useful tips.

The knives

3 knives are required. One with large and strong blade for the preparation and cleaning of the ham. A second with an elongated, narrow and flexible blade, for slicing. And a third with a short, strong blade, for cutting close to the bone.

Slicing

The slices must be small and as fine as possible, making sure they contain the intramuscular fat to make them more succulent. The line of the cut should be uniform, towards the trotter or downwards. As a means of precaution, make sure that the knife blade is facing away from you.

Conservation

Regardless of the time required for consumption, the ham must always have a clean edge and profile, to avoid a rancid taste and the forming of useless rind. If you stop cutting, the cut area must be protected with some pieces of fat and rind, kept from the initial cut, so that the fat on the surface always remains fresh.

Temperature

The ham should not be eaten cold (loss of taste), and should not be stored in the refrigerator. You should not cut more ham than you want to eat at any one time. If we want the Iberian ham to bestow us with all its flavour, instead of serving it on a cold dish, we recommend you heat the surface with warm water, which will exalt the excellent flavour of the ham.

Before starting, let’s get to know the main areas or pieces of ham; the maza (rump), the contramaza (opposite the rump), the punta (hip) and the codillo (hind shank).

partes

Place the ham on the “JAMONERO” with the trotter facing upwards, making sure it is secure. If you intend to consume it in a single day, eliminate all of the rind and the outer fat, “peeling” the ham. Otherwise clean and trim the amount you need.

Use the large knife to cut the rind and the outer fat and make a deep cut half way into the ham. From this cut, take the “jamonero” knife (long and thin), and begin to remove the slices from the ‘maza’ the thickest part of the rump. We recommend you position slices of the hip and codillo between the slices of the central section.

The slices should be as small and as fine as possible. The line of the cut should be uniform, towards the trotter or downwards. As a means of precaution, make sure that the knife blade is facing away from you.

On reaching the hip, make a decisive cut close to the bone, using the short and strong knife, so that the slices from this area are also clean. Cut the meat close to the bone meat into irregular pieces.

After cutting the ‘maza’, turn the ham over and, with the trotter facing down, repeat the same operation on the ‘contramaza’ until you reach the bone. This is the hardest part of the ham, and the most difficult to cut.