How to cut Ham

General Information

The taste and enjoyment of Iberian ham requires a proper cut, fine and precise, to enhance its flavour and mouth feel.

Cutting the ham, in its technique and form, is closely linked to the taste, the use of the piece and its conservation.

The Iberian ham must be maximized, be enjoyed in good company and must also be cut in thin slices, not very long and well presented.

For the best conservation, Iberian ham should be stored in a cool and dry place where the temperature is around 15 ºC and the humidity is 75%. The place, cellar or pantry where the ham is installed must be protected from insects. Also it should not hang outdoors. If the ham is consumed at different times it is advisable to cover the cut surface with pieces of fat or crust from the beginning. In this way we avoid drying out. It is noteworthy that to appreciate its exquisite flavour, you should eat hams, shoulders and cold cuts in room temperature between 20 and 25° C.

How to Cut

1. Place: Hold the piece properly in the mounting.

2. Peeling: Break the ham away from the bacon coverage, leather and crust, which is produced from the natural exudates and mould during the process of curing and ripening. Start the cut vertical to the leg and circulate to the hock.

3. Cutting and consumption: Then both sides carry out tangential sections. The ham is supposed to be consumed in a short time. Otherwise it will continue with the formation of peel.

4. Start up: If you want to eat the ham quickly or want to make a cut that is more attractive, you should begin with the main part, which is the most juicy and infiltrated one. For a slower consumption it is advisable to start in the stifle area, in order to prevent the end to be too dry. For cutting use a carving knife with a narrow blade, long and flexible. For the auxiliary cuts use another knife, short blade and rigid.

5. Cutting: Always parallel like a flat surface. The slices should be almost transparent, not to be longer than 6 or 7 inches. When cutting the main piece of the ham, the hoofs upwards, slice from every part: down, central and at the top. The cut of this package requires the auxiliary cuts. The first to finish off the piece to the knuckle and the second assistant with the knife to remove the hipbone.

6. Finally: The meat close to the bone can not be cut into slices, but in strips and irregular pieces. This is an excellent completion to many dishes and could also be consumed in small pieces. Regarding to presentation you should order the slices on a platter. They are arranged in single layer, perhaps with a slight overlap.