How to cut ham, step by step

How to cut ham, step by step

How to cut ham is one of the questions that we want to share with you. So we present a simple manual of cutting and preservation of your Iberian ham or Iberian shoulder, something essential to take advantage of all its qualities of texture and flavours. Although an Iberian Bellota pata negra ham is the culmination of this noble delicacy, the guide is applicable to any piece. The first thing is to know the different parts of the ham:

  • The maza,succulent, veined and with a greater proportion of meat.
  • The babilla or contramaza, narrower than the maza, usually more cured and with less veins.
  • The punta, right at the end of the piece, with a very tasty flavour.
  • The codillo or jarrete, in the highest part of the maza, has a very sweet and characteristic flavours.

To cut the Iberian ham you must have a wide area, which allows you to place all utensils and move comfortably. You will need two knives: a strong one to peel and separate the meat from the bone and a long and flexible ham knife. Also, you must have a sharpener. The ham holder allows you to place the piece in a stable way so you can cut it correctly.

We will begin the cut by the maza, placing the hoof upwards. The first cut will be made around the cane, slightly tilting the debarking knife.

Clean the Iberian ham removing the rind and fat until it is white or pinkish. We will store some slices of bacon and place them on the cut to protect the ham and ensure that it does not dry out during consumption.

We must always cut in parallel to the central axis of the ham, which is marked as if we draw a straight line from the hoof to the tip. And it is important to always do it towards us, taking special care that the free hand is always behind or above the knife.

Resting firmly the blade of the knife against the ham, we will cut slices of the width of the piece, small and thin of about 5 centimetres in length without removing the fat, since this one is very healthy and responsible for the exquisite flavours of the ham.

When reaching the hip bone, we must make a cut with the lace to separate the bone of the ham, which will facilitate the extraction of the slices in that area.

We must try to  cut  always uniform and flat.

By continuing to cut, we will find the bone of the femur. At the moment that we cannot continue cutting, we must turn the ham to start cutting the stubble, placing the hoof down. We will check that this area has less amount of bacon and that its healing is greater.

Once we finish cutting the babilla, we turn the ham again to continue cutting through the tip, from where we will extract some very tasty and succulent slices.

In the upper part we proceed to cut the knuckle, an area with a very characteristic sweet flavour. We must remove the bone of the fibula to continue with the cut.

Once the cutting of the leanest pieces is finished, you can obtain very tasty tacos to be consumed directly or used in the kitchen. The bones can also be used to give more flavour to cooked or broths and they should be cut into small pieces. While the process of consumption of your ham lasts, you should always store it in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight. Try to always cut only the ham that you are going to consume and at the moment you are going to do it. This way you will always ensure the best flavor and the best qualities of the ham.

We hope you found this guide useful on how to cut ham. As firm defenders of Iberian ham and especially the one protected under the Denomination of Origin “La Dehesa de Extremadura”, here you could find a link that allows you to watch a video produced by this regulatory council, How to cut DO Extremadura ham.


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