Why Spanish Iberian Ham Is The World’s Most Expensive Cured Meat | Regional Eats

Why Spanish Iberian Ham Is The World’s Most Expensive Cured Meat | Regional Eats


Claudia Romeo: Today we’re in Cortegana, in the Sierra de Huelva
in Andalusia in Spain, to find out all about Ibérico ham. Iberian ham, or jamón Ibérico, is one of the most expensive
meats in the world. A leg of it can cost as much as $4,500. But what is it about this cured meat that makes it cost so much? The reason why it’s so prestigious is actually standing behind me. I don’t know if you can see, but there is some pigs behind me, and they are of this special breed called the black Iberian pigs. During their life, they
feed mostly on acorns, which are very, very
present in the Sierra here, and that’s what gives this
ham such a special flavor. So, today, we’re going
to visit a ham factory to learn more about how
the actual ham is made, and then we’re going to
talk about how it’s cut, how it’s served, and taste it
to see why it is so special. Black Iberian pigs descend from wild boars and have been considered a delicacy since long before our times. In the year 77, Roman
writer Pliny the Elder praised their superior quality. In 1493, when he sailed
across the Atlantic for the second time, Christopher Columbus had Iberian pigs aboard his caravels. The most expensive of them
all sells for 4,100 euros, which is over $4,500. But despite the high price, this ham remains a local favorite. Black Iberian pigs can be found in the southern and western regions of the Iberian Peninsula, which comprises Spain and Portugal. In Spain, Iberian ham
production is confined to the provinces of Salamanca, Huelva, Córdoba, Cáceres, and Badajoz. Portugal also produces it under the name presunto Ibérico. Spanish Iberian ham is protected by the EU’s Protected
Designation of Origin. The five Spanish provinces
where it is produced are split into four different Protected Designations of Origin. Out of the total
production of Iberian ham, only 6% comes with a black label, indicating it’s the
100% Iberian pure breed. Iberian pigs are raised in an ecosystem known as the dehesa. Claudia: The pigs live in the wild, roaming freely in the dehesa. Per regulations, there shouldn’t be more than two pigs per
hectare of grassland. The dehesa is rich in
olives, nuts, and berries, but especially in acorns, called “bellotas” in Spanish, which are rich in
nutrients and fatty acids. Basically, a superfood for pigs. Claudia: So, after learning all about the black Iberian pig and why it’s such a special pig and different from any other breed, we are at a local company
here in Cortegana, Lazo, to find out about the
making process of the hams. Ham comes from the rear leg of the pig. Most companies will
also cure the front leg, called paleta, and use the rest of the meat for other products, like chorizo. Lazo stores over 150,000
legs in its cellars. Some of the hams made here come from an even rarer breed of the Iberian pig, the Manchado de Jabugo, which has black patches on its skin and can only be found
in the Sierra de Huelva. The pigs are killed when
they are 15 months old. The hams and paletas are then buried in salt for 15 to 20 days, depending on weight. Claudia: After salting, the process starts to gradually slow down. The legs spend about two months in a temperature-controlled room. Then they are moved to an airy room for six to nine months. Claudia: The final stage of curing, and also the longest, is the one in cellars. On average, an Iberian ham needs a couple of years to
reach its peak flavor, but some legs can cure for much longer. Claudia: To get a better
understanding of how Iberian ham is labeled on the market, we visited Productos de la Sierra, a shop in Seville that
sources local products from Andalusia at no
farther than 250 kilometers. How we know if it’s a good ham? Needs to be, you know, soft, and the fat needs to melt with a little bit of temperature, so it’s a good one. Claudia: As with its
origin and environment, Iberian ham is carved
using a specific technique, which can take a lot of time to learn. Claudia: So, this one
is our jamón Ibérico. This is 100% Ibérico,
which is the highest grade. It’s cut in, like, such a divine shape. I’ve never seen a ham cut like this. You know, you’re used to
those, like, very long, just a bit sad slices. This one looks, like, kind of royal. And the room smells so
nice. It smells so nice. And actually, before I try it, I just want to point out
how shiny is this fat. So good. So good. I have no
words, and my voice is gone. [laughs] It is so good. It’s not salty. Like, that’s the thing that astonishes me every time that I have, like, good-quality ham, or meat in general, that it doesn’t taste
like salt even though it’s a main stage of the
production, of course. It’s just nice and
flavorful. Taste is nutty. Like, you can taste the acorn in here. It really traces back to the actual pig that made this. It’s really nice, and especially the fat. You should keep it; it’s
very nice and greasy, adds a bit more of a buttery texture. And the marbling as well. Because these pigs are smaller than the usual pigs we’re used to, and there is more muscles in
their legs rather than fat. It’s very, very tender, and it really has a different flavor compared to other hams.

100 thoughts on “Why Spanish Iberian Ham Is The World’s Most Expensive Cured Meat | Regional Eats

  1. What is this and why am I watching this and tbh this is the only insider I don’t like for some reason… but I still like watching insider.

  2. I need 1000 subs and 4000 watching hrs needed for monetization…so everyone plz help..Subscribe to my channel and click the bell icon for getting updates on Automobiles, Tech(Unboxing), Music, Food and Gaming videos. Lots of videos coming soon

  3. I just got a “Jamon Serrano” as my birthday gift,then this video comes out. Oh Synchronicity Lol

  4. We have these kinds of breeds in South Africa too. I hope they didn't just imply that they're only found in those regions?

  5. The reason why its expensive is cause it takes forever to cure lol. Nobody wants to sit on a product that long and not profit off of it

  6. Oh! I'm Portuguese and I eat that every day.
    We buy the Spanish one usually, but we also buy presunto ibérico sometimes.

    Edit: I just asked my mother about the price and it's really expensive.
    175 gr. – 70€

  7. harvested at just 15 months old…
    such a damn short life to live and end up a commodity. i suppose the fact they get a free and natural lifestyle up till that point means something. certainly beats the shitty way regular old pigs are kept and treated. i damn sure like meat, but wish it wasn't such a shitty industry.

  8. I feel like the dude is making shit up on the spot. Lmao you know it's a good ham when it's soft and the fat melts with a slight temperature variation? 😂 😂

  9. Lucky enough to live 30 mins away from spain 🤣🤣 but even dough we also make this type of ham here in Portugal the spanish make it better have to admit 😅 every 2 weeks i go to spain for fuel and this stuff❤

  10. Who love this ham .Those who love to eat like here 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

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