How to Cut Jamon Serrano With a Knife

A thinly sliced salt cured meat from the hind leg of a pig, jamon serrano is akin to prosciutto. But its texture and flavor are entirely distinct.

While the production process looks the same for both, what sets them apart is the breed of pig used and its diet. The length of time spent curing and drying the ham are also critical.

Hind leg cut

Jamon serrano is one of the most popular cured hams in Spain. It’s made from the hind leg of a pig, which is then flavoured with salt and other spices.

It’s low in fat and is full of nutrients. It is also a healthy alternative to red meat.

You can use it to make jerky, stews and soups, or simply slice it thin for stir-fry. It’s a great option for those who want to avoid high-fat and carbohydrate foods but enjoy delicious, meaty meals.

Once you have removed the outer rind, moulds and skin, start removing the soft, oxidized yellow fat. This will help you get to the pink/red meat and white fat that you’ll be slicing later on.

Shoulder cut

Dry-cured ham is a culinary treasure in Spain and can be enjoyed on its own or sliced into small, bite-sized pieces. It can also be used as an ingredient in a variety of recipes.

Regardless of whether it is a jamon iberico or serrano, it is important to cut it with a sharp knife. This will allow you to make fine, clean cuts and will increase the shelf life of your ham.

First, mount the jamon in a holder that is firm and sturdy and has a flat surface. Place it at a comfortable height for slicing and position yourself in front of the hoof (or paleta).

If you plan to consume your ham quickly, start by cutting the thickest part, or “maza”, from the hoof. Alternatively, if you want to take your time and enjoy this ham for several days, start by slicing the narrower side, or “contramaza”.

After removing the skin and fat, the slice should be fine and almost transparent. This is a very delicate technique, and it can take some practice to achieve results that look perfect.

Crosswise cut

The crosswise cut is a little more tricky to pull off than the classic jamon cutting method from hoof to butt end, but it produces some pretty impressive results. The meat is carved crosswise rather than lengthwise, which means it takes less muscle to slice and keeps the ham tender for longer.

To do this, you must first trim the jamon; i.e., remove the skin and outer fat that covers the area to be sliced, as well as any moulds and exudates from around the cut. This may be done before the slicing begins, or at the very least, as you finish each section.

Next, mount the jamon in the holder designed for this purpose, and set it in place to begin slicing. If you plan on consuming the jamon in the same day, start at the thicker end or “maza” (a); if you’re planning on slicing it over a period of time, you’ll want to start at the narrower side or “contramaza” (b). In addition to slicing the right way, it is also helpful to protect the cut area by placing butcher paper or a cloth moistened with olive oil, so that the meat remains fresh.

Rump cut

Carving Jamon Serrano with a knife is part of the process that contributes to its unique taste and texture. It requires dedication and skill, which can be learned through practice and patience.

To make thin slices of this delicate meat, you’ll need a ham knife, a paring knife and a boneing knife. You’ll also need gloves and tongs to handle the meat hygienically.

Carlos Sanchez, master artisan carver at Enrique Tomas, uses a cuchillo jamonero (ham knife) that has the springy flexibility of a fencing sword. He sweeps the blade forward along la maza (the thick rump) to expertly cut 1-millimeter-thin lonchas that are a contrast between ruby red meat and white fat ribbons that run along their edges.

These thin slices are perfect for charcuterie boards, especially when paired with Marcona almonds and classic Manzanilla olives. They also complement a wide range of other charcuterie items to provide a delicious, balanced flavor palette. This savory Spanish delicacy can be enjoyed in many ways, including in sandwiches, tacos, and soups.

Ken Onion

Ken Onion is an innovative knifemaker whose work has revolutionized the industry. Born in 1963, he hails from Kaneohe, Hawaii, and invented the SpeedSafe assisted opening mechanism for Kershaw Knives - earning him a position as Premier Knife Designer with them.

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