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mikeycook

Jamón Ibérico D.O.

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I heard a rumor that Iberico ham would soon be available for export. Anyone know when and who in the U.S. might carry it?


"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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What is the actual difference between Iberico Ham and Serrano Ham? I know that Serrano Ham is now widely available and I smuggled in some Iberico Ham when I last visited Spain. I understand it tastes different but I don't understand why Serrano is importable and Iberico is not.


"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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What is the actual difference between Iberico Ham and Serrano Ham? I know that Serrano Ham is now widely available and I smuggled in some Iberico Ham when I last visited Spain. I understand it tastes different but I don't understand why Serrano is importable and Iberico is not.

You can find the difference between serrano and ibérico here:

Ibérico vs Serrano

Basically, all comes down to ibérico being of a particular pig variety (pata negra (black footed)), with special breeding based on acorns in south / southwestern Spain.

It looks like the import banning is related to spanish slaughterhouse being non-compliance with USDA slaughter rules, which prevents ibérico exports. The serrano you get in the states comes from pigs slaughtered in some UE country which complies with USDA rules, and cured in Spain.


PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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Thanks Pedro. Already looking forward to 2005! :smile:


"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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I heard a rumor that Iberico ham would soon be available for export.  Anyone know when and who in the U.S. might carry it?

Tienda.com is taking pre-orders for Ibérico for the 2005 delivery; all you need is a $200 USD deposit and another 4-600 (or so) come delivery time depending on whether you want boneless or bone-in.

They already sell Serrano from hams from pigs slaughtered in Denmark. Of course I can't get in on any of this action since the HPFB won't let any into Canada.

:angry:

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Tienda.com is taking pre-orders for Ibérico for the 2005 delivery; all you need is a $200 USD deposit and another 4-600 (or so) come delivery time depending on whether you want boneless or bone-in.

If it's boneless, it's not ibérico. Period. You don't want to spoil a good jamón ibérico having it pre-cut, IMHO.

For people as clumsy as me, it's always a risk for their physical integrity and the ones around to try to have some decent cuts out of a jamón. Nevertheless, the survivors will appreciate it.

PS: I should qualify my former affirmation. I mean, you don't want to have a whole piece of jamón pre-cut. If it's for almost immediate eating, it's fine leaving the cutting operation to the people from the store to get you the amount you're about to consume. Otherwise, cut it yourself.


Edited by pedro (log)

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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The difference between Iberico ham and regular serrano is probably best described as the difference between a white wine and a vintage port or sherry...

The iberico comes from the "pata negra"/blackfooted pig, but to meet the highest standards (Gran reserva or cinco J) quite a few other elements must be present.

1. There are different denomination de origin that are known for providing the best quality, the most reknowned being Jabugo, Salamanca and Huelva.

2. The pigs should have ample space for roaming and their diet should consist of a large percentage of acorns, this gives the ham the label "bellotta".

3. Minimum curing/hanging time should be 12 months, most reputable producers will have 24-36 months on average, I once tasted a 60month ham that was tremendous! Of course this reduces the ham's weight substantially, hence the exorbitant pricing..

4. And if you're really an iberico freak: Ask for the right hind leg, as this is almost the most tender! (The pata negra pig almost always rests and sleeps on its right side, so this ham is more "massaged" and has a fuller flavour, compare it to the treatment of Japan's Kobe beef.)

Remember: In Spain the imported San Daniele will run you approx. 35 Euro/kilo sliced, whereas the top quality ibericos will cost >120 Euros/kilo!

IMHO the best producers are Sanchez Romero de Caravajal and Joselito.

Enjoy!

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One thing to note is that it's not really so much that there's no Spanish slaughterhouse that complies with USDA regulations, as much as it is that there's been none willing to spend the money and go to the expense and trouble of having a USDA inspector on the premises. Consider that it's not been demonstrated that there's a market or appreciation here in the US for a ham that's going to cost four times what a prociutto imported from Italy will cost. Importers of prosciutto have reported trouble with importing those hams, even after it was first legalized, because of various problems. So you have to add the not so small possibility that even after complying with USDA slaghterhouse requirements, shipments may be held up for other reasons. It's also not like the product is begging for customers in at home. The serrano hams now sold in the US are not the serrano hams sold in Spain and it's easy to see why.


Robert Buxbaum

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My english is not good, sorry. I am a spanish 'ganadero' with some Iberico pigs and We make chorizo , ham, lomo, paletilla, etc every year. We'd like to export to USA. What kind of restrictions there are ??? I suppose that complete pieces are difficult to cut. Do I send them sliced and vacuum ??

thank you

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Salmorejo, welcome to eGullet. It would be great to hear more from you. I'm not sure how much we can help you. It is very difficult to export meat products to the USA in the best of times, in the past few years, the US authorities have become even more concerned about the possibility of importing any disease that will affect the animals here and with outbreaks of hoof and mouth disease in Europe, they have been known to stop almost all imports from time to time.

The first requirement by the US, is that there must be a United States Department of Agriculture representative at the slaughterhouse where the pigs are killed. His job is to see that all of the other requirements are met and I would not be surprised to learn that some of the requirements seem to make no sense. Generally speaking it's not going to be worth the expense unless you are a very large operation. It was not until recently that real Italian prosciutto was allowed into the US. I hear that real Spanish hams will be arriving in a year or so. So it is possible to export to the USA. Nevertheless, the laws are so complex and subject to change at any time, that it's not a job easily tackled without agents and advisors. It's also too complex a subject to really get definitive answers for on a board such as this.

As far as slicing hams, sausages and lomo, I'm of the opinion that these should be sliced at the last moment or as close it as possible, at the retail store if not the home, but not when they are shipped from the point of origin, if quality is really important. It is not practical for me to keep a whole cured ham at home, but I like to buy it at a store where they slice it for me when I am there. In many parts of the USA, people do not have access to such a store and presliced vacuum packed ham is their only option.

I don't know if you will get much more help here. Perhaps someone will have a good lead for you to go to for better information. Nevertheless, your English is very good and I hope you stay around to tell us more about Spanish foods.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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I do not have specifics about US regulations. You might want to check La Española Meats, Inc. www.donajuana.com. There is an article in their web site that explains some of the requirements that they need to produce Spanish meats in US soil.

You could ask several mail in order catalogues like La Española Meats or www.latienda.com about distributing your products through them. Also, you could contact an Spanish consulate or American Embassy...

I have seen Palacios chorizo and Revilla jamon from Spain in a supermarket in Minneapolis, you could contact those companies.

Unfortunately, all my ideas deal with what could be your competitors, but is worth a try.

Buena Suerte

Alex

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Hi all I am in California and find it impossible to find Iberico ham in USA. I know it was even hard to find in Spain. Any help?

Thanks

D


David West

A.K.A. The Mushroom Man

Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

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It's easy to find here; great ibérico is another thing. It's also illegal to ship it to the US. As reported last year, ibérico will be available in the US in 2005, when a long-standing ban on Spanish pork products due to the presence of African swine fever in Spain will finally be fully lifted. It was lifted a couple of years ago throughout Europe, after the fever was confirmed as having disappeared, but the USDA is always slower to respond. The ban's already been lifted, BTW, for some pork products, including ham from 'white' pigs (i.e., your regular international pig), called 'jamón serrano'.


Edited by vserna (log)

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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When the time comes, you could order Jamon Iberico from LaTienda.com:

Jamon Iberico

I am guessing that other vendors will have Jamon Iberico when it is allowed. You might also want to check:

La Española Meats, Inc

I have great luck with their products.

Alex

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My understanding is that the Serrano ham that's currently being imported from Spain, is from pork that was raised and slaughtered in Denmark and cured as ham in Spain. I don't have any substantiation at hand, but I also haven't found any information to counter that understanding.


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Yes, that's it. It doesn't matter, since 'white' pigs are basically identical. This year the first USDA-approved slaughterhouses will make it possible to sacrifice Iberian pigs and to start exporting the cured hams in 2005.


Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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Yes, that's it. It doesn't matter, since 'white' pigs are basically identical.

Identical in breed and genetics, but I'd think there was "terroir" in pigs to some extent. What I'm saying is the quality of the meat is going to be partially dependant on how they're raised and what they're fed. The second half of the equation for making hams is the curing. Hams can also be cured almost anywhere. Could the techniques be exported. Could modern technology reproduce the environment in which the traditional hams are cured?


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Identical in breed and genetics, but I'd think there was "terroir" in pigs to some extent. What I'm saying is the quality of the meat is going to be partially dependant on how they're raised and what they're fed. The second half of the equation for making hams is the curing. Hams can also be cured almost anywhere. Could the techniques be exported. Could modern technology reproduce the environment in which the traditional hams are cured?

Very little terroir in white pigs used for regular Serrano - they eat normal feed, no acorns or anything; they don't cavort in the mountains. But curing the meat is paramount. The pigs are sacrificed in November-December, and they are cured in open-windowed rooms in mountainous areas like Teruel with constant currents of the very cold, very dry (crucial, this!) Spanish winter winds. Can this be replicated? No doubt. I'd say the Atlas mountains of Morocco would be ideal. I'm not sure they would be enthused with 'khalufo', i.e. pigs, over there... :unsure:


Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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Thank you all for reply's. Talking about it makes me want it more. I bought some at a couple of diferent locations in Spain back in '00 when there, but the hands down winner was from Mallorca gourmet shop in Madrid. They told me a whole story about this pig and so on so forth then hand sliced ,from a new leg, about a pound of odd sized slices. His knife skills were less than excellent but I insisted that I wanted fresh sliced not pre-packed and would be fine with his job. I believe I paid about $50 for this slightly over a pound of ham. It was worth more. Each bite was heaven and I shared it with many friends many times and we all talk about it to this day. The amzingly sweet fat veins running through the beautiful mahagony colored meat. A true work of culinary art.

D


David West

A.K.A. The Mushroom Man

Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

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I think good Iberico Ham or Jabugo is a different world.

I have taken my foreign friends to a store on C/ Arenal, walking from Puerta del Sol towards Arenal, about 15 meters once the street starts, on the right hand side.

They cut it very well, and will pack any quantity air-tight.

The best thing is to always try it, and if you like it, ask them to cut it for you and make it airtight.

Another famous place is the gourmet area of El Corte Ingles.

I was caught in us customs once and they took it away (it was air-tight). It killed me...

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I was caught in us customs once and they took it away (it was air-tight). It killed me...

I can tell you stories, in private and about other people of course. :laugh:


Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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It's easy to find here; great ibérico is another thing.

vserna, which specific producer(s) would you recommend for "great" iberico?

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A good, reliable brand is Sánchez Romero Carvajal. Although it's obviously far better sliced off the bone and eaten immediately, I wonder whether it wouldn't be easier, mail-wise, to order their vacuum-packs. I haven't tried them but they're sold in the fancy groceries in Portugal which sell the Cinco Jotas ham.

In fact, it was my dinner today, straight back from the Corte Inglés, where the slicers know their business (the Portuguese cut irritating square-sized pieces which are way too thick for my taste), preceded by some luscious mojama, sliced from a freshly-opened tuna belly.

As Jabugo is very near the Portuguese border, lots of us go there to buy our hams and it may be that Sánchez Romero Carvajal is a mania of ours and that there are far better ones to be found from smaller producers. But it's about as delicious as you can imagine and two ultra-thin estate-packed 100 gram packages, slipped between the pages of a magazine and sent in an A-4 envelope... ;)

P.S. The rest of the First Spain web site looks good too!

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