Ibérico Showcase

A cutting board and two types of knives are needed: a “jamonero” type longer one with a narrow and flexible blade for cutting the ham, and another “machete” type shorter one with a wide and short blade for cleaning the ham.
1

Step 01

Properly place the piece onto the "jamonera" (ham support/board); the only condition to be met by this device is that it provides a sturdy fixation for the ham and comfort for the cutter.
2

Step 02

PEEL: consists of removing part of the fat from the cover of the ham, its skin and the crust formed by natural moulds and exudates resulting of the drying and maturing process. It starts from a circular cut perpendicular to the leg at the height of the ham hock (4); afterwards, tangential cuts are made on either side. If the ham is to be eaten within a short time, it should be peeled completely.
3

Step 03

If the ham is to be eaten within a short time, or a more visually appealing presentation is desired, the cutting of the piece should begin with the main part (A) of the piece, the juiciest and most infiltrated part. When its consumption will take longer, it is advisable to begin to cut it in the area of the flank (B) to avoid that it becomes excessively dry if left for the end.
For this cutting, use the "jamonero" knife with a narrow, long and flexible blade. For peeling the ham and auxiliary cuts (5) and (6), use the other knife with the shorter, stiffer blade.
4

Step 04

CUTS, always parallel to each other, following the lines marked with arrows in the picture, always leaving a visibly flat surface without ribbed markings.
THE SLICES must be very fine, almost transparent, as wide as the piece and no longer than 6 or 7 cm. When the main part is cut (hoof facing upwards), it is advisable to combine for each serving slices from the central area (A), the end (C), and the knuckle (D); the cut of this main part requires auxiliary cuts (5) and (6), the first to finish off the piece well in the direction of the knuckle and the second, using the tip of an auxiliary knife, to loosen the hip bone. The slices are set onto the place in a single layer, perhaps with just a slight overlap between them.
5

Step 05

Finally, the meat adhered to the bones which may not be cut into slices, rather into irregular strips and pieces, is an excellent complement for many dishes and stews, or may even be eaten as little cubes. The bones, to be cut with a saw into pieces between 10 and 12 cm, are used to elaborate delicious broths.