Occasionally I´m asked if I know of any Spanish ham that’s made in the USA. Perhaps obtainable would be a better word, because authentic jamón serrano can only be cured in Spain. Until relatively recently, these sumptuous Spanish dry-cured hams were NOT available in the States due to US regulations. 1998 was the first year that sumptuous jamón serrano was permitted into the United States. But, let’s take a look at what exactly is this nutty-flavored jamon Serrano … how it’s made … plus, how about that caviar of Spanish hams – jamón Ibérico?
jamon serrano made in the usa – all about jamon serrano
Jamón (pronounced ham-ON) Serrano is Spain´s delectable dry-cured ham, made from white pigs, serrano meaning “from the mountains”.
The curing process has been perfected over years …
First, the hams are buried between layers of coarse sea salt and curing salts.
After being left for a number of days, they’re washed, and the curing and aging process begins – usually lasting some 6 to 14 months.
An expert will regularly pierce the leathery crust with a long splinter of cow bone – the whiff of ham on the splinter being the way a fine jamón is determined.
Most – though not all – pure Ibérico pigs are black with black hoofs – hence the term pata negra.
It´s the pigs’ marvelous, health-giving diet that sets jamón Ibéricoapart from other hams.
Once these healthy hogs are ready for fattening they’re left to roam woods and dehesa (pastureland) at will, gorging on acorns – bellotas.
It’s the large acreage needed for this natural fattening process which
causes the high price of these sensational Ibérico hams.
The curing process is fundamentally similar to that of the Serrano but longer – usually 18 months to 3 years.
In fact its nick-name is the four-footed olive tree.
Due to US regulations, delights of delicious jamón Ibérico had been denied to American citizens.
Fortunately, you can now obtain the whole pata negra there, plus sausages and loin.