What are the differences between a 50% iberico bellota ham and a 100% iberico bellota ham?
Today, we want to deal with something our clients ask us to choose a good bellota ham: Differences between 50% iberian bellota hams and 100% iberian bellota hams.
Since the 2014 new labeling regulations for Iberian hams, the Bellota 100% Iberian ham has captured the Pata Negra's market of the highest quality. What used to be a small production of 100% Iberian hams, it has been increasing until now to meet the growing demand.
What has changed so much for the 100% Iberico Bellota is so demanded in comparison to the 50% Iberian Bellota?
Firstly I want to tell you more about the characteristics of each of these types of Iberian hams.
Characteristics of 50% Iberian Bellota ham
The breed is half pure Iberian and half Duroc. Normally, the mother is 100% Iberian and the father is Duroc, or crossed with Iberian for those 75% Iberian.
The result of the crossing breeds makes a pig oriented to the graze, that searches food in the pastures, unlike those that are not of Iberian breed.
The color of the meat is pinkish red. It is much more intense than those Iberico de cebo and have nothing to do with the color of Serrano hams.
Its fat infiltration makes it very juicy and intensifies the Iberian aroma.
The external fat of those hams is lower than for those 100%. It is important to know that all Iberian products have quantity of external fat, protects them from drying out and keeps its qualities.
Intense aroma and flavor. The pinkish transparent fat becomes white when the ham is sliced. The infiltrated fat makes this ham very juicy.
Characteristics of 100% Iberian Bellota ham
The breed is 100% pure Iberian. Both mother and father are 100% iberian breed.
The ham is longer and has a thinner cane.
The pure iberian breed makes a pig prepared to live free in the pastures, exercising while looking for food.
Its meat color is of a red more intense, due to its high protein content. This is due to the genetic evolution and its life in the pastures.
Visually it does not have as much infiltrated fat, it seems leaner and with less fat than those 50%. The fat is dissolved in the meat, which makes the flavor very strong and melts in the mouth.
The outer fat layer is bigger than those 50%. It is undoubtedly one of the main characteristics 100% Iberian hams: an important surface fat layer around the ham.
The fat is even more transparent and oily, increasing the aroma and flavor of Iberian. The taste in the mouth is longer.
In summary, there is a difference, but we should not unworth bellota 50% Iberian hams if it is produced traditionally and using good raw material. These two elements are fundamental in all hams and at Jamonarium we want to make sure that all our Iberico and Serrano hams fulfill them.
The curing of Iberico Bellota hams is long, over 3 years. We also have some 100% Iberian Bellota products that have more than 4 years curying time. Large and more exclusive pieces for their quality, performance and flavor.
At Jamonarium, we think that there is space for all kinds of hams. There are special moments for a 100% Iberian bellota, other for the daily life like Iberian Cebo hams, and dinners with a 50% Iberian Bellota. Not mentioning the shoulders of course!
We hope this article clarifies some ideas and myths about the difference between Bellota iberico hams 50% and 100% breed.