The Consorcio Serrano Ham
Hand-picked, one by one
In the Hands of a Serrano Ham Master
The cured Spanish ham we know today is derived from a centuries-old tradition. The knowledge required to carry on the rural tradition of preparing and curing Serrano ham, which is largely in the hands of the serrano ham master, has been passed down from generation to generation.
As the person responsible for overseeing the curing of the Serrano ham, his expertise, dedication and attention to detail are critical.
Indeed, once the pieces of spanish ham have gone through each and every step of the production and curing process, the ham master selects and inspects each one of them.
Tis spanish ham are hand-picked for inspection, piece by piece, which is one of the keys to obtaining the Serrano Consorcio’s Seal of Quality denoting an authentic Spanish Serrano ham of traditional quality.
In the traditional process of preparing and curing Serrano ham, the ham master is the one in charge of hand-picking each piece.
Even before the actual process of preparing and curing the Serrano ham has begun, the ham master conducts a meticulous inspection of each piece. To a large extent, obtaining an authentic Serrano ham with the Serrano Ham Consorcio’s Seal of Quality depends on him.
- Selection of the pieces: Traditionally, the first important task in producing Serrano ham is to be present at the quartering and then hand-picking, one-by-one, the pieces to be cured, which are later trimmed to the desired shape. Excess fat and musculature are eliminated at this time to create a balanced piece for curing. The ham master also takes the temperature, checks the thickness of the fat and weighs each piece.
- Salting: Here, the ham master decides how this spanish ham pieces will be arranged, which depends on the weight and the desired saltiness of each one. He must also decide how long they remain in the salting phase, since this has a considerable influence on the flavour of the Serrano ham.
- Stabilisation of the Serrano ham: This can take up to 90 days, during which the temperature and humidity must be monitored and each piece of Serrano ham must be checked, one by one, to see if it is time to go to the curing cellar.
- Curing in the cellar: In the cellar, the serrano spanish ham master checks each piece, one by one, and decides whether more or less ventilation is needed, how long it should remain in cellar and the overall condition of each Serrano ham.
- Testing (cala) of the Serrano ham: This process consists of manually introducing an awl (calador) into each piece of serrano spanish ham. Depending on the aroma perceived by the ham master, he is able to determine whether the Serrano ham is properly cured according to the quality standards of the Serrano Ham Consorcio.
Hand-picking and Quality Assurance
To offer an excellent Serrano ham, we hand-pick the best pieces from the best producers of Spanish Serrano ham.
- Why: The Spanish Serrano Ham Consorcio defends the traditional method of producing authentic Spanish Serrano ham.
- How: With the Serrano Consorcio Seal of Quality which guarantees that consumers will enjoy a true spanish ham of excellent quality in every traditional, hand-picked Serrano ham.