Spanish Jamon Serrano - Which to buy?

Old Sep 1st, 2008, 06:15 AM
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Spanish Jamon Serrano - Which to buy?

I tried asking this question in the lounge, but only received one response. Here's my thread.
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35153178
kybourbon is offline  
Old Sep 1st, 2008, 06:40 AM
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My granfdfather came from nearby La Alpujarras (Spain) where he often said the best Jamon Serrano came from, specifically Jamon Iberico. Ham is about weather; pigs farms in dry-cold regions where the vegetation feed is best. So, for the best ham in Spain, go Southwest = mountains. I am repeating what I heard from my grandpa and Uncle; not crazy about ham myself.
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 08:15 AM
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Viajero2 - Thanks, but you didn't read my thread link. I will be purchasing this ham in the US and there are only a few brands available. The US was just allowed to start importing this in the last year. I mentioned one brand in the other thread that my daughter did not like - Redondo Iglesias - that she has recently tried. Although the Iberico is available here, I will not be spending that much.
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 11:56 AM
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I think you already have your answer. Obviously not one that you like, but if ham is such a big deal to you, either head out to Spain or fork out the money.

What am I missing....?
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 12:31 PM
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Hi Kybourbon,


There was a thread on this recently although I have not found the best to be here in USA yet.

check it out

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=2
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 12:38 PM
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OOps I am terrible at this. Let's try this one...just in case it is by Auduchamp1 in 2/08


http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=35106164
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 01:35 PM
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Hi kybourbon,
The jamón serrano (from white pigs, like the Duroc strain) has been imported into the US for about 8 years, while the ibérico (from the native Iberian black hoofed, "pata negra" pigs, which constitute about 5% of all the ham production, was just allowed in to the US last year, and is much, much more expensive, as you already know.

Here's an explanation in English of the difference between serrano, ibérico and ibérico de bellota-the difference in the cut, the type of hog and the feeding method:

http://tinyurl.com/6dhcth

Before we started buying ibérico from La Española Meats in CA via our Spanish Table store in Seattle, we purchased the "home made" domestic version of serrano that La Española Meats produces, to use in our cooking. Although we much prefer the ibérico for sandwiches and ham and cheese platters, its high price tag doesn't allow it to be an everyday treat in our house.

La Española Meats also imports the Redondo Iglesias label from Valencia that your daughter didn't care for, along with the expensive ibérico from Embutidos Fermín in the Salamanca region.

www.laespanolameats.com

De España Brand Foods in NY sells Redondo Iglesias but also the Navidul label, which is your other option.

www.despanabrandfoods.com

And La Tienda now sells all three, "serrano", "ibérico" and the finest, "ibérico de bellota" (from black hoof pigs that have been acorn fed). And the price difference is significant, as you know. Their 8 oz. package of "serrano" costs $18.95 (plus shipping) while their 4 oz package of "ibérico de bellota" goes for $34.50.

www.latienda.com

So, if you want to purchase a "serrano" label other than the Redondo Iglesias, I would try the Navidul label from De España brand foods. I don't know of another "serrano" label other than these two that is being imported.

Hope this helps a bit.
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 04:48 PM
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Thanks for the links everyone. I'm going to copy my initial post here so everyone will know what I'm asking and why.

>>>>>Author: kybourbon
Date: 08/29/2008, 10:31 am
DD is missing living in Spain and a few weeks ago we were in Chicago. She order jamon serrano sort of expecting it not to be very good. It was, as she said "like buttah". She wants it on her Christmas list. Last week she was in Philly and went to a Spanish restaurant there and once again ordered jamon serrano. It was not good, way too salty, not like "buttah". She saw them slicing it and the brand was Redondo Iglesias.

I think there are only a few brands available here in the states. Does anyone know which ones are good?<<<<<


I had already looked at Tienda and they offered three different brands in addition to the very expensive Iberico by Fermin for $795. They also offer the Fermin Serrano for $279. Another option was their Serrano by Campofrio for $249. I am shopping for Serrano, not Iberico and trying to figure out which brand. When DD gets out of grad school and starts making the big bucks she can buy her own Iberico! lol

I also found a deal at Dean and DeLuca ($100 off sale), but they don't state the brand name. Has anyone had serrano from there?

Has anyone (Maribel?) cured their own before and know a recipe? I've done my own KY sugar-cured country hams before so I assume the process would be similar. KY hams can age, unlike the TN or VA hams which are salt-cured and must be used in a year or will get too salty.

I'll be in Italy in two weeks and perhaps could buy it there, but with the lousy exchange rate and having to smuggle it back in, I'm not sure it's worth the hassle (not to mention luggin a ham around Italy).



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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 05:24 PM
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Hi kybourbon,
I wouldn't try to buy a whole ham in Italy and try to lug it around and smuggle back. We do regularly smuggle back 100 gram cryovac packages of ibérico de bellota (we buy them at our market in Madrid and at the airport at Sibarium) but have never attempted a whole jamón-wouldn't dare to push our luck on that one! O

I've never experienced a serrano that really has the same tender and nutty taste that ibérico has.

You just won't be able to replicate the taste of even the serrano on your own, although La Española's own domestic brand isn't bad for cooking.
Not the same strain of pig or grazing habits or grazing pastureland (la dehesa) or mountain climate for the curing process.

It just wouldn't have the unique buttery taste that your daughter enjoyed.


Since you're strictly in the market for serrano, I would go for the serrano from Embutidos Fermín simply because it comes from the very same USDA approved producer in the medieval mountain village of La Alberca, Salamanca as the ibérico plus the ibérico de bellota that La Tienda starting importing this July. This has been a collaboration among D.C. (and Asturian born) chef José Andrés, the processing plant and the Rogers Collection importers, as you've probably read on the "Quest for Jamón Ibérico" page at La Tienda.

Since I haven't tasted the Navidul and Fermín brands of serrano together, I can't tell you which tasted better.
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 06:26 PM
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Thanks Maribel. You have no confidence in my ham curing abilities? lol. We have mountains and acorns here. We also have the limestone water that makes our bourbon so good. I think pigs drinking that would make better ham!

I just IM'ed my daughter and she just wants the serrano (everyday ham she said). The senora she lived with kept a leg of serrano on the kitchen counter all the time. She's also missing her tortilla and tapas, but I don't think those would hold up well if I ordered for Christmas. She's stuck at grad school in South Bend, IN and she's missing food variety. She was undergrad in Boston plus spent 6 months (2006) in Madrid so was used to lots of good food.

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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 07:11 PM
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Hi kybourbon,
I have ultimate confidence in a southerner's country ham-curing abilities, since I used to eat a lot of Smithfield (VA) ham while in college! It's getting just the right hog that I was concerned about. But a limestone water or even Bourbon-drinking pig just might produce really tasty ham

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Old May 31st, 2016, 03:19 AM
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In the serrano ham you can find three types. By order of better quality:

Gran Reserva Serrano Ham: 15 months minimum of drying time.
Reserva Serrano Ham: 12 to 15 months of drying time.
Bodega Serrano Ham: 9 to 12 months of drying time

The most famous serrano hams are Teruel and Trevelez.

Much careful about what you you buy !

http://serranohamstore.co.uk
SylviaMid is offline  
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