Do you know the difference between Jamon Serrano (serrano ham) and Jamon Iberico (iberico ham) ?
Well, there is a massive difference between those 2, as they are different breed of pigs. The taste is so different between one and each other.
Their colour is generally on the darker side of grey. In Spanish this pig is called Pata Negra (black hoof). You can find these beasts grazing in the Dehesa, rummaging around for fallen acorns from the great Holm Oaks, Gall Oaks and Cork Oak trees. It is from this diet and the pigs being allowed to roam free in the forests that gives the meat its rich, enhanced flavour, and the streaks of fat stored between its muscle fibres that makes this ham a cut above the rest.
The three main types of Jamón Ibérico are in accordance with the pigs’ diet, which determines the ham quality:
Jamón Ibérico de Bellota (acorn): The finest of all hams. Free range pigs that roam the oak forests. The meat is cured for at least 36 months.
Jamón de Recebo: The pigs are pastured and fed a mixed diet of acorns and grain. The meat is cured for at least 24 months.
Jamón Ibérico de Cebo: The pigs are fed on grain and the meat is cured for up to 24 months.
Jamón Serrano comes from the white pig. This pig is a hybrid that has been bred with many different breeds, and therefore not having the same quality as the Iberian pig, this product is cheaper to buy and accounts for the majority of hams sold in Spain. There are 3 main varieties of Serrano ham: Serrano Bodega, Serrano Reserva, and Serrano Gran Reserva. They all have a similar curing time, but no more than 15 months.