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Jamón Serrano vs. Jamón Ibérico

Mar 14th 2014 at 4:12 AM

Spain has been long regarded as the prime region for pork products; not only is it the largest producer of pork meat in the world, but the Spanish people also consume the highest amount of pork in the world, almost twice as much as Americans! This may not only be a result of the meat’s well rounded taste, but also due to the significance of Pork in Spanish culture. In fact, there are numerous museums around Spain dedicated solely to Pork!

Today, there are many varieties of Spanish ham that can be enjoyed, the most popular of which are the Jamon Iberico ( and the Jamón Serrano. Now don’t get me wrong; both these pork products belong in a completely different category, with the former being much more expensive and hard-to-get than the latter, but the meats have been compared so many times that it warrants a discussion. Let’s have a brief overlook at the two different types of Spanish hams.

Jamon Serrano
The main denomination of the Serrano is that they are made from white pigs, usually found within the mountains. The Serrano is your average run of the mill ham, much cheaper and widely available as compared to the Iberico.

Unlike the Iberico, there is no standard breed from which the Serrano is made, and the curing process is much shorter at just 8 to 15 months. These pigs are fed on a diet of mainly cereal and fodder, and are prepared in various ways such as slicing and dicing.

In terms of taste, the Serrano is quite different from the Iberico. While the latter boasts a thicker texture with ‘melt in mouth’ qualities, the Serrano’s texture can be described as more unrefined. The Serrano is likely to find its place between two bread rolls, while the Iberico deserves a spot in the center of a King’s table.

Jamon Iberico
Jamon Iberico is deemed as the highest quality meat available in Spain. It is made from a specific breed of Iberico pigs, which are black in color. These pigs are fed only on an acorn diet for a major portion of their lives, with their breeding being highly monitored by various authorities.

The curing process is much longer than the Serrano as it lasts for up to 36 months. The ham is also one of the most expensive in the world thanks to its lucrative curing and breeding process, costing more than $50 per pound. This is why the Iberico is usually served as a delicacy for esteemed guests and visitors. They are served by hand.

The taste of the Iberico can simply be defined as a ham lover’s paradise. With a smooth and rich texture, the Iberico tends to melt in the mouth. The taste is not too overpowering, as it hints at the different elements that pertained to the preparation of the dish.

To sum it up, the Serrano can be considered as an everyday meal, while the Iberico is pork for special occasions and for those who would want to taste pork as God had intended it to.

For exquisite Jamon Iberico products, visit

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