Iberian ham is the star delicacy of any Christmas table, which is why as these dates approach, we all ask ourselves the classic questions of "when is the ideal time to buy ham for Christmas" or which one is the most suitable for each of us.
If you want to have all the information about it to make the Christmas basket that suits you and feel completely confident about it, pay attention.
At Enrique Tomás, we'll tell you what key factors to consider before buying ham for Christmas!
Ham is not better than shoulder, they are different
There are those who believe that ham is better than shoulder because it is more expensive, but nothing could be further from the truth! The first thing to know is that ham and shoulder are different products, and both are equally good!
Ham is produced from the hind legs of pigs and has a milder flavor, while shoulder is produced from the front legs and because the meat is closer to the bone, it has a more intense taste due to longer curing.
So, what should determine your purchase in this case? Nothing more and nothing less than your taste, or if it's a gift, the taste of the person you're giving it to.
Should I buy ham or shoulder for Christmas?
At Enrique Tomas, we recommend that if you like pieces with more cured meat and there are few people at home, it's best to choose the shoulder. On the other hand, if you prefer a milder flavor, there are many people at home for Christmas, and you want to get more yield from the piece, it's better to choose ham.
In both cases, you can choose the type of ham or shoulder, taking into account the breed, feed, and curing time of each. Choose from our categories: Gran Reserva with 3 stars, Cebo Ibérico with 4 stars, Cebo de Campo Ibérico with 4 premium stars, Bellota Ibérico with 5 stars, or "Pata Negra" with 5 premium stars.
You'll also find all the hams or shoulders in different formats, either whole pieces or sliced, accompanied by other Iberian products to create the perfect Christmas basket for you.
- Click to find the ham or shoulder you're looking for!
Lote Paleta 5 stars
Lote Jamón De Bellota - 5 stars
Serrano ham is not the same as Iberian ham
This is a confusion that can lead to getting the wrong thing. Serrano ham comes from white pigs, while Iberian ham, as its name suggests, comes from the unique Iberian pigs found only on our peninsula. The main characteristic of this breed is its ability to infiltrate fat into the muscle, and only in Spain and Portugal are the necessary conditions met to ensure proper pig breeding and the perfect subsequent production of hams and shoulders. Click to deeply understand the differences between serrano and Iberian ham.
At Enrique Tomás, we call serrano ham "Gran Reserva" and classify it with 3 stars within our classification of hams or shoulders. Despite coming from white pigs and not the Iberian breed, our serrano ham meets very demanding quality standards and is specially selected to resemble Iberian ham as closely as possible, delighting the most discerning palates.
- Discover our Christmas baskets with Gran Reserva ham!
Lote con Jamón Enrique Tomás 3 Estrellas
Lote Gourmet 3 estrellas
There is no better Iberian ham than another
That's right. As the saying goes, "to each their own," and the nuances of a mild ham, for example, are completely different from those of an aromatic ham. Depending on your preferences, you'll need to choose one type of ham or another. We know that 100% Iberian acorn-fed ham is of the best quality. However, that doesn't mean it's the one you'll like the most, nor is it the only good alternative when it comes to buying ham. It will depend on your taste and the purpose you have in mind. For more information, check:
- What is the best ham?
In conclusion, the best ham doesn't have to be the most expensive, but rather the one you like the most, because the point is to enjoy this Iberian delicacy.
Enrique Tomás Iberian Ham
Should I buy a whole piece or pre-sliced?
The answer is simple, it depends. If there are many people at home, you can buy it whole and cut a little of the best Iberian ham each day. Keep in mind that if you have a whole ham or shoulder, it's ideal to cut about 150g per day to keep the leg in good condition and maintain the flavors and aromas when it's freshly sliced.
If that's not the case, our recommendation is to buy it pre-sliced and vacuum-sealed. This way, you don't have to eat it every day if you don't feel like it, and you can do so only when you want. Similarly, if there are few people at home, you can go for the pre-sliced packs. Just open them a little while before to let the slices breathe and reach room temperature if they were in the fridge. They'll be ready to enjoy!
Buying ham for Christmas is always a good choice, and if you can choose from different qualities and formats, even better. Take a look at our online store to see all the options and make the best decision.
Pack jamón y vino - Jamón de cebo de campo 50% Ibérico
Paleta de Cebo de Campo 50% Ibérica loncheada
Lote con Jamón Enrique Tomás 4 Estrellas Premium
If I buy it pre-sliced, should I choose hand-sliced or machine-sliced?
The difference between the two types of slicing is very small, and only those who are truly experts or have been consuming and learning everything about this product for years will notice it. If you belong to this group, then buying hand-sliced by our master ham slicers is a perfect choice!
You'll be able to enjoy this nuance, and it will be a complete success. If you don't attach much importance to this aspect, we recommend machine-sliced. The slices are very thin, and the taste is just as delicious, plus it's more affordable.
If I buy it whole, where should I start?
The answer to this question also depends on how many people are at home. The "babilla" part is more cured than the "maza," so if there are only a few of you, it's better to start from the "babilla" so it doesn't become too dry. On the other hand, if there are many of you, you can start from the "maza" without any problem—it's more tender!
In ham shops, bars, and restaurants where authentic ham slicers are constantly slicing the pieces, they start cutting the ham from the "maza" area to serve these slices first. As they finish quickly, by the time they need to turn the piece, the "babilla" will still be in good condition.
If your intention is to buy ham for Christmas, as it's a special occasion and many people will be gathering, you can also start from this area for the same reason. Your ham will be incredibly delicious, and before you know it, the plate will be empty!
For more details on slicing, we give you some tips and recommendations in "How to slice ham."
Slicing Serrano Ham
When should I buy the ham for this Christmas?
If you're buying a whole piece, it's worth waiting until the Christmas season is approaching. At Enrique Tomás, we sell legs and shoulders at the perfect moment for consumption, so it's worthwhile to wait until just a few days before Christmas. However, keep in mind that if you order through our online store during those days, the shipping might take longer than usual, so do it with a bit more anticipation.
If your plan is to buy it pre-sliced, keep in mind that pre-sliced packs can remain unopened for up to three months, so you can buy them right now and store them in your pantry! That way, you ensure you'll enjoy the best ham for Christmas without worries or rushing.
With that said, now you know the seven essential tips for buying ham for Christmas. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us, and we'll help you right away! We have a chat on our website if you want to talk to an expert, or you can write to us directly on the website. The choice is yours!