cómo cortar jamón

How to cut open a Spanish Jamón

Iberian ham is one of the most international delicacies of our gastronomy and its taste is liked by everyone, wherever they come from! But do you want to know how to cut a ham?

To enjoy all its nuances it is important that each slice has the right thickness, neither too thin nor too thick, and in Enrique Tomás we are going to help you achieve it.

Pay attention to this guide in jamón cutting that we give you today!


How to cut an Iberian Jamón shown in Video

So that you don't miss out on any details, we have prepared this video of carving a Jamón step by step. It doesn't matter if you need to cut Iberian, Gran Reserva, Cebo or Acorn (Bellota) ham, because the cutting tecnniques are the same for all types.

In this video, our master cutter shows you the whole process in a simple and visual way, so you don't have to worry about anything. You only have to buy the ham and get the best instruments. Then, follow these steps and you will get the perfect ham cut. 

Utensils needed to cut ham at home

Before you start slicing a ham, first make sure you have all the necessary utensils to slice your Iberian ham properly. Here is the list:
  • Ham holder
  • Ham knife
  • Boning knife
  • Sharpener
  • Clamp or fork

Do you have them all? Then,  here we go!


How do you start carving a jamón?

Opening a Jamón is not an exact science and you can start with two parts: the maza (Cushion) or the babilla (Knuckle). Depending on how the hoof is placed, if upwards or downwards, you will start one way or the other and we want to emphasize that neither of the two is better. In bars and restaurants, where the jamón is finished immediately, it is placed with the hoof facing upwards to first serve the meat from the area of the maza that is more tender and leave the babilla  for the end.

However, when cutting the jamón at home we all ask ourselves a key question, how do you cut open a Jamón? Believe it or not, deciding how to place the ham in the ham stand is not as simple as it seems. Our recommendation is that if you are few at home, about two or three, start it as in bars and restaurants in order to eat the juiciest meat just when it is ready, the rest of the piece can be brought to an Enrique Tomás store to be vacuum packed so it does not get bad.

If, on the contrary, you are three, four or more people at home, you can start it with the stifle to prevent it from getting too cured and leave the Cushion for later.  As you prefer or wish! In any case, if you see that you are not going to finish the piece and you are afraid that its taste will lose some nuances, the best thing you can do is either bring it to be sliced and vacuum packed or invite your friends and family to eat, love is sharing!

How to cut a Jamón well and look like a real ham expert. Step by step tutorial

It's time to cut a ham. But how do you cut open a ham? Well, start by sharpening the ham knife and, although you don't need another knife to remove the rind, it's advisable to have a boning knife handy, keep it close to you. With this last one you have to remove the rind from the jamón and, watch out, throw it away!

Even if you are told otherwise, it is NOT used to cover the jamón, once it has been cut it no longer fulfils its function. So you'd better get rid of it. As soon as you have the meat in sight, change the knife and use the ham knife now. You have to gradually roll it out horizontally starting from the area closest to the hoof and ending at the area closest to you.

Always place the hand behind the knife to avoid cutting yourself. When you are an expert, you can do it differently, if it is more comfortable, but if you are just starting out, it is worth not risking. Let's see it step by step!


Steps to cut the ham

1. Before cutting the ham piece, it is important to check that the ham is well attached to the ham stand and that it will not move when we start cutting.  

Paso 1: agarrar bien el jamón al jamonero

2. The first cut will be made at the top by the Caña (cane) area. With the knife tilted, make a deep cut, perpendicular to the leg, just below the hock. A few fingers below that cut, make another wedge-shaped cut to remove the fat and tendons that accumulate in that area.

paso 2: hacer un corte profundo en el jamón

3. Now it's time to peel off. Gradually remove the rind and yellow fat from the ham. It is important that you only remove the part you intend to cut underneath, this way the piece will not dry out and the meat will remain more tender.

quitar la corteza del jamón

4. You can start slicing the ham now. Do it in the direction marked by the jamón itself, that is, from the hoof to the tip of the ham.

como cortar jamon en casa

5. The hip bone will be the first one you will encounter when you start cutting the ham. Roll it carefully with the sharp knife. Ideally, you should use the boning knife to make the most of the ham's meat.

cortar jamon de bellota

6. When you finish the meat by the maza, turn over the ham leg and start cutting the contramaza or babilla.

cuándo dar la vuelta la jamón

7. In this case, you'll find the stifle bone and the kneecap. When you get to them, go around them too and make thin slices.

cortar jamón de cebo

8. When you can no longer cut ham slices, remember that you can make Iberian taquitos (ham cubes) with the most difficult meat to slice. They will help you make tasty recipes like these. You can also use the bones to make broths at home.

taquitos de jamon

How to cut the perfect slices

Now that you know where to start a jamón and how to cut it, it's time to get perfect slices. In this case the trick is to let the knife feel behind each slice.

What you get with this is that they are thick enough to appreciate all their flavour but thin enough so that the oil cascades in the mouth when it comes into contact with the heat of the palate, what a pleasure! Now that you know how to cut the whole piece, all you have to do is buy a good ham and enjoy.

And if you have difficulty making thin slices the way you like them, keep calm. Bring your jamón to one of Enrique Tomás' shops and we will slice it for you! 

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