At Enrique Tomás, we live by a maxim: from the pig, even the steps. And, as you might expect, we love to consume absolutely everything! The best parts of the Iberian pig, or at least the ones that are most commonly consumed, are the ribs, belly, loin, legs (used to make hams and shoulders), and snout. We will explain each of them below.
Let's get started!
These are the best parts of the Iberian pig
As the name suggests, they are the ribs of the pig and can be prepared in a thousand different ways. In Spain, they are often included in stews or grilled with salt, while in other countries, such as the United States, they are typically seasoned with barbecue sauce.
Belly or Bacon
It is another of the many cuts of pork that are a staple in any barbecue and is the meat obtained directly from the layers found under the pig's skin. It is a very thick product that is often used as an ingredient in stews or in various types of rice dishes, such as oven-baked rice. Additionally, it can be grilled, and if you have it with garlic mayonnaise on bread, you'll see. You'll be drooling!
This meat is extracted directly from the area located on the pig's back, as the name suggests, and is the piece found between the spine and below the ribs. The loin strip is a whole cut that can be prepared as steaks for roasting, and it is also used to make Iberian loin. The latter is one of the least processed sausages, as it only requires seasoning the loin meat, stuffing it, and letting it cure. After about two months, the stuffed loin will be ready.
It is one of the meats that are extracted from the head and is usually eaten roasted as a snack. It is very easy to find in bars and restaurants throughout Spain, and it's so crispy...
Just thinking about it makes us hungry!
They are the flagship product of Spanish gastronomy and are produced from the hind legs of Iberian pigs. The flavor of Iberian hams is very distinctive because, unlike those obtained from other white pig breeds, it is much juicier due to the infiltration of fat into the muscle. They can be of three types depending on the diet of the pigs: grain-fed, pasture-raised, or acorn-fed, with the latter being considered the highest quality. This delicacy is typically eaten raw with a bit of bread and olive oil, but it can also be incorporated into various dishes, such as lentils or ham croquettes.
They are the cured meat produced from the front legs of the pigs, and what sets them apart from hams, in addition to the pig's body part they come from, is their more intense flavor. The curing process for obtaining them is the same as in the case of hams, but slightly shorter. Additionally, shoulder slices can be eaten between bread or used in stews.
What are the other parts of the pig that you must absolutely try?
In addition to the cuts of pork we've mentioned, there are two other meat pieces that are equally delicious: chorizo and salchichón. They are not cuts themselves but are produced by mixing meats obtained from different parts of the Iberian pig, and once integrated, they are seasoned with spices – red paprika for chorizo and black pepper for salchichón. Like ham and shoulders, they are eaten raw or in stews, especially chorizo, which in Spain is used as the main ingredient in dishes like lentils or fabada, among many others.
That said, now that you know which are the best parts of the Iberian pig, which one are you going to savor?
You're going to enjoy like never before!