JAMON AND PALETA - THE DIFFERENCE
ABOUT LEGS - JAMON VERSUS PALETA
what is the difference? "Jamon" meaning ham
always refers to the back leg of the pig, "Paleta"
is the front leg.
rear leg is a substantial ham weighing in at around
7 - 8 kg. This leg is almost twice the size and weight
of the Paleta. As a general rule the meat from the rear
leg tends to be a little more moist on the thicker side
of the ham with a slightly higher fat content. The fat
is a vital part of the flavour making the rear leg a
full ham is also cured for longer, in some cases up
to two years. This is possible, again because the ham
is larger and generally has been "salted"
for longer given its size. Smaller rear legs are also
available, coming from younger animals it is possible
to purchase hams that weigh as little as 6kg. The opposite
also applies - from a larger, older animal a ham weighing
up to 11kg can be purchased, a very large ham indeed!
It is worth noting that unlike some other meats Spanish
hams from the same producer taste very much the same
no matter what size or age of the animal they have come
from. For a moist texture a larger ham may be preferred.
little hams are just as good as the rear legs. They
weigh between 4 - 5 kg and tend to be a little more
"intense" in the flavour department, why?
This is due to the paleta being thinner (almost by half)
compared to the full rear leg. The paleta is cured in
the same way as its larger rear cousin but for less
time due to its size. The meat from the front leg is
slightly firmer but just as tasty. Described as "muy
Buena" by the locals in Orce village the paleta
is often favoured over the full ham. The reasons apart
from the deeper flavour are that a paleta is ideal for
tapas - a nice smaller ham to have in the home for personal
for size a paleta will also last longer as it is less
moist in the centre and therefore has less opportunity
to dry out. Colouration of the flesh is also darker.
which one to choose?
our kitchen we always have a full ham (they never tend
to last very long!) consumption is the main factor to
take into consideration, if your ham is for a function
or to be consumed regularly than a full "jamon"
would be the choice. For "little and often"
tapas then the paleta may suffice.
fat content in the full rear leg
texture in the rear leg (moist in the centre)
leg significantly larger with more servings
leg has a more intense flavour
from the front leg is slightly firmer
matter which ham you choose they both provide a real
flavour of Spain! A unique gourmet product with a great
flavour ideal for any occasion.
Copyright 2008 Orce Serrano Hams - www.orceserranohams.com
14 February 2008