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Spanish Hams - choosing your ham stand
by Orce Serrano Hams

There are a few factors to take into consideration when choosing your ham stand; these can include design, functionality and price. All ham stands will accommodate full bone-in hams. For heavier, larger hams a bigger stand is better though to help maintain stability when carving.

The most common design of ham stand is the basic "jamonero", found in most kitchens all over Spain. These models vary in appearance but are generally made from pine and have a two point clamping system - a spike on the base and a large screw at the top for securing the top of the leg nearest the hoof.

Further up the range ham stands tend to become larger in size with wider bases and three, five and even seven point clamping systems. These larger, heavier stands secure the ham differently. Most have a threaded bolt through a double neck system which, when the ham is placed in the stand clamps the leg from both sides, the neck of the stand moves inwards and outwards and is a more effective way of securely holding a ham in place.

Spanish Hams - choosing your ham stand Spanish Hams - choosing your ham stand

At the top of the range there are "rotating" ham stands, favoured by professional ham carvers and chefs throughout Spain. These models are much larger and significantly heaver with metal fixtures and the all important rotating head. The main advantage to this range is stability and the fact that when turning the ham you do not need to remove it from the stand. The top part of the leg is tightly secured in the rotation system so when one side is exhausted the base of the ham can be elevated and "turned". These stands are very substantial, decorative and make superb kitchen furniture.

Unlike the hams they secure a ham stand will last a very long time so in effect could be a one time purchase. As a general rule choose a larger stand for larger hams, in the case of Iberico hams which are different in shape to that of the Serrano ham a larger stand is essential. An Iberian leg comes from a different breed of hog producing a more slender ham which in most cases is longer than a Serrano ham so a larger design of stand will be required.

All about angles . . .

Basic models of ham stand hold the leg on its side (almost flat) allowing carving from left to right or vice versa. You can also carve the ham by placing the ham and stand directly in front of you slicing away from you (never towards!) There are no hard and fast rules so find a carving position you are most comfortable with.

With larger models the ham is sometimes sitting higher, hoof elevated so the ham sits at around a forty five degree angle. This is true in most cases with rotating ham stands and a favoured way in Spain to carve a ham.

Certain stands can be wall mounted; this is quite common in restaurants and tapas bars where the ham is almost always carved behind the bar in full view of the public. The ham is clamped in an almost vertical position and does require some practice carving if you are used to other designs. The benefit of these wall mounted ham stands is that they significantly save on space.

Spanish Hams - choosing your ham stand Spanish Hams - choosing your ham stand


If the stand is to be used often, try and choose a larger model, these will both last longer and are more secure for heavier hams.

For Iberico hams a larger model will also be required - Iberico hams are longer than Serrano hams.

Paleta - the smaller front leg, quite happy in a smaller stand as they are shorter and weigh much less than the full rear leg.


Serrano Ham direct from Spain : www.orceserranohams.com

© Copyright 2008 Orce Serrano Hams - www.orceserranohams.com

Published 21 January 2008

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