Mounting, Slicing, and Loving the Jamón

Jamón is serious a business. You mess with jamón in Spain and you might as well be dead. This leg of the pig is so loved by Spaniards that trying to get it outside of Spain is incredibly difficult. There is really only one brand who exports and I’d bet money the Church is seriously considering excommunicating them for this deed.
I have written before about my love of the piggy leg and of course there is iJam thing if you want a humorous take on the meat. One of the big things I haven’t done, despite seeing legs a hangin’ everywhere, is to actually carve up a jamón for eating.
As is mentioned in the iJam video, jamón has a use time of about 30 days around Christmas. This is because everyone seems to get a leg from someone. You’ll see people at the store with shopping carts that just have four or five hoods sticking out of them with a fresh leg being bought to gift. Now, if the thought of someone presenting you with a large leg of meat seems less than appealing and slightly bewildering, then you’ve obviously never tasted how good this meat is. It just so happened that my in-laws were gifted a typical jamón serrano. While it unfortunately wasn’t the mouthwatering jamón iberico, it was free and it was good. The only issue was slicing it.
The first step was to get a jamonera which is what you see in the first two shots below. It’s a secondary business to the leg making, but this holder is oh so required as the exterior of the legs are incredibly greasy and trying to hold one while carving would probably end in one losing their thumb.
The next step is to mount the leg as you can see below and then, it’s time to attack it with the knife. The slices need to be thin or they’ll end up being being chewy and sucky. This requires a very sharp, thin knife to cut with and a decent amount of patience.
As I found out, my days as a kid helping my hippie life-loving parents to skin and butcher sheep came in handy. Skinning an animal is a lot like carving the jamón meat. It’s a slow process and you take your time. All will be forgotten by impatient people waiting to eat once you slap a plate on the table you see in the last shot.
Mounting, Slicing, and Loving the Jamón

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