Jamón is integral to Spanish culture and cuisine.
There exist two great traditions of artisanal cured hams in Spain.
Jamón Serrano is a cured country ham made from conventional pork. Fresh packed hams in sea salt are hung from their rafters to cure for a year to eighteen months. Today, Jamón Serrano comprises about 90% of Spain’s annual ham production. The hams are made from Duroc, Pietrain, Landrace or other large white pigs. Jamón Serrano is firmer with a consistent texture, some marbling, a warm red color and a deep ham flavor.
Jamón Ibérico de Bellota is considered the world’s finest ham. Some whole hams can sell for upwards of $2,000 per piece. Ibérico de Bellota hams are cured 24 to 48 months and when they are done curing, they end up with an incredibly complex taste, distinct marbling, a deep red color and an intense ham flavour.