Cured hams (hind extremities) and shoulders (fore extremities) from pure-bred Ibérico pigs, extensively farmed, with a minimum production period of 18 months for hams and 12 months for shoulders.
Complex, intense and lingering flavor, with sweet notes dominating the savory hints, and an abundance of nuances including earthy touches and hints of nuts. When finely sliced, the fat melts in the mouth, strengthening its characteristic aroma and giving the product a firm texture that is, at the same time, tender.
Its external shape is long, stylized and profiled with the so-called “V” shape cut. The half-moon cut is also authorized for shoulders. The piece, which still has its hoof, has a clean external appearance, and of particular note is the color of the flora, which may be white or grey-blue. The minimum weight should be seven kilos (15.4 lbs) for hams and four kilos (8.8 lbs) for shoulders. When sliced, its color is red to purple/red, with fatty infiltrations and an oily consistency.
The Ibérico pigs arrive at the slaughterhouse at least 24 hours before they are to be slaughtered, in order for them to recover from the fatigue and stress of transport.
The production process begins with salting using common salt which gradually penetrates the muscle tissue, encouraging dehydration and conservation, also contributing to the typical color and aroma of the cured products. This process takes place at temperatures of between zero and five degrees centigrade (32 and 41 ºF), and at a relative humidity of between 70 and 90%. The salting time varies, based on the weight of the piece, the level of pureness and the type of feed given to the pigs. A rough guide is one day per kilo (2.2 lbs).
The pieces are then washed in water to remove any surface salt, then shaped and trimmed. The hams and shoulders are then hung in rooms with controlled temperature and relative humidity, under normal circumstances, thirty-seven degrees Centigrade (37.4 to 41 ºF) and relative humidity of 70 to 90%. The aim of this stage is to slowly and gradually dry out any moisture, helping the salt to blend into the muscle. This lasts for 30 to 60 days.
The following stage is carried out in natural drying chambers, where the pieces are hung for long enough to ensure natural infiltration of the fats (called the "sweating" process).
The minimum total duration of the production process up to this stage is six months. Finally, the pieces are moved to cellars, where they take on their own true flavor and aroma from the processing area’s micro-climate and micro-flora. Duration of the maturation stage depends on weight.
The total production process lasts a minimum of 18 months for hams and 12 months for shoulders, depending on the weight and quality of each individual piece.
There are three different formats with their special identification items:
- Whole pieces: they have the PDO Jabugo black seal and band with identical codes, and the authorised trademark of each bodega.
- Boned pieces: these pieces are fire branded, and therefore they need the PDO Jabugo band and the authorized trademark of each bodega.
- Hand-carved packs: the packs contain thin slices of ham. They are identified with the PDO Jabugo band and the authorised trademark of each bodega.
Geography / Relief and climate
The Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche is located to the north of the province of Huelva, and is part of the western-most foothills of the Sierra Morena. Its altitude distribution is concentric in nature, culminating in the central triangle known as the Sierra de Aracena. Altitude varies between 500 and 1,045 meters (1,640 and 3,428 ft).
The area has limey soil with sharp slopes and excessive drainage, with metamorphic series, mainly slate or igneous rock.
The region has relatively high rainfall, with average levels exceeding 700 mm (27.6 in).
Average temperatures are between 14.8 ºC (58.64 ºF) in Aracena and 18.4 ºC (65.12 ºF) in La Garnacha. In general, the temperatures decrease as rainfall increases, and vice versa.
The Sierra region includes the basins of the Guadiana, Guadalquivir and Odiel Rivers, rich in water courses and seasonal currents (reliant on rainfall levels), which contribute their flow to the rivers and reservoirs in the area.
Consejo Regulador de la DOP Jabugo
Avda. Infanta Mª Luisa, 1. Edificio El Tiro.
Tel: (+34) 959 127 900
The PDO product is identified by a tamper-proof seal and band.