How to Carve Iberian Ham
1.First of all you will need a “Jamonero” or rack in which to hold the ham securely
whilst carving and three types of knifes: a long flexible one “Culchillo de Jamon”, a
boning knife and a third with a wide blade – a good sized (12″) cooks knife will
suffice. Needless to say all the knives need to be very sharp.
2.The first thing you should do when carving a ham is to remove the skin and
external fat with the cooks knife – don’t go all the way to the meat though this is
a tidy up. Then with the trotter bottom side uppermost make a deep cut up to the
bone. From this cut you will extract the slices from the shoulder which is the
thickest part of the Iberian ham.
3.If the ham is going to be carved and consumed immediately then you should
remove all the skin and external fat completely. Otherwise, you should clean and
skin the ham as you carve it. This prevents the ham going stale, and aids in the
4.Try to carve the Iberian ham as thinly as possible and don’t make them too large -
about the width of a small bacon rasher and about half the length is perfect. Prior
to each carving ensure that the adjacent skin and fat is cleaned away as this will
avoid stale flavours and unneccesary ‘chewy’ bits.
5.When you have carved the Iberian ham down as far as the hip bone, use a sharp
boning knife to cut around the bone so that the following slices can be removed
cleanly from the ham.
6.If you stop carving at this point you should protect the cut surface of the ham
with some of the thickest pieces of fat and skin that were removed at the
beginning. This ensures that the cut surface of the Iberian ham does not dry out.
Alternatively, brush the cut area lightly with olive oil and lay cling film over top.
The cling film only needs to be applied to the cut surface, not the entire Iberian
7.Always try to keep the cuts as straight and level as possible, even at the shoulder
end of the Iberian ham. Try cutting from different directions, but always
lengthwise in order to keep the cut surface level.
8.When you have carved enough Iberian ham to reach the point where the femur
and the kneecap joins, it is best to only carve from the shoulder end near the hip
bone – leaving the lower part (back of the knee) until later on.
9.Now on the lower part of the Iberian ham, (uppermost on the Jamonero) using a
sharp knife – cut deeply into the ham alongside the fibula and remove it. The
Iberian ham from this part can be sliced, or cubed.
10.Once you have removed all the Iberian ham from one side, turn the ham upside
down (trotter facing downwards).
11.Carve the Iberian ham from the knee to the hip, this will result in short thin
12.That’s it, done! Well nearly done anyway, what you have left is a superb bone from
which to create your own “caldo”, or stock with. All you need do now is chop the
bone into manageable size chunks and add to the stock pot. If you have a dog then
let it have a treat too.