Differences between shoulders and Iberian hams

The differences between the shoulders and the iberian hams, although they come from the legs of the pigs (the shoulder, comes from the front legs and the ham from the hind legs of the pig), are two very different products. Among them are: the size and / or volume, its shape, the yield, its taste, the curing time and its price.

Size and volume.

The Iberian ham with a larger size, usually weighs between 7 and 9 kg, is longer and more stylized (with a length between 70 and 90 centimeters approximately on average). While the shoulder with a smaller size, usually weighs between 3.5 and 5 kg .. is shorter and round (about 60 and 75 cm approximately).

Your forms.

In the ham the cane is longer, and also, as a reference, we can see a bone that protrudes from the inside of the leg, which is the hip bone or hip. The shoulder is attached to the trunk by the shoulder blade, which is a flat bone and therefore has a more rounded shape.

The performance.

In the shoulder, it is smaller, because it contains more fat and having a larger bone (corresponds to 40% for pure iberians and 50% for crusaders, the total weight of the piece), has less meat that take advantage of the shoulders and the shape of its bone makes it more complicated to cut the slices.

In the ham is greater, because 30% of the weight corresponds to the bone, for its shape (where it facilitates the cut), the slices that we can get slices are larger and more easily.


In the Iberian ham and shoulders, although these differences are subtle (you can not determine if one meat is better than the other, within the same quality), the difference will be measured only by the tastes of each person.

Only the most demanding palates will find a greater softness and complexity in the slices of Iberian ham (for a longer time of healing) with contrasts of 7 different flavors. While the palette with more fat will offer a more intense and powerful flavor, although with less nuances and flavors, due to its shorter healing time.


The preparation, salting, desalazón, drying and maturation, is different for both.

Due mainly to the morphological differences and weight of the pieces, the healing time for Iberian hams and shoulders is different. In the case of Iberian hams, this time ranges between 15 and 36 months depending on the type of ham. Thus, the Iberian pallets will be cured from 12 to 24 months.


Iberian ham is usually more expensive than a shoulder due, especially to its weight, yield … Iberian hams are easier to cut than the palette and require a longer time of healing, care and pampering.

Depending on the feeding and rearing of the pigs (acorns, bait field and bait), of the breed (percentage of iberian purity). Of the shoulders and hams we will find some prices or others, being the most expensive and with the highest quality pure iberian acorn ham.

You can check the prices of all the Iberian hams and iberian shoulders (according to your diet and breed) of Sierra de Jabugo, in our online shop pata-negra-ham.com

Summary of the differences between the shoulders and iberian hams



Size and volume. Between 7 and 9 kg. With a length between 70 and 90 cm. Between 3,5 and 5 kg. With a length between 60 and 75 cm.
Your forms. Longer and stylized. It is shorter and round.
The performance. Once clean of bark, fat and bone, we can take advantage of 50-60% Once cleared of bark, fat and bone, we can take advantage of 45-50%
Flavor. Greater softness and complexity in the slices. We can find up to 7 flavors. More intense and powerful taste, although with less nuances and flavors.
Healing. 15 and 36 months. 12 at 24 months.
Price. Higher in general computation. More economical.

If you buy or need to send your product Spain or Portugal, we recommend that you make the order from our other website: https://www.sierradejabugo.com or https://www.sierradejabugo.es