Knowing how to distin guish iberian ham by its seal, label, morphology and touch is important. But there is a delicate process that the ham master must do to know if it is at its optimum point for consumption by the ham cove. This phase is carried out when the piece is being cured in the dryer, cellar or when selling the cured piece to our customers in the store. The smell of a professional allows through its aroma to know: the quality, the degree of cure, the level of salty, if it is kept in the best conditions and if there is any anomaly that suggests that the piece is not perfect.
The cove is an elongated piece about 12 cm long and sharp, usually made of wood or bone of cow or horse, although sometimes we also find synthetic materials.
The draft is to introduce the cove (sting) between 1.5 and 3 centimeters approximately depth in the different parts of the ham to be assessed. It should never be bigger, to try to break the least muscle fibers possible.
The draft of the ham should be made when the ham or the shoulder are with a certain level of healing and never be done in the early stages of ripening the ham, since the pieces contain a high degree of humidity and the wound that produces the draft multiplies the odds that the piece will deteriorate. So these drafts is very important to be done quickly and accurately, since a single moment serves to make the cove is impregnated with aromas and differentiate the different shades of Iberian ham. Immediately after removing the cove, cover the hole made with the own fat of the ham. This will allow the “wound” to heal quickly, also preventing rust from contact with air, moisture or pathogens that spoil the ham.
The experience of our ham masters through the senses of sight, touch and olfactory are able to appreciate and distinguish the numerous nuances in the ham, such as maturation, salty … or possible deficiency of the piece.
The points of the draft of the ham are not random, and is usually done in three points in particular of the piece that do not damage the product and heal easily:
- The bridge bone is the point of articulation where the femur meets the bone of the pig’s hip.
- The stifle where the femoral vein is located, at the level of the femur at its junction with the hip bone.
- And last point of cleat is at the junction of the tibia with the femur.
With the experience of the professional who realizes the draft of the iberian ham we advise you in our store, that our ham is at its optimum point of cure and salt and if it is the perfect moment for its consumption.