How to place a ham in the ham holder

Once we have bought the ham, it is time to put it in the ham holder to start enjoying it. First of all, we should be clear about the type of consumption we are giving to the piece; it is not the same if we want to consume it over a long period of time or if we want to consume it in the same day.

It will also depend a lot on the curing point of our ham and the type of ham it is. For example, the quality of the fat or infiltration that a Bellota 100% Ibérico ham has will give the piece greater juiciness when we cut it and keep it. The experience will be very different if we compare it to a white ham.

I recommend that you first take a look at the post about the parts of the ham, it will help you to understand what I am about to explain.

What kind of consumption am I giving to the ham?

1. I will consume it at home. At home we usually make a prolonged consumption of the product, that is, we eat the ham little by little. It will also depend on the curing point of the ham when it is going to be eaten. This will really be the aspect that will give us the keys to start it on one side or the other.

Pieza colocada en el jamonero para empezarla por la babilla, con la pezuña mirando hacia abajo

If the piece is too cured and for this type of consumption, I usually recommend starting with the narrowest part, the “babilla”. The longer we leave the “babilla” without being sliced, the more it will cure, and it may get too dry. We must bear in mind that this part is the least infiltrated and the most cured. As it will take a few days to eat the whole piece, it is preferable to start with this part because sometimes, if we leave it for the end, it can be very dry and we will not be able to take full advantage of it.

If it lacks a bit of curing, we can start it in one part or the other indistinctly, although from my point of view it would also be better to start it on the “babilla” as it will be more cured than the “maza”. It’s not that in two weeks the piece will cure perfectly, but maybe the “maza” will be a little more cured when we get to it.

The trick to put it in the ham holder starting on the “babilla” is to put the hoof facing down.

Partes de un Jamón

2. I will consume it at an event. In celebrations or events the piece is usually eaten in one go, it is usually all sliced in one day. If you are going to enjoy your ham in the same day or in a couple of days, I recommend that you start with the “maza”, the widest part.

This part is the juiciest one due to the concentration of infiltrated fat it contains. As in this case the piece will be consumed in a short time, we will not have the problem that the days go by and the “babilla” becomes drier. 

The “maza” is the most attractive part of the cut and the one that attracts most the attention visually. Starting on that part if we are going to cut the ham at an event will help us to enhance the piece and the cut. The first impressions of the guests about the ham will be better because they will be enjoying one of the most valued parts of the piece right from the beginning.

In fact, at a professional level, both at events and in specialized stores, the most common thing is always to start the piece on the “maza”.

When it comes to placing it on the ham stand, we will have to do the opposite of what I mentioned earlier: this time the hoof should be facing upwards. 

In any case, there are theories of all kinds and in the end each person has its own tricks. I hope that these guidelines will guide you and help you to enjoy your piece of ham a little more.