How to cut the ham
The steps to follow for cutting Iberian ham correctly, for exquisite tasting, are given below.
1.- Place the meat to be cut correctly in the brace. This means that it must be firmly secured and in a comfortable position for the cutter.
2.- Skinning. This consists of withdrawing part of the rind covering the ham, which is formed of natural moulds and exudations that have been produced during the drying and maturing process. Start with a circular cut perpendicular to the foot at the height of the hock. Subsequently, make tangential cuts on both sides. If the ham is to be consumed over a short period of time, all of its should be skinned. If not, it should be skinned as it is to be eaten.
3.-Initiation. If the ham will be eaten quickly, or a more flamboyant style of cutting is desired, one should begin by the main part of the meat, which is juicier. For slower consumption, it is recommendable to start with the stifle area, so that the meat will not end up being too dry. To make the cut, use a special ham-cutting knife with a long, narrow, flexible blade. For auxiliary cuts another type of knife is used, this time with a short stiff blade.
4.-Cuts. They should always be parallel to each other and leave a flat surface. The slices should be almost transparent. They must follow the width of the meat and should not be longer than 6 or 7 centimetres. When the main part is cut (with the hoof facing upwards), slices from the central area should be mixed with those of the upper foreleg. This main part needs auxiliary cutting. The first one will be to finish off the piece towards the foreleg, and the second, with the auxiliary knife, serves to separate it from the coxal bone.
5.- Finally. The meat close to the bones, that cannot be cut into proper slices but rather into strips and irregular pieces, is an excellent complement to many dishes and can even be consumed in small slices. The bones, cut into pieces of 10 to 12 centimetres with a saw, are equally of use in the production of exquisite consomme. As for the arrangement of the slices on the plate, only one layer should be set out, with if any only slight overlapping between them.
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