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Spanish Ham: How to Choose It

Even among Spaniards, there seems to be confusion about which Spanish ham is available. There are serrano, bodega, iberico, and black foot options. You can also buy Spanish ham from

This article aims to shed some light on the subject and to provide some guidelines that will hopefully help you make better-informed decisions next time you're in the fortunate situation of purchasing a Spanish ham. 

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Spanish Ham Types:

Spanish hams can vary greatly in taste, quality, and price depending on:

  • It comes from which type of pig
  • How the pig was fed
  • To make the ham, which leg was used -front or rear?

Without a doubt, the type of pork is the most important aspect. Spanish hams can be classified as follows:


Select white pig hams are sweeter and more delicate than Iberico hams. These hams can be eaten on their own, or they can be used in cooking. Their price is also significantly lower than Iberico hams. 

When it is still tender, this ham looks very similar to Parma Ham and can be found in many foreign supermarkets. Even within this category, the quality difference can be significant. There are:


Iberico Hams are world-class. They differ from serrano and other hams around the world. After two years of aging, their flavors and aromas are complex and so rich in butter, earthy, floral and beluga caviar that Iberico Hams should be considered as a delicacy. This product is a Spanish delicacy that is well-known for its complex, intense flavor. It is only served raw and rarely cooked.

Sometimes, Iberico hams can be called "black hoof" and "Jabugo". This is misleading and a mistake. Not all Iberico Hams have black hoofs, and not all hams come from Jabugo (a Spanish town).