The Art of Carving Spanish Jamon


Spanish are fanatical about elevating what could be the ordinary into an art form, but not in a pretentious “My Kitchen Rules” kinda way…

Jamon Iberico de Bellota is the end-product of a 3 year long curing process, so you really don’t want to just hack away.  Carving it correctly for optimal enjoyment just makes sense.

cortador collage slice jamon how to

Some of Spain’s best Cortadores de Jamon

Carving Jamon in Spain is an art, a sport, a social-bonding event and ultimately, DELICIOUS!
A few bullet points can help highlight the depth of this art:

  • The way you cut your Jamon can determine aroma, texture and flavor
  • Each year there are national carving competitions, attended by thousands
  • There is a very specific array of knives which are used in the different steps of the carving process. Respect the knives and KEEP.THEM.SHARP!
  • There are diplomas and apprenticeships in Jamon carving
  • Master carvers – Cortadores de Jamon – can be paid over 3,000 euros an evening (hey.. I just made that up… fact-check anyone?)
  • ‘Slicing Spanish Ham’ is a new 130 page book on how to correctly slice a whole leg of ham.  Not exactly light reading, but worthwhile.
  • Jamon sliced too thick can be sent back by customers

The Good and the Better news (there’s no Bad news)
The good news is that the more you practice slicing paper-thin bites of delicious melt-in-your-mouth Jamon, the better you get.
The better news is that you, as a master-carver-in-training, are obliged to destroy the evidence of each poor slicing you make.  Whether it’s too thick or too short, you MUST bury the scrumptious evidence deep in your stomach.  Muah-ha-ha-haaaaa…..  (& yum)



We hope this helps answer How to cut jamon, how to carve jamon / spanish cured ham.

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