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Possibly the pork shoulder ham is one of the biggest unknowns. While it is true that in Spain it is a product that is easily identified, abroad it is not a well-known product. For many it is a tiny pork ham.

At Gastronomic Spain we want to show you all our top quality and very cheap palettes for all budgets. Both Iberico shoulders and Serrano shoulders. So, if you live abroad and want to enjoy a good ham for very little money, Gastronomic Spain is your place. FREE shipping to all of Europe!

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What is the Pork Shoulder?

The pork shoulder is called the front legs of the pig that have been salted and cured.

It is a piece smaller than the ham and its cut with a knife is different. It presents differences with respect to the ham that we will see later, however, the pork shoulder is still a quality Spanish product, very popular in all homes and cheaper.

Gastronomic Spain offers you a wide range of Iberian shoulders and Serrano shoulders, as well as the different necessary utensils such as a ham holder or a special knife so that you can cut and eat a good cured shoulder in the best possible way.

Pork shoulder curing process

The curing process of pork shoulder is similar to that of ham, although with a shorter duration, since it has a lower weight. To obtain a cured palette, the process to follow is as follows:

1.- Salting. During this first stage we are going to proceed to cover the pork shoulders with salt. The pallets will rest covered with salt in a chamber with a temperature between 1 - ºC and with a humidity of between 75% and 94%.

2.- Post-salty. The pallets are taken to the post-salting chamber, where they will remain for a minimum of 40 days. The chamber is at a temperature between 0ºC and 4ºC. During this process the nitrifiers and the salt penetrate homogeneously inside the blade. During this process, the growth of microbes is inhibited and hydrolysis takes place, which is responsible for the smell and taste so characteristic of the palette.

3.- 1st drying phase: During this first drying phase, the amount of water in the pallet will be reduced. The natural sweating of part of the fats will also occur. At this stage, the diffusion of the salt begins through the entire pork shoulder.

4.- 2nd phase of drying: The dehydration of the shoulder continues and the sweating of the fat. In this phase the temperature of the chamber can reach 34ºC and the humidity between 60% and 80%.

5.- Aging and culmination of curing: In this phase the pieces are stored in the cellar with a temperature not exceeding 18º C and with a humidity of 60%. This is the longest stage. In it, the palette acquires those characteristic properties of flavor, color, texture and smell.

Different types of Pork Shoulders

We can differentiate 2 types of cured shoulder. The Iberico pork shoulder and the serrano pork shoulder. Both types available at Gastronomic Spain are top quality and have a special flavor, but there are differences to take into account before buying a cured shoulder.

Iberico pork shoulder, from Iberian pigs

The Iberian shoulder or shoulder is one that comes from Iberian pigs of at least 50% Iberian breed. This aspect is important, since it crosses the breed of the pig depending on the ham shoulder you want to obtain. If you are thinking of buying an Iberian shoulder, we are going to show you the differences of each of them:

Cebo pork shoulders:

The Iberian cebo shoulder is one that comes from an Iberian pig that has been fed on natural feed and has lived in captivity. The usual thing is that they are pigs of 50% Iberian breed, although sometimes we find shoulders of 75% Iberian breed even 100% Iberian breed. The Iberian bait shoulder has a minimum curing of 12 months.

Cebo de Campo or Recebo shoulder:

The cebo de campo shoulder is the one obtained from pigs that have lived in freedom and have been fed on natural feed and some acorns. It comes from Iberian pigs of 50% or 75% breed. The field bait paddle has a minimum cure of 12 months.

Acorn-fed shoulder or bellota shoulder:

The acorn-fed Iberian shoulder is obtained from Iberian pigs that have lived in freedom and have been fed on natural pastures and acorn. The acorn-fed Iberian shoulder comes from pigs with a 50% or 75% Iberian breed. The acorn shoulder has a minimum aging of 16 months. It is one of the best products.

Pata Negra shoulder:

The pata negra shoulder or 100% Iberian shoulder is a shoulder that comes from 100% Iberian pigs that have lived in freedom, feeding on natural pastures and acorn. It is a fatter shoulder, since the pure breed of Iberian pig is fatter than the breed of white pig.

Serrano shoulder of white pork (Duroc or Landrade)

The Serrana shoulder comes from the white pig. The main breeds of this animal are the Duroc breed and the Landrade breed. There are many breeds, although these are the most popular. In the case of the Duroc breed, it is the one used to cross with the Iberian pig.

It should be noted that they are lower quality shoulders, but they are very good for those who want a good ham at a very affordable price. You can check our entire catalog of serrano palettes here.

There are some denominations, such as Jamón de Teruel and Jamón de Trévelez that make excellent white pork shoulders. These popsicles come from white pig that lives in captivity and is fed on feed. They are the most common palettes and you can find them in our online store.