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Serrano, Iberico eller Sortfodsskinke | Hvad er forskellen?

Serrano, Iberico or Blackfoot ham | What is the difference?

Spain is a nation rich in culinary heritage, and nothing symbolizes Spanish food culture better than the different types of hams that have enchanted palates for millennia. From the noble Iberico hams, which come from pigs that eat acorns in the lush forests, to the more common and accessible Serrano hams, which carry the taste and heritage of the mountain regions, it is a fascinating world of taste and tradition. In this blog post we will explore the different types of Spanish hams, their unique properties and how they play a central role in Spanish cuisine and gastronomic heritage. So dive into the taste experience and discover what makes each type of ham so special and loved, both in Spain and around the world.

The types we will look at in this post and what characterizes them will be Serrano, Iberico and Pata Negra (also known as Blackfoot ham).

Jamon and Paleta?

Let's start by getting one thing straight, the difference between jamon and paleta.

The difference between "Jamon" and "Paleta" is primarily in which part of the pig they come from. Both are Spanish cured hams, but they are cut from different areas of the pig, which can affect the taste and texture.

Here is the simple version:


It comes from the leg (femur) of the pig. Jamon is usually larger and has a more elongated shape, which makes it suitable for cutting thin slices and presenting on a ham rack.


Paleta, also known as "shoulder," is cut from the front of the pig, specifically from the shoulder area. Paleta is generally smaller and has a more rounded shape than Jamon. It is also easier to handle due to its smaller size.

Depending on who you ask, you either get the answer that there is a difference in taste between jamon and paleta, or that there is a minimal difference in taste between the two, so we leave that up to you to judge for yourself.

In practice, jamone's size makes it more suitable for hand carving, as it is simpler to carve, however it is also typically 2-3 kg. larger, which means that you get to eat even more ham than with a paleta - but who doesn't want that too?

In terms of price, there are fewer kilos on a paleta, so they will always be cheaper than a jamon, however, its complexity also means that they are typically priced a little cheaper further, to make it a sought-after sale.

& now for the hams!

Here we look at 4 types and what the difference is, so you can tell them apart. Here we will talk about Serrano, Iberico, Bellota and Pata Negra.


Serrano ham, also known as "Jamon Serrano," is a type of Spanish cured and cured ham. This is one of the most common and available types of ham in Spain and international markets. Here are some of the main characteristics of Serrano ham:

  1. Serrano ham is usually made from pork from regular pigs, not necessarily the Iberian pigs used for Iberico ham. These pigs are typically of breeds such as Landrace or Duroc, which are more common in agriculture.

  2. Like other types of Spanish ham, Serrano ham is dried and salted as part of the production process. This helps preserve the meat and give it a distinctive flavor.

  3. Serrano ham is named after mountain regions in Spain where it is often produced, such as the Sierra Nevada and Sierra de Teruel. The altitudes and climate of these areas contribute to the drying process.

  4. The taste and quality of Serrano ham can vary depending on the producer and production techniques. While usually more affordable than the noble Iberico hams, it can still have a great flavor and texture.

  5. Serrano ham usually has a shorter aging time than some of the more exclusive hams. It can be divided into two main categories: "Serrano" and "Reserva," with "Reserva" being older and having a more intense flavor.

Serrano ham is versatile and is used in various Spanish dishes, such as tapas, and it is often served thinly sliced ​​as a delicacy. Available in supermarkets and specialty stores worldwide, it is a popular element in many kitchens and dining experiences.


Iberico ham, also known as "Jamon Iberico," is a high-quality ham from Spain that is made from the meat of Iberian pigs. These pigs are known for their unique breed, diet and lifestyle, all of which play a crucial role in the quality and taste of the resulting ham. Here are some of the main characteristics of Iberico ham:

  1. Iberico ham is made primarily from Iberian pigs (Porcus domesticus), a breed native to the Iberian Peninsula, which includes Spain and Portugal. The only other breed that is approved to mix with iberico is duroc.

  2. What these pigs eat determines the taste and quality of the ham. The best Iberico hams come from pigs that have eaten acorns (bellota) as part of their diet. This gives the meat its characteristic flavor and fat marbling.

  3. Like other Spanish hams, Iberico ham undergoes a drying and salting process that helps preserve the meat and enhance its flavor profile.

  4. There are different grades of Iberico ham that can vary depending on factors such as the pigs' diet and breeding. The highest quality grades include "Jamon Iberico de Bellota," which comes from pigs that have eaten acorns in their final stage, thus producing the most sought-after and tasty Iberico ham.

Iberico ham is known for its deep, rich flavor and juiciness, making it a delicacy in Spanish and international cooking. It is considered one of the finest hams in the world and is loved by gastronomes around the globe. Iberico ham is typically served in thin slices and is an important component of Spanish tapas and gourmet dishes.

Cebo Iberico & Cebo de Campo Iberico

There are several quality grades used to describe different types of Iberico ham based on the pigs' diet and living conditions. Two of the most common grades are "Cebo" and "Cebo de Campo," which are important for understanding the variations within Iberico ham:


  • "Cebo" refers to Iberico hams from pigs that have had a mainly conventional diet and are often fed grains and commercially prepared feed mixes.

  • Pigs that produce Cebo ham are usually raised in controlled environments, such as farms and barn systems. They have limited access to outdoor areas.

  • Cebo hams are generally more affordable compared to higher quality grades like "Bellota." They still have a nice flavor and texture, but they are usually milder in flavor and have less fat marbling compared to Bellota hams.

Cebo de Campo:

  • "Cebo de Campo" refers to Iberico hams from pigs that have a more varied diet that includes both grain and natural grazing and vegetation from fields and the countryside.

  • Pigs producing Cebo de Campo hams have more access to outdoor areas and live in a more natural environment compared to Cebo hams.

  • Cebo de Campo hams are usually of a higher quality than regular Cebo hams. They have a more pronounced flavor and a better marbling of fat, which results in a juicier and more flavorful ham.

The different quality grades make it possible to satisfy different taste preferences and budgets when choosing Iberico ham. "Bellota" remains the highest quality category and represents hams from pigs that have had the most natural diet based on acorns, but both "Cebo" and "Cebo de Campo" can still deliver tasty and distinctive Iberico hams.

Cebo de Campo will be the pig that carries it green sign , whereas Cebo wants it white sign.


"Bellota" refers to Iberico ham from pigs that have had a diet based on acorns. These pigs have spent the last part of their lives (usually the last quarter of their growth) grazing freely in acorn groves and eating these natural acorns. This special feed gives the meat a unique flavor and fat marbling.

Pigs that produce Bellota hams live in semi-wild or natural environments where they have access to large areas of oak and chestnut groves. This free grazing in the forests contributes to the deep and complex flavor profile in the meat.

Bellota ham is considered the highest quality in Iberico ham production. They have an intense and complex flavor that combines saltiness with sweetness and notes of acorn. They are also known for their excellent fat marbling, which gives a juicy and soft texture.

Bellota hams are luxurious and considered to be some of the finest and most sought after hams in the world. They have a unique flavor profile and quality that sets them apart from other types of ham and makes them an essential part of Spanish gastronomy and the delicatessen world.

Bellota hams, which have 50-75% iberico pig in them, will carry the red label.

Pata Negra (black foot ham):

This is where some people feel about going wrong in the city. For many, black-footed ham is simply the same as iberico ham, but as we have just read, iberico ham is many different things and only when the pig is 100% iberico breed and bellota fed, can it be called black-footed ham.

The term "Pata Negra" translates to "Blackfoot ham" and refers to the black hoof on the pig. This is the most characteristic feature of Iberico pigs originating from the Iberian regions (Spain and Portugal).

Pata Negra specifically refers to Iberico pigs, which are an older breed and are considered to provide the most sought-after meat for the production of Iberico hams. The pigs are known for their dark skin and black hooves.

The quality of Pata Negra ham depends primarily on the pigs' diet and living conditions. The best Pata Negra hams come from pigs that have eaten acorns (bellota) as part of their diet. This diet gives the ham its characteristic flavor and fat marbling and places it in the highest quality category of Iberico hams.

Pata Negra hams are known for their exquisite taste and quality. They have a deep and complex flavor profile with notes of acorn and a delicious fat marbling. Their texture is juicy and soft, making them some of the most sought-after hams in the world.

In the context of Iberico ham production, "Pata Negra" denotes the most prestigious and tasty hams that come from pigs with black hooves. It is a guarantee of quality and taste that makes these hams some of the finest delicacies in Spanish and international gastronomy.

If you also have a little about Pata Negra in numbers, it is said that only 0.01% of all iberico hams are Pata Negra, so this is also why these blackfoot hams are extremely sought after and unique!

Pata Negra is the only Iberico pig that can wear the black label.

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