How to cook Ibérico Pork like a chef at home!
How to cook Ibérico Pork like a chef at home!

The Campo Grande guide to WOW your dinner guests effortlessly

 

Talking about Jamón Ibérico—a specialty pork from Ibérico pigs, the breed native to the region encompassing Spain and Portugal—the late great Anthony Bourdain once said

 

 "To pass through Spain and not try this most traditional, most loved expression of Spanish history and culture is like letting the great love of one's life slip through one's fingers."

 

As a Spaniard raised in Madrid, those words resonated with me. For starters, Jamón Ibérico isn’t just another item at the grocery store—it's part of our DNA. In Spain, cured jamón legs on wooden ham stands are a fixture in our kitchens. We learn from an early age that some ham is for weeknights and other ham, like the oil-slick feathery slices of Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, is reserved for special occasions. We see our prized pork as something uniquely Spanish, and something we miss when we travel outside of the Iberian peninsula (which is part of the reason why I started my company Campo Grande). 

 

When I was a kid, my grandma used to tell me about the matanzas in her pueblo, Cáceres, in the Extremadura region. Each year, locals would gather for the sacrificio of a pig and help to prepare it for cooking. If you’ve ever read the details of a matanza, then you know: it’s not for the faint of heart. But it’s also not just about the food. It’s about friends and family members gathering to take part in an age-old tradition. It’s about the communal participation in the act of respectfully preparing an animal that’s been thoughtfully raised on a (corn-free) diet of acorns and grass. And yes, it’s also about the food—unmatched quality, downright delicious pork. Nose to tail, nothing was wasted. “Every part of a pig can be eaten,” is an old adage in Spain, and people lived by it.

 

For a long time, you had to travel to Spain to taste authentic jamón Ibérico—to echo Bourdain, to “try this most loved expression of Spanish history and culture.” But today, my company Campo Grande delivers the taste and tradition of Spain to the US. And we offer a range of products, not just charcuterie. 

 

Whereas serving a board decorated with glistening Ibérico Paleta is a no brainer, cooking pork requires a little more forethought. Because many people are new to Ibérico pork, we do our best to arm customers with the intel to make our products sing.

 

For starters, it’s important to understand what makes Ibérico pork so special—why we call it the “Wagyu of pork.” Like Wagyu, Ibérico pork muscle has an incredibly high level of intramuscular fat. As Guillermo Benjumea, a chef and restaurateur in Madrid who earned his stripes in the kitchens of Gramercy Tavern and Eleven Madison Park, noted, “Ibérico pork and Wagyu are comparable because both are breeds that tend to get great marbling scores. They both have that melt in your mouth feeling.” Similar to Wagyu, Ibérico pork has a low melting point—in fact, the fat starts to render in your hand when you touch it, it’s that “buttery” rich. 

 

Ibérico pork is also high in oleic acids, or unsaturated fatty acids that can help increase good cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol. These fatty acids are famously found in extra-virgin olive oil, one of Spain’s other delicacies.(I recently made a case for eating more healthy animal fats, like those found in Ibérico pork.) 

 

If you’re interested in learning more about what makes ibérico pork so special, we created the following guides: 

 

What Is Ibérico Pork And If You Should Try It Or Not

 

How Ibérico Is The Wagyu Of Pork

 

Why Is Ibérico Pork Expensive?

 

If you’re already convinced that Ibérico is the Wagyu of Pork and ready to start cooking, you can check out these detailed cooking guides to preparing the different Ibérico pork cuts (plus wine pairings to go with).

 

Think Pink: How To Cook The Perfect Ibérico Pork Steak

 

Beginner's Guide To Ibérico Cooking

 

The Ultimate Guide To Cooking Ibérico Pork

 

Wine Pairings: How To Cook Ibérico With Wine

 

And for nights when you’re entertaining, or just in the mood to assemble a picture-perfect “girl dinner,” we’ve got ideas for you, too: 

 

The Ultimate Ibérico Charcuterie Board

 

It’s exciting to watch people on both sides of the pond taking part in the Spanish tradition of Jamón Ibérico. Every day, people tag Campo Grande with their creative and delicious culinary adventures using our Ibérico products. We love to see it. Hopefully, the above tips and techniques can make your next Spanish-themed dinner party, backyard barbecue, or Tuesday night dinner just a little bit tastier. 

 

If you have any specific questions or want to learn more, feel free to drop a note in the comments.

 As we say in Spain: ¡Que aproveche! 

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