Abanico ibérico, how to distinguish it from other cuts?

Do you already know what the iberian abanico is? This cut of pork gets its name because it looks very similar to an abanico and has a very intense flavour; moreover, as it is extracted from the outer part surrounding the ribs, its shape is very irregular. How do we differentiate it from the other cuts of iberian pork?

Iberian pork is very popular nowadays due to the large number of cuts that can be obtained from it. In addition, it is a slice of exquisite and juicy meat with an unbeatable texture. This means that many parts of the animal are highly coveted and even difficult to find in supermarkets and butcher's shops.

As they are very small and exclusive pieces, they are generally destined directly for the catering trade. If you see them in the supermarket or butcher's shop, take note of their differences, and do not get confused: each piece of iberian pork is unique!

Secreto Ibérico

This is probably the most popular cut of iberian pork among the most select palates. You can find it in restaurants and butcher shops, although only two secretos are extracted from each pig. The secreto is taken from the upper part of the animal's flank, very close to the head of the loin.

It is also known as "cruceta" and is characterised by its muscle fibres and weight, ranging from 150 to 200 grams. It resembles a steak! The secreto is usually grilled and sometimes even used to make hamburgers and the famous and delicious pulled pork.

Presa Ibérica

Presa de paleta is extracted from the presa blade of the animal and forms part of the head of the loin. It is the cut with the most intramuscular fat veins and has a marbled appearance. Only two iberian cuts can be taken from each pig, each weighing approximately half a kilo.

This meat is ideal for grilling, making carpaccio, and baking it in the oven with baked potatoes.

Pluma Ibérica

The pluma leaves no one indifferent, representing the perfect balance between fat and lean meat. This is because it is extracted from the space between the shoulders. Like other cuts, only two very small feathers can be extracted from the iberian pig, weighing between 80 and 100 grams. It is usually grilled to be crispy on the outside but tender on the inside and goes great with rice and mushrooms!


The iberian lizard's elongated, the lean shape resembles a cordon! Once browned, it takes on a toasted colour and can be cut into slices. Iberian lizard is generally prepared on the grill, as it is reasonably light meat, and with a chestnut sauce, it will delight your guests!

Abanico of Iberian pork

Of all the cuts described above, the abanico ibérico is the least known by the most select and demanding palates. This is because it is not as popular as the secreto, the sirloin, the pluma or even the lagarto. Once you discover it, you will never want to stop eating it.

It has a very irregular shape, and the size varies from animal to animal because the abanico is the cut of the outer part that surrounds the ribs. The weight can vary and is generally 200 grams, so one abanico is ideal for a single person.

Abanico ibérico can be differentiated from other pieces due to its shape; you will notice that it has many streaks of infiltrated fat. Do not remove or clean them! The infiltrated fat gives this cut of iberian ham such a strong and unique flavour. Do not get too complex cooking it either; just like the secreto or the lagarto, the abanico should be grilled with a few flakes of salt and extra virgin olive oil. It is one of the most versatile pieces of iberian pork, as it can be eaten as a grilled fillet, cubes, or fajitas.

The garnishes for this cut also vary; a risotto for the most demanding or a crispy cheese and goat sauce for those who like to delight their guests; for fusion lovers, some fajitas or abanico burritos to reinvent mexican food and for the more traditional, some chips.

Other Iberian cuts

There are other cuts of iberian pork that you can also find in traditional pigs. These cuts, however, always taste better if the animal has been fed acorns. Here the cheeks stand out, extracted from the sides of the pig's jaws; it has a very particular texture thanks to the animal's muscle fibres. The cheeks, unlike other cuts, are prepared in stews that require a long cooking time - they are very tender!

Sirloin is also the king of the iberian cuts and one of the best known. It is also grilled, but it should be left just long enough so that it does not overcook and dry out. You can present the sirloin to your guests through toasts with goat cheese and caramelised onion. You will triumph! These are two very abundant cuts par excellence that will delight young and old alike.

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