Iberico pork is oftentimes compared to Wagyu beef. It’s simply the best of the best when it comes to pork. The Ibérico Pluma is a special and tender cut taken from the end of the loin. The appearance is similar to a feather, which is where it gets its name. “Pluma” means feather in Spanish.
Though the Pluma is surrounded by an abundance of fat, it’s exactly that which gives this cut its noteworthy and succulent flavor. In general, it’s best to cook Iberico pork cuts like you would a prized beef steak: a nice healthy char on the outside while keeping it medium-rare on the inside.
Where does Ibérico Pluma come from?
Ibérico Pluma comes from the same animal used to make Spain's famous Ibérico ham, or Jamón Ibérico. You may have also heard them called "Pata Negra," which refers to the pigs' unique black hooves. It's a breed of pig that is native to both Spain and Portugal.
Despite the active lifestyle these pigs have—up to 5 acres of land per pig in the hilly mountain sides—they have a significant amount of fat on their bodies and especially spectacular intramuscular fat that produces ultra-tender meat.
Specifically the Ibérico Pluma comes from the neck end of the pork loin.
What makes pork Pluma so special?
The reason why this cut of pork is so special comes down to the pigs themselves. They spend their whole lives running free in the mountainous forests and meadows of the regions of Spain where the Iberian pigs are bred and raised.
The diet of these pigs is also incredibly important and vital to producing that special and distinct flavor of the Ibérico pork. The pigs forage for tons of acorns, which contributes to the unique, slight nutty flavor of the Ibérico meat. The exercise and rich diet of acorns, wild grasses and mushrooms all contribute to the health and wellness of each pig—which also contributes to the final flavor and tender meat harvested later.
Even if you don’t know much about pork, you can tell just by looking at it that Ibérico is different. It has an incredibly mouth-watering marbling in the muscles which adds to the unique flavor profile of this pork.
Despite being super high in fat, Ibérico is also high in oleic acid, the same fatty acid found in olive oil. Oleic acid is said to reduce cholesterol which is known to aid in cardiovascular health.
How to Cook Ibérico Pluma
Easy Recipe Pork Pluma in the Oven
- Preheat oven to 425ºF.
- Prepare your marinade, sauce, or simply stick with a salt and pepper.
- Pat the meat dry and season with salt and pepper.
- Sear in a hot pan for 3 minutes on each side.
- Pop the pluma in the oven to finish, for 4-6 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat.
- Brush the marinade or sauce on top of the pork (if using) and serve.
Easy Recipe for Pork Pluma on the Grill
- Heat your grill to 480ºF.
- Pat your Pluma dry and set on dry paper towels.
- You want it to be as dry as possible so you get a delicious crunchy exterior.
- Mix 2 parts flour and 1 part salt in a small bowl and sprinkle it onto the meat. This will help you get a crispy exterior.
- Place the Pluma over direct heat on the grill and cook on both sides for 3 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when it begins to brown.
- Remove it from the heat and let it rest for 2 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy.
Easy Recipe Pork Pork Pluma on the Stove
This method isn’t too different from the oven method, actually. However, you’ll be starting and finishing the cooking process in the skillet.
- Pat the Pluma dry with a paper towel and season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat up a cast-iron skillet with oil over medium-high heat
- Carefully place the Pluma into the skillet.
- Sear for 4-5 minutes before flipping.
- Drain off the excess fat.
- After an initial flip, cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until you reach the desired doneness level - medium rare should have an internal temperature of 135ºF.
- Remove from heat and let the Pluma rest before cutting and serving.
Ibérico Pluma is an incredibly special and succulent cut of pork. It’s not hard to see why it’s so popular and beloved all over the world- from the tender and juicy soft texture, to the incredible marbling of fat throughout the muscle, which adds to that unbeatable flavor, this cut is simply magnificent.