Iberico Secreto is a small muscle that is tucked away underneath the pork shoulder, that packs a large wallop of flavor and is hailed as Spain’s greatest kept secret.
To any pork connoisseur out there, Iberico will be nothing new. But to the uninitiated, Iberico is pork that’s cut from the special Iberico pigs of southern Spain. Their unique diet and lifestyle bring forth the distinct flavor and texture that this variety of pork is so widely known for.
What is Iberico Secreto?
“Secreto” means secret in Spanish, and this tiny but mighty cut of meat couldn’t be more aptly named. It’s a cut that hides behind the tough pork shoulder and is a highly prized and deliciously tender, magnificently marbled slab of meat.
The flavor of this pork is quite unique, boasting a pleasantly nutty and rich quality. It’s extremely moist and tender.
The greatest part of this meat is the marbling. That high-fat content gives the pork an extra delicious flavoring, while still being quite good for you. Intramuscular fat, the kind that’s prominent in this cut, is healthy and quite delicious. Iberico Secreto is otherwise known as “olive oil meat”.
The flavor and texture of the Iberico pigs is significantly different from the pigs raised on industrial farms. This meat is highly prized, produced on family farms and the care that goes into raising these half-wild pigs is clearly shown in the high quality of the meat.
Where does the Iberico Secreto cut come from?
The Iberico Secreto cut is taken from the shoulder of the Iberian pigs. It’s hidden between the shoulder blade and loin. It’s heavily marbled and embedded in fat, and absolutely no other cut of pork - whether from an Iberian pig or not - is as juicy and succulent.
This cut will cost you, too. There are only 2 Secreto cuts on a pig, and the size of the cut depends on the breed of pig. Even if it’s not cut from an Iberian pig, this one will cost a pretty penny.
What Makes the Iberico Secreto so Special?
The Iberian pigs, referred to as “Pata Negra” in their native country of Spain, due to their unique black hooves, are among the oldest breeds on earth. They’re left to roam freely around a large area, eating whatever nature provides for them - along with a hearty serving of sweet acorns. Each pig is given the equivalent of 5 acres in which to roam, root and explore.
The Iberian pigs live quite a unique lifestyle. They’re given free rein in a government-protected oak forest or meadow. They spend a large portion of their time chowing down on wild herbs, grasses, mushrooms, and most importantly the acorn - which is a diet staple for these pigs.
Because of the aforementioned diet of wild grasses and sweet acorns, the meat of the Iberian pigs takes on a slightly nutty property. The generous marbling throughout the muscle only adds to this flavor,
This cut is tender and succulent, owing in no small part to the incredibly delicious marbling throughout the muscles. The Secreto gets exercised enough to get that sought-after marbling, but it doesn’t do as much work as the pork shoulder so it’s not tough. In fact, the Secreto is incredibly soft and tender.
Where Can You Buy Iberico Secreto?
Though this meat is highly prized and sought after the world over, it was banned in the United States for quite a long time due to an outbreak of swine flu in Spain and Africa. This ban has since been lifted - beginning with cured pork products, and now even raw pork has made its way back to the North American marketplace.
Depending on where you live currently, you could reasonably expect to find some Iberico pork at your local butcher. In fact, in certain parts of the world, you can find packaged Iberico Secreto in your local supermarket.
However, if that isn’t an option for you just yet, you can always purchase raw Iberico Secreto from a trusted online vendor. There are several certified butchers who offer Iberico Secreto, and even other special cuts of this pig such as the Pluma.
It’s very likely you won’t have a hard time at all finding this cut being sold.
As you can see, Iberico Secreto is a very special cut of pork, from a very special breed of pig. The way it's raised, the food it's fed, even where the pig lives play significant roles in the unique and succulent flavors of the Iberico Secreto.
With that texture that just melts in your mouth, and the rich and creamy marbling which adds not only to the delectable appearance of the pork, but the delicious nutty flavors as well, pork lovers the world over are tripping over themselves to get a taste of this rare Spanish delicacy. It really isn’t hard to see why!