Secreto and presa ibérica: differences and preparation

If there are two Iberian pork cuts that triumph among diners, it is the secreto and the presa ibérica. But don't get confused, because these two parts of the pig, although similar, are totally different. However, the flavor of both is delicious and they are both very easy to prepare.


What is the secret and the Iberian prey?

The Iberian secreto, which is also known as cruceta, is a cut that is extracted from the area of the upper part of the animal's flank, near the head of the loin. The prey, on the other hand, is a part from the head of the back. Both cuts are characterized for having large amounts of intramuscular fat and for being very juicy.

Both the secreto and the presa ibérica are very select, gourmet and very exclusive cuts. This is due to the fact that only two pieces can be extracted from each specimen. How can you distinguish between one cut from the other?

The secreto is an elongated and thin piece that weighs between 250 and 300 grams; the presa, on the other hand, is slightly larger, also elongated, but more rounded and can weigh around half a kilo.

Iberian meat is better

The denomination "Ibérico” from secreto and presa comes from a breed of pigs that grow in semi-freedom in the meadows of Spain and Portugal. This type of pig is characterized by a high intramuscular fat content, due to the fact that it is exercised for a good part of its life; this makes the meat to have the perfect balance between fat and lean parts and a very tender texture.

In addition, towards the end of its life, Iberian pigs feed on acorns. This feeding makes the flavor of the meat very intense. On the other hand, these Iberian cuts have high protein content, oleic acid properties similar to those of olive oil, B vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus, zinc and magnesium. The secret and the prey are perfect to include in a healthy diet!

How to prepare the Iberian secret?

The Iberian secret is a very noble cut that you can prepare in the simplest way: grilled or pan-fried. It does not require much elaboration, as you will only need a pinch of coarse cooking salt and aromatic herbs, but these are optional.

To prepare the Iberian secret, you can place the whole piece in the pan or griddle, but only when the utensil is very hot; you can also filet it beforehand, to reduce the cooking time. And it does not need oil!

The oil is optional for you to add just a drizzle, to give more flavor and juiciness to the cut, but it is not essential. Once you place the secreto on the griddle or frying pan, you will need about four minutes on each side for it to be ready. Of course, it is essential that the griddle is very hot.

How to elaborate the Iberian prey?

The prey is a much more versatile cut than the Iberian secret. You can grill it, previously cutting it into small filets, but you can also place the whole piece. Unlike the secreto, the presa ibérica needs longer cooking time and an indirect heat source.

If you cook it on the grill or in a frying pan, the heat should be medium-low. If you put it on the barbecue or grill, then you will need to place it away from the heat source. Cooking time for presa ibérica is about seven to eight minutes, depending on how well done you like your meat. Grilled or broiled, it is best to cut the meat into steaks.

On the other hand, presa ibérica, being so versatile, can be prepared in the oven, but it can also be cooked in a pot. In these cases, the cut should be cooked whole, without fileting. The cooking time is much longer, and can take up to 30 minutes.

Did you know that Iberian pork can also be eaten raw? One of the advantages of Iberian pork is that it follows strict sanitary controls. This allows you to eat the prey raw. Lately it has become very popular in restaurants and is prepared in tartar or carpaccio. Both are raw meat recipes, which require a freezing process of at least three days before being consumed. Dare to try the prey in these preparations! You will be pleasantly surprised!

Processing tips for both cuts

You have already seen that both the secreto and the presa are very easy cuts to prepare. They are two pieces that do not need great recipes or too much elaboration, as both are characterized by a very intense flavor. You can accompany them with french fries and you will succeed.

But if there is something that the secret and the prey need is a correct handling. Start by removing them from the refrigerator two hours before cooking, so that they reach room temperature. This will ensure that the meat is not cold inside after cooking, which makes a big difference! In addition, it is advisable to place the meat on a plate to let it breathe.

Finally, always handle the meat with kitchen tongs, otherwise the meat may lose its characteristic juices.

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