Ibérico Pork Pluma Steak is a cut above the rest. The piece is taken from the neck end of the pork loin of the Ibérico pig, just above the shoulder blade. Each pig only has two of these small muscles, called the rhomboideus, a name that also refers to its diamond-like wing shape.
The word ‘pluma’ actually means feather in Spanish. It’s likely that folks referred to this piece as the feather cut because of how thin and long it is, with pointed ends like the tip of a delicate feather.
While the size and thinness of this cut attributes alot to its cook time and cooking methods, the unique flavor of Pluma has everything to do with the nature of the Ibérico pig. Ibéricos are incredibly unique animals. Their genetics alone produce high levels of intramuscular fat unlike any other type of pig, similar to those thin spidery streaks you find in wagyu beef. Ibérico is actually slow-growth breed that lives twice as long as the industrial standard. To top it off, they’re also bred on family-owned farms and raised humanely without crates or hormones, and fed a whole grain diet rather than harmful corn-based feed.
All of this attributes to a superior flavor and texture, just begging to be cooked!
How To Cook Ibérico Pork Pluma Steak
Like we said, Ibérico Pluma is a highly marbled cut, and it's also super thin. This sort of structure means it lends well to quick-cooking methods like searing, sautéing, and grilling. So whether you’re grilling out or staying in, simply defrost your Pluma (check out tips on defrosting Ibérico) and cook it for 2-3 minutes on each side over high, direct heat.
You may be thinking, “That’s not nearly enough time to reach the right temperature!” But Ibérico pork is a totally different animal. Throw out everything you know about cooking pork! We beg you! Those 165ºF temps are a thing of the ancient past. An internal temperature of 145ºF, accompanied by a a 3-minute rest period, produces succulent and safe results you'll really get to savor.
Different Types Of Pork Cuts
Pluma is one of the noble cuts: those special cuts from Ibérico with incomparable flavor and a natural tenderness that needs very little time or seasoning to achieve excellent results. Luckily, the Ibérico pig also has a few other cuts that are similar in nature and can be cooked much like Pluma.
Presa is an oval shaped cut that sits between the shoulder and the loin of the Ibérico pig. It is the ultimate boneless roast and works well cooked whole or sliced into thin cutlets or filets. Cook the cutlets for 2-3 minutes on each side in a screaming hot pan, or the whole piece in the oven at 145ºF for about 45 min to 1 hour.
Abanico is taken from the area around the ribs of the pig, and thus has varying shapes that produce unique textures when cooked. It is a thin piece and spreads out like a fan, which is why it is called Abanico (fan in Spanish). We love Abanico grilled over direct heat for 2-3 minutes on each side.
A highly marbled cut, Secreto is the Spanish butcher’s best kept secret. It's located on the outside shoulder muscle and looks similar to a skirt steak, but with far more intramuscular fat. To cook your Secreto, sear the piece in a hot skillet for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Looking for tips on how to cook other cuts of Ibérico? Check out this Beginner’s Guide to Cooking Ibérico.
How To Serve Ibérico Pork Pluma Steak
If we’re being honest, Pluma doesn’t need much. Just a little salt and pepper will bring out all those bold flavors so characteristic of Ibérico pork—the nutty, earthy, notes from the Spanish savanna (dehesa). Simple preparations truly honor the meat’s natural flavor and quality. Too many sauces and spices can overshadow it. These are some of our favorite Pluma recipes, using ingredients and sides that let Ibérico pork shine.
Give that already umami-packed Ibérico meat an extra umami boost with miso butter and some lightly caramelized pearl onions.
Pluma pizza is a quick, protein-packed meal that showcases all the best of Ibérico, from steaks to cured jamón. And with Ibérico as your base instead of dough, it’s the ultimate gluten-free pizza.
You’ve never had fondue until you’ve dipped Pluma ibérica (directly over the coals of your backyard grill) into a gruyere and sweet butternut squash mess of deliciousness.
The sous vide to grill combo makes this Pluma incomparable. It's perfectly cooked and juicy on the inside, and crispy and smoky on the outside. Sous vide is also a fun alternative to the quick sear when you've got some time to plan ahead.
We love Pluma because it’s so versatile. It’s an easy cut to prepare for a quick weeknight dinner for the family. And yet with such powerful, decadent flavor and texture it’s just as impressive as a fancy dinner party main. Trick your guests into thinking you’ve been marinating and butter-basting steaks all day.
Where to Buy Ibérico Pork
Heading to the supermarket for Ibérico pork? Think again. Take a trip to the Campo Grande shop instead. Even your local farmers' market heritage breed pork stand won't have this level of marbling and flavor.