If you know anything about Ibérico pork, you know that it's a highly sought-after product that rivals other international delicacies like Japanese wagyu beef or Italian truffles. And while most of Ibérico's international fame lies in its cured treasures like Ibérico ham (in part for its transportability), fresh cuts like Ibérico presa are insanely delicious and deserve their place in the international spotlight.
So what exactly is Ibérico presa? Presa, like pluma and secreto, is a choice cut that comes from the shoulder area. But presa is actually the largest of these three specialty cuts and can easily weigh around a pound. It's a lot like a boneless pork roast, but is far more delicious and and has much more intramuscular fat.
Where Does the Presa Cut Come From?
The presa cut is located slightly below the pork tenderloin, in the shoulder area. It's oval shaped and is about 1-2 inches thick. It's also very well marbled and thus, incredibly tender. If it doesn't sound familiar to you, that's because it, well, isn't. Though pigs of all varieties have this piece of muscle, Spanish butchers cut and sells pigs very differently than in the U.S. In the States, we tend to only eat a select few cuts of pork, whereas in Spain it's a nose-to-nail situation.
Part of what makes presa so delicious and unique is the source. Acorn-fed pigs raised on sustainable and humane farms, along with the unique breed native to the Iberian peninsula (encompassing Spain and Portugal), give the meat a complex nutty flavor and a melt-in-your-mouth texture. And presa's shape and composition showcases these nuances especially well.
Special Cuts of Ibérico
Though the Ibérico pig isn't huge animal, it can be challenging to keep all the specialty cuts straight. Here's a juicy leg up:
How to Prepare a 16 oz Ibérico Presa
There are all sorts of ways to prepare a pound (16 oz) of Ibérico presa, whether it's on the stove or in the oven. This method, using a grill, is a particular showstopper and will transport you directly to a Spanish barbecue in the campo. Here's how to get there:
Step 1: Trim any remaining thin membrane that is still on the surface of the meat. Presa usually won't have much, so don't go crazy.
Step 2: Rub half a teaspoon of salt into the meat on both sides, being carefully to distribute it evenly. You can also try out your favorite steak rub, but if it's your first time preparing presa, we recommend you take the simple route so you can really enjoy those stand-out Iberian flavors.
Step 3: Let the meat rest uncovered in the fridge for a few hours or, for even better results, overnight.
Step 4: Fire up the grill to 225-250ºF by heating just one side of the grill. Then, place the meat on the opposite side of the grill—away from the heat—and close the lid. This method allows the meat to cook without burning or drying out on the inside, in a process known as "reverse searing." It also helps prevent flareups. Let the meat cook for 30 minutes without flipping or opening up the lid. Don't peak!
Step 5: Crank the heat up to high and place the presa over direct heat. Sear until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side.
Step 6: Cook the presa to between 133-136ºF. The USDA recommends you cook to a minimal temperature of 145ºF for medium-rare, but we (and the rest of Spain) enjoy it at much lower temperatures. It's the best way to get the full Ibérico taste.
Step 7: Let the Ibérico presa rest for 3 minutes. Then, slice it against the grain and serve immediately.
Iberico Presa Recipes
Sky's the limit with Iberico presa. Check out a few other mind-blowing recipes that work well with this tasty cut.
Presa Ibérica with Cauliflower Puree, mushrooms, an Ibérico ham bone broth reduction, and mango confit is a spectacular festival of flavors.
Spanish Burrito with Presa Ibérica and Mango mixes Spanish and latin flavors and comes together super quick.
Presa Ibérica with Mountain Rice, garnished with curry mayo and fresh chives, is the ultimate Spanish Sunday lunch.
Eat More Ibérico Presa
Presa is love at first bite. Its next-level marbling, tender textures, and unmatched earthy and nutty taste is the epitome of an epic culinary experience, and changes the way you think about pork altogether. Honestly, it's hard to believe the supermarket pork you've been eating all your life is even related to this Iberian cut.
Don't believe us? Snag a few cuts of presa a la carte or grab an Ibérico Pork Box packed with some of the best cuts this special Spanish pig has to offer. You'll get a firsthand experience of true Ibérico pork. But careful, you may never go back!