The end loins of the Iberico pig (also known as pluma) are one of Spain's most coveted cuts of meat and one of the most popular meals around. Pluma is the swine counterpart of the flank, being remarkably marbled, delicious and very juicy too. Pork pluma can be served whole or sliced after being roasted, grilled, or seared. There are many ways to prepare pork pluma and that is one of the main reasons why so many people are wild about it.
Pork pluma is a gastronomic delicacy from Spain, and it is among the best pork in the world. While the legendary slow-aged hams from Iberico are the most well-known, other cuts are juicy, moist, and delectable too. This iberico pork is produced on dehesas, which are ancient Spanish grasslands. Grain, grass, and wheat make up its natural diet. There are no extra growth hormones or antibiotics utilized at any time, making it one of the purest meats on the market.
Under Spanish legislation, this type of Iberico pig is known as "Campo Iberian Pork," which means the animals were grown in the open air on an all-natural grain diet.
Pork pluma, which translates as "feather" in Spanish, comes from the back of the neck. It's deeper and richer in color than the Secreto or Loin, but each piece still has a gorgeous marbling of fat going through it. It has a triangular form and is roughly the size of a hand, making it ideal for grilling, stewing, and roasting. Seasoning with bold, powerful tastes complements this cut, so be creative with your sauces and spices.
How To Cook Pork Pluma
The unique cut of free-range pork pluma should be cooked medium rare or pink to appreciate the meat's softness and the excellent tastes of its fat marbling.
Because the pork plumas have a lot of flavor, it's best to chop them into four pieces and marinate them in a spicy jerk sauce. Cut up some scotch bonnets or other chilies, along with garlic and spring onion, and combine with oil to make a paste. Add a squeeze of lime, paprika, turmeric, and salt & pepper to taste.
Coat the plumas in the marinade, cover, and chill for at least two to three hours, or overnight. Fry the plumas in a heavy-bottomed pot to seal them, then remove from the pan and put aside.
- Using just a small amount of stock, deglaze the pan. Cook off the diced onions and garlic, then add one diced carrot, a chopped-up sweet potato, and another diced celery stick.
- Cover the plumas with vegetable stock, and add some thyme and bay leaves. Then, bring it to a boil, reduce to a low heat and cook for two hours, or until the pork is perfectly soft. Remove the cover to gently decrease and thicken the liquid.
Why Are Iberian Pigs So Special?
Black Iberian pigs are descended from wild boars and have long been regarded as a luxury. The most costly of them all cost about $4,500. Notwithstanding its exorbitant price, though, this ham is still a favorite all over the world.
Black Iberian pigs may be found in the Iberian Peninsula's southern and western areas, which include Spain and Portugal. The EU's Protected Designation of Origin program protects Spanish Iberian ham. It is produced in five separate Protected Designations of Origin throughout five different Spanish regions. Only 6% of all Iberian ham is marked with a black label, signifying that it is 100 percent pure Iberian.
Black Iberian pigs are known to be found in these distinct areas, collectively known as the dehesa.
While being raised, there are no more than two pigs per hectare of grassland, according to laws. The dehesa is abundant in olives, nuts, and berries, but mainly in acorns, which are high in minerals and fatty acids and are known as "bellotas" in Spanish. This is often referred to as the pig's superfood.
The land is uneven and hard to access, and the pigs are bred in mostly bad weather where it's very cold, and the conditions are known to get quite harsh.
These pigs are descended from the wild boar and are born with much more muscle and far less fat tha regular pigs. All of the pig's fat is inside the whole muscle and it doesn't rest on the outside of the meat.
The pigs feed mostly on acorns when growing up and that gives the ham its special, one of a kind flavor.
Over the years, pork pluma has become more and more popular because of its unique flavoring. Its price point can be too hefty for some, but as it has gained popularity over the years, it has become easier to find and even simpler to buy and cook at home.