Jamón Tips and Info

11 Questions you Should Ask Before you Buy Jamón Ibérico Online in the US

Where to buy the best Ibérico Ham in the US? It’s easy to buy Jamón Ibérico de Bellota online when you ask the right questions.

You love jamón ibérico. Maybe you took a trip to Spain and left craving those luxuriously thin morsels of perfectly cured ham. Or perhaps you’re a Spaniard yourself and miss the flavors of home. Quality regulations in Spain are strict and keep inferior imitation products out of the market (Read our blog post about The Difference Between Jamón Ibérico de Bellota and Other Spanish Ham), but play it smart when buying Jamón Ibérico online. Not all Spanish jamón is the same, so do your research before making such an important and delicious purchase. Here are the questions you should ask when you buy Jamón Ibérico online:

Is the Jamón Ibérico made in Spain?

You may find “Spanish-style” ham, or jamón, but that doesn’t mean it was actually made in Spain. And if it’s not made in Spain, it’s definitely not the jamón you want to serve at your Spanish dinner party.

Is the jamón called “100% Jamón Ibérico de Bellota?” Does it come with a black tag?

The Pata Negra is known as the best jamón in the world. It comes from 100% Ibérico pigs. The pigs can only be called “Pata Negra” and receive an official black tag if they meet certain requirements. If it doesn’t say “100% Ibérico”, it’s a crossbreed (white, green, or red tag) and can’t be called Pata Negra. This isn’t regulated in the U.S and sellers may throw around the word “Pata Negra”, even if it isn’t 100% Ibérico.

The “de Bellota” indicates that it lived a free-range life, munching only on grasses and acorns (bellotas). No industrialized farm feed here. You may find pictures of acorns on packaging labels. Careful! This may be just another technique to make you think it’s free-range and acorn-fed, when it’s simply not. When you buy Jamón Ibérico online, make sure it says “de Bellota.”

Does the Jamón Ibérico pertain to a Spanish D.O.P.?

Denominaciones de Origen Protegida, or D.O.P.s, are protected jamón regions in Spain. Each region has specific regulations the artisans have to adhere to in order to produce and sell their ham under the name “Serrano,” “Ibérico,” or “Pata Negra.” Ibérico Club jamón, for example, is from a D.O.P called “Los Pedroches” and is the only ham with this Protected Denomination of Origin that you’ll find in the United Sates. It’s always good to try to buy Jamón Ibérico that comes from a D.O.P.

How long was the Jamón Ibérico cured?

A proper Jamón Pata Negra should be cured 3-4 years and the Paleta 100% Ibérica de Bellota (or front shoulder legs) require 26-30 months. Anything less is not a proper Pata Negra.

How much does the jamón or paleta weigh?

A proper Jamón Ibérico should weigh an average of 16-17 pounds and a paleta should weigh around 10-11 lbs. This weights may vary but it’s good to make sure they do not differ very much from the average.

Does the Jamón Ibérico come with a holder, knife, and information on carving?

You can’t take your Pata Negra down to the local butcher and ask them to throw it on the deli slicer. This artisanal product requires a different kind of care and can only be carved with a very specific blade used only for jamón. Additionally, the jamón or paleta needs to rest in a special holder for proper leverage. If your online retailer doesn’t send you either of these tools, it will be impossible to carve off those paper-thin slices. It’s also difficult to find these tools in the U.S., and you’ll likely have to special order them. When you buy Jamón Ibérico from Ibérico Club, it comes with a holder, knife, and an instructional carving booklet so you can cut like the pros at home.

If you buy a package of sliced Jamón Ibérico has it been hand-carved or machine-sliced?

Most of the time, a deli-slicer is used to cut pre-sealed packages of jamón. Some retailers will use phrases like “hand-carved style,” but steer clear of these brands if you want Jamón Ibérico that’s been hand-carved. Why? Traditional jamón is delicate and should be carved by hand. At Ibérico Club we are one of the very few that offer real hand-carved Pata Negra. And we’ve got our very own master carvers to do it!

How long has the Jamón Ibérico been in inventory?

Some online sellers, for example on Amazon, buy jamón ibérico and can’t sell all their product fast enough. They end up with inventory that’s a year old and have to sell it at a lower price. These jamones, though cheaper, are over cured. It can be hard to detect based on what you see on a website, so ask the retailer if you can. Low-priced jamón is a big red flag, as a Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota is simply not cheap. Stay clear of anything with a significantly different price when you buy Jamón Ibérico Pata Negra.

How much does it cost to ship the Jamón Ibérico?

You may see a tasty Jamón Ibérico at a reasonable price. But remember that these delicacies are considerably heavy and shipping isn’t cheap. At Ibérico Club you get free shipping on every single one of our orders, no minimum order requiered. The price you see is the price you get.

What is the return policy? Does it have a full guarantee?

Make sure you read the return policy. What happens if they send you an over-cured jamón? What if you don’t like the jamón or it arrives damaged? At Ibérico Club we offer a 100% money-back guarantee with full returns, even if the product is opened. In other words, if you open your jamón, carve off some slices, and decide it’s not for you, we’ll send you a pre-paid shipping label and refund 100% of your purchase right away. No questions asked. That’s how much we believe in our product.

What does the customer say?

It’s important to read the customer reviews. Find out what other people are saying! When people are over-the-moon satisfied, they talk! And when customers are disappointed, they let you know.

You may not find the answers to all of these questions online. When in doubt, find a buyer you can communicate with. Talk to the experts and see if they can clear the air. They’re sure to be impressed with your new knowledge and will give you all the information you need to make the best purchase decision.

Want your questions answered now? Check out the live chat on the bottom lefthand corner of the Ibérico Club page and feel confident buying your next Jamón 100% ibérico de Bellota.

About the Author
Megan Lloyd
Chef and Food Writer

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PRODUCTS INCLUDED IN THIS POST

  • 2.5 oz package of Hand Carved Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota "Pata Negra"
  • Whole Paleta Ibérica de Bellota (100% purebred) + Carving Kit "Best in the USA"
  • Whole Jamón 100% Ibérico de Bellota (16lb) + Carving Kit. "Best in the USA"

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