MEAT: Jamón Ibérico de bellota
SOURCE: Black-Footed Pig (Spain)
COST: $95 lb
What’s Up: There are three types of Jamón Ibérico and they all come from a pig's leg. Meat-elites claim Jamón Ibérico de bellota is the best. Just as with us, the climate where the pigs live and the food they eat affect their flavor. The pigs that eventually turn into Jamón Ibérico de bellota only eat acorns (bellotas) for the last 3 months of their lives. It's worth noting that pigs actually like acorns, so it's not a foie-gras liver exploding force-feeding-tube scenario.
Where: Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria - NYC
Why: This is one of the most luxuriously cured meats in the world and when someone offers to treat you to some, you say YES and put it in your mouth!
How: The Jamón was thinly shaved into a pile on a white plate. We ate it plain-jane mostly or with a little piece of their tasty homemade bread. The more I ate the more I grasped the flavor-profile. Merely thinking of grisly-fat tissue makes me gag, but the fat marbled into this red meat actually melts in your mouth like butter.
My Reaction: My friend told me I would like it, and hot damn I did! Though I must be honest and admit I’d prefer a slice of salty country ham over this any day.
Final Thought: So the fanciest ham in the universe actually comes from “low on the hog?” Granny always said it was from high.