How to start a ham


The Serrano ham It is one of the most popular delicacies in Spain and already spread throughout the world. Although we can buy it already cut in deli and supermarkets, it is always much tastier to cut it with knife directly from the cured leg. But for this, it is necessary to take into account some details to be able to carry out a good cut, as well as we should know how start the piece. In this article, we explain the steps to follow so that you know How to start a ham.

You will need to:
  • Ham
  • Ham holder
  • Big knife
  • Ham knife
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First, we must place the ham in a suitable support so that it is well held and we can cut it without problem. To do this, it is recommended to use a ham holder, specially designed for this purpose and that will allow us to fix the ham to the base, usually by means of a screw screwed into the cane.

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Also, we must know the parts of the ham to be able to place it correctly and know where to start the ham. In this way, we can differentiate:

  • The mace It is the thickest and juicy part of the ham, it is where you can cut wider and veined slices.
  • The batter It is the area opposite the club, narrower and usually more cured.
  • The babilla It is less juicy than the mace.
  • The tip it is the opposite part of the hoof of the pig and it is also very tasty
  • The cane and jarrete or also known as knuckle is a more lean, brown and healed muscle area.
Image: cortadoresdejamoniberico.com3

When placing the ham in the ham holder, we must put it with the hoof up so that the ham hammer is facing us, the counterweed down, the knuckle will be fixed by the support under the hoof, and the tip is the final part of the ham on the other side of the hoof.


At this point, it will be time to start the ham and for this you will need a large knife to outline the cane surrounding it with the edge. You should mark a cut perpendicular to the leg about 2 centimeters below the protruding bone.


Then, make a deep cut to the bone and cut a wedge-shaped portion, about two fingers below the line already marked diagonally.


The next step, once the ham starts, will be peel the ham to remove the skin and outer fat that cover it. It is not recommended to peel it whole, but to peel as it is consumed. So you should clean bark and yellow fat the part you plan to cut and eat.


To start slicing ham slices, you will need another thinner knife: a ham knife. Make sure it is well sharpened so that the cut is uniform and without grooves; You can see here how to sharpen a knife.

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It will try to start cutting thin slices by parallel cuts and in the opposite direction to the hoof.


It will be necessary to advance the cut always with the firm pulse and the well-held ham knife; in the same way, you should never cut in the direction of the body itself To avoid unnecessary accidents.


The hams should be taken full advantage to get all the possible performance; the parts that are more difficult to cut can be made into tacos, and once finished, the bones can be used to make broth or many other dishes.

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  • Use sharp knives to make the cut uniform.
  • Make the most of the ham