How To Cut Jamon Serrano

How To Cut Jamon Serrano? Learning To Do Thin Slices Safely

Have you always wanted to buy a whole Jamon Serrano ham and slice it yourself? This way, you can get to taste the different parts of this Spanish delicacy.

However, because you don’t know how to cut Jamon Serrano, you have no choice but just to enjoy machine-cut ham?

Well, carving a serrano ham is actually not as difficult as you might think. The important thing is learning the art of cutting thin slices and knowing which tools to use.

This is because you can’t just use any kitchen knife. You need a blade specially designed for cutting this type of meat to help you make precise cuts.

Having said that, below is a guide to carve Serrano ham and tips to help you sharpen your cutting skills.

Tools Needed To Cut Jamon Serrano At Home

Before you can start cutting your Jamon Serrano, you will need the right tools to make precise cuts. These include:

Ham holder or stand

Ham holder

One of the essential tools you need is a stand. This tool enables you to secure your Jamon Serrano for the ease of cutting thin slices safely. The ham stand comprises thick wooden planks and a ham-shaped leg screw head for clamping the ham.

Jamon knife

Jamon knife

Also referred to as a ham knife, this type of knife is specially made for cutting Jamon. It is about 11 inches long with a narrow and sharp hardened stainless-steel blade.

This allows you to make precise slices effortlessly. In addition, the blade is designed to be flexible. As such, it can easily conform to every part of your Jamon serrano.

Carving knife

Carving knife

Besides the ham knife, you will also need extra knives. One is a carving knife, which features a narrow, short, and robust blade. This knife will help you easily cut areas of your serrano that the Jamon knife cannot cut. For example, areas around the bone.

Boning knife

Boning knife

Although not necessary, you can also get a boning knife with a short, stiff but wide blade. This will help you slice the outer fat layer of your serrano. But if you don’t have one, you could always use your Jamon knife for this task.

Knife sharpener

Knife sharpener

Before opening your Jamon Serrano, you must ensure your knives are sharp enough. Working with a blunt blade could be more dangerous than cutting with a sharp blade.

Make sure you have sharpened steel. This will help you hone your knives easily and quickly.

How To Cut Jamon Serrano? 7 Easy Steps to Follow

Cut Jamon Serrano using a knife

Just because you have the proper tools does not mean you can cut a raw serrano ham at home. You must learn the right techniques for making thin and straight cuts.

So, below is a step-by-step guide on how to cut your Jamon serrano.

Step 1: Secure your serrano ham

Get your ham stand and lay it on a flat and stable surface. Then, fit your serrano on the ham stand and fasten it tightly on both ends.

When securing the ham, you should place the thicker and rounder part facing upwards. In other words, the ham’s hoof should face downwards.

Step 2: Peel off the outer skin

Once you have secured the ham, the next step is to remove the yellow fat from your serrano. You can use a boning knife for the best results. But if you don’t have one, simply use your Jamon knife.

To remove the skin, start by making a vertical cut around the shank area of your serrano ham. Then, slowly trim off the fat. If you plan to eat the ham within a short time, you can peel off the entire skin.

However, if you’re going to consume longer, you should only remove the skin on the part you intend to cut underneath. But most importantly, don’t throw away the fatty skin layers. That’s what you will use to protect the remaining ham during storage.

Step 3: Start slicing

Using your Jamon knife, cut thin and even slices from the thickest part of the ham called maza. You must make the cuts in a straight line and not curved if you want to achieve flat slices. The cut surface should also be flat.

For perfect slicing, your knife should slice through the entire width of your serrano from the hip to the hoof. If you aren’t consuming the ham all at once, cut until you have your desired amount.

Step 4: Store the remaining ham

This step only applies if you will not be slicing your entire Jamon Serrano at a go. To ensure the ham does not dry up, cover the sliced part with the fatty skin layer you saved in step two. Most importantly, make sure no area of your raw serrano ham is exposed to the air.

Next, wrap the entire serrano in a muslin cloth or a clean dish towel. After that, preserve it in a cool and dry place that is well ventilated. Ideally, the place should be at room temperature.

Step 5: Cut the rest of the Jamon Serrano

Once you have cut a few slices from the central part, shank, and tip, you will encounter the hip bone. Here, simply cut around the hipbone to detach as much meat as possible from it.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to carve serrano ham near the bone area. So, in this case, you can use your carving knife to cut small chunks. This will help expose the bone. As for the chunks, you could use them to enrich your stews or soups.

Step 6: Turn over the ham

When there is no more meat to cut on the maza, simply unclamp your serrano and turn it over. The hoof will now be facing downwards. Next, slice the outer fat before you start cutting the meat. After that, cut your thin slices, making sure your cuts remain parallel.

And once you have sliced all the meat, turn your ham sideways. This will help you easily cut the rest of the meat at an angle. Make sure to slice as much meat as you can until you reach the bone.

Step 7: Cut the meat between the bones

After getting the maximum out of your Jamon’s hind leg cut, there will still be more meat left between the bones. Simply grab your carving knife and cut the meat into large cubes, and use it for preparing tapas. As for the bone, you could use it to make broths.

Extra Tips For Cutting & Storing Jamon Serrano

If you want to get the most out of your Jamon Serrano, you need to know the procedure to make perfect cuts. More importantly, you must store it properly. So, here are tips to help you.

Tip#1: Always slice the Jamon into super thin slices around 2 to 3-inches in length. The thinner the cuts, the more flavorful and succulent your treats will be.

Tip#2: In case you store the leftover slices in the refrigerator, you should not serve them immediately. You must leave them to acclimatize for a couple of hours.

Tip#3: The process of slicing the hind leg cut of a Jamon Serrano is the same as that of slicing a shoulder cut.

Tip#4: You should always start cutting your serrano ham at the narrower section called the flank. This only is if you don’t plan to consume your serrano ham for less than two weeks.

Tip#5: If consuming the ham in less than 15 days, you can start cutting from the thicker area called the cushion/maza.

Tip#6: For your safety, always make sure to slice the ham away from the hand holding it.

Tip#7: If you notice traces of mold on the surface of your serrano, just scrub or wipe it off. You won’t need to discard the remaining meat.

People Also Asked

Does Jamon Serrano Need To Be Refrigerated Before Cut?

The simple answer is no. Although there is no harm, you don’t need to refrigerate your Jamon serrano before and even after the cut.

You see, when you buy your raw serrano ham, it comes sealed in a rind and wax paper. Consequently, this helps ensure it is not exposed to air, which could make it go bad quickly. So, before cutting it, you can store it as it is for a year or more at cool room temperature.

How Long Does Jamon Serrano Last?

Once you open and cut your Jamon serrano, it can last anywhere between 2 and 3 months. However, you must cover the exposed hind leg cut with its former layers of skin to keep it fresh. You could also cover it using a piece of cloth or dishtowel to ensure it does not dry out.

However, if you cut more slices than you need and have leftovers, these can only last for 2 to 3 days. The important thing is you wrap the sliced pieces tightly with cling film and store them in the fridge.

Hand-cut or Machine-cut Jamon Serrano?

Well, if you are like most people, you probably prefer machine-cut serrano as it is easier to consume. But according to experts, hand-cut ham is better than one cut using a Jamon slicer machine. Do you know why?

Well, you see, during machine cutting, friction is generated. This usually ends up heating the cutting surface and your serrano.

As a result, it tends to alter the taste of the ham, making it hard to tell the difference between each part. Fortunately, hand-cutting your ham helps retain its original taste.


Having the right Jamon knife and stand is not enough. If you want to enjoy your Jamon Serrano to the maximum, you must learn the technique of making a perfect vertical cut.

This includes learning to peel off the outer skin and making straight cuts. More importantly, you must know how to cut the meat around the bone areas and what knife to use.

And if you don’t plan to prepare the entire ham, knowing how to store it is essential properly. After all, exposing it to the air could cause it to dry out and lose its original flavor.

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