What makes Iberico Ham and Iberico Ham Shoulder different?

Jamon Iberico 'Iberico Ham'

The Jamon Iberico is the back leg of the pig and is larger than the 'Paleta Iberica' (Iberico Shoulder). As the ham is larger, it changes the distribution and quality of the meat- compared to the Iberico Ham shoulder, the ham has a less intermuscular fat content.


Taste and Texture

Iberico Ham 'Jamon Iberico' due to its size, has a longer curing process. This matures the meat more and give the Jamon a more intricate and nuanced flavour which is famously subtle for. The Iberico Ham has a deeper, richer sensation as the flavours in the meat have had time to mellow and intermingle, while the 'younger' shoulder is rich and intense on the palate. Many prefer this delicate meat and appreciate its complexity.


Looking at the meat, the Iberico Ham is darker. Compared to the Paleta Iberica, the Iberico Ham is less boney and has a higher yield of meat. Due to the long creation process, the Jamon is the more expensive of the two.


Paleta Iberica 'Iberico Ham Shoulder'

 The shoulder is the front leg of the pig which is shorter and lighter than the Jamon. This means the shoulder is smaller and there is a difference in the distribution of fat and meat. The shoulder is recognisable by the distinctively shaped shoulder blade, or palette (known as Paletilla in Spanish)  which gives the shoulder its name: Paleta Iberica.

Taste and Texture

Many experts agree that the Paleta Iberica (Iberico Ham Shoulder) is the tastier of the two types of meat mainly due to the intermuscular fat content. This is due to the fact that the shoulder is a 'younger' meat meaning it has a shorter curing time. The taste and texture are described as intense and rich, compared to the Jamon Iberico. The Paleta Iberica is also noted to have a less matured, intricate and nuanced flavour than the Iberico Ham.


Looking at the Paleta Iberica compared to the Jamon Iberico the meat has a much lighter appearance. They are also bonier too due to the shoulder blade- this means there is a smaller quantity of meat product overall. The shoulder is also the less expensive of the two.


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