Ibérico de Bellota is the ultimate of its kind. Cured for over a year, this paleta (shoulder ham) comes from acorn-fed free range Ibérico pork, only found in Spain. The rich acorn diet and outdoor exercise marble the meat, for a succulent ham that melts in your mouth.
Ibérico de Bellota is the very finest ham in the world, and Cinco Jotas (5J) is known as the elite brand of Ibérico in Spain. In fact, the word Jabugo, the town made famous by 5J - Cinco Jotas, is now synonymous with top quality Ibérico ham.
5J - Cinco Jotas uses only 100% genetically pure bred Ibérico pigs that live their entire lives roaming the countryside of Spain. Other companies will cross breed Ibérico pigs with other breeds to increase the litter size and raw meat production. 5J - Cinco Jotas prefers to use only 100% pure Ibérico so they can ensure the finest quality.
The word 'bellota' literally means acorn, a key ingredient to the ultimate ham. If you see a paleta or jamón advertised as simply 'Ibérico', without the bellota designation, it is not free range and did not enjoy the sweet acorns of the 'dehesa' rangelands.
Paleta is the cured front shoulder ham. Because it is smaller, it cures much more quickly and has less time to age than a larger jamón (about a year, vs. two to four years for a ham). While the flavor is incredible, it is somewhat more challenging to carve than the jamón (back leg), and the zenith of flavor is a longer aged whole jamón.
The paletas come from an ancient breed of pig, Cerdo Ibérico, which has been roaming the woodland meadows of western Spain feeding on acorns for thousands of years. Each fall the breeders set aside a select group of juvenile pigs, allowing them to roam the dehesa woodlands for up to a year. There they feast upon acorns which are falling in abundance from the holm oak and cork trees. They gorge themselves, putting on at least two pounds of weight each day, until they are the picture of a happy fat pig!
The result is that the Paleta Ibérico de Bellota is marbled with rich golden fat full of the flavor of the Ibérico pigs' favorite food, 'bellota' acorns, along with wild herbs and grasses. Amazingly, a good portion of which is mono-unsaturated, similar to healthy olive oil. Sliced thinly, the meat glistens at room temperature and provides an unparalleled rich nutty flavor and tender texture.
Bone-in paletas weigh approximately 9-10 lbs.
Note - Hoof removed according to USDA guidelines.