About ham and how to cut it
1st – CENTRAL PORTION (MAZA)
It is the juiciest part of the leg with the highest portion of fat marbling. The tastiest, juiciest and tenderest meat comes from this part of the leg.
2nd– REAR PORTION (CONTRAMAZA)
It is the finest and usually the most cured part of lamb ham.
3rd– HIP (PUNTA)
Very tasty part with the highest accumulation of fat.
4th– PORTION AROUND THE HIP BONE (BABILLA)
Inferior part. It is more cured than the central portion (maza) and there is also less quantity of ham in comparison.
5th– SHANK OR HOCK
The high part of the calf. The meat here is tougher and a bit more sinewy, thus offering a different variety of flavours. It can be used best to make small chunks of ham.
How to cut a ham?
1st– Place the meat on the ham stand. The sole purpose of this contraption is to make the experience of ham cutting as comfortable as possible.
2nd– Peel the ham. At this point of the cutting process, the fat around the ham, as well as the hard skin which was formed in drying and curing process, need to be removed. The first peeling cut needs to be done perpendicularly to the ham, followed by two tangential cuts at both sides.
3rd– If you intend to consume the product quickly, start at the central portion (MAZA). It is the juiciest part of the ham, with the highest portion of fat marbling. In case the consumption will be slow, place the ham on the stand on the reverse, exposing the portion around the hip bone (BABILLA), to prevent the parts that will be consumed last from drying excessively.
4th– It is of utmost importance to use a long-bladed ham knife. The blade for cutting should be narrow and flexible, while a knife with a shorter and a more rigid blade is recommended for peeling.
5th– The cuts should always be parallel to one another, each of them leaving a flat surface, with no cavities or grooves.
6th– Ham slices should be as thin as possible, and should span across the entire width of the ham. Their length should not exceed 6 or 7 cm. When starting the ham at the central portion, it is recommended that you serve slices not only from the central portion, but also from hip and shank. Only place one layer of slices on a plate at a time, although a slight overlap among them is allowed.
7th– Finally, clean the portions close to the bones. This part of the meat cannot be cut in slices, but rather in strips or irregularly-shaped pieces, and has excellent use for stews or casseroles. In much the same way, the bone can be used for soups, broths, stocks, boiled couscous, etc.