1 What utensils do I need to cut the ham by hand?
A quality "jamonero" (ham stand) to fasten down the ham well.
A kitchen knife well sharpened.
A ham knife well sharpened for slicing.
2 How do I secure the ham in the "jamonero" (ham stand)?
1 If you will consume the ham quickly (2 or 3 days) then secure the jamonero with the hoof facing upwards. In this way you will begin to cut the "maza" which is the fullest and juiciest part.
2 If you will consume the ham in longer than 3 days then secure the ham with the hoof facing downwards. In this way yu will begin with the less juicy part that is the "contramaza" and thus prevent excessive drying.
3 How do I prepare the ham to do the slicing?
The first thing you have to do is skin it. With the kitchen knife you have to remove all the fat until you reach the meat. To save the aged flavours, it is convenient that you remove a kind of skin which is slighty blackened and is the part of the ham which has less fat. If you will be slow in consuming it then it is better that you remove the skin for only the parts you will eat so as to not over dry the ham.
4 How do I slice it?
The most important thing is that you use a well sharpened ham knife and that the hands are positioned correctly to avoid cutting them. Tha hand that secures the ham should always be behind the hand which has the knife. The slices are always cut from the hoof to the "punta" trying to leave the surface as flat as possible (without rungs). Try to cut the slices as fine as possible so they are almost transparent and do not cut them to be very long. It is very difficult to cut the slices finely and evenly.
5 What do I do when I arrive at the bone?
When you begin to near the bone, take hold of the kitchen knife again and do a cut around the bone so you can continue cutting slices as evenly as possible. When it is no longer possible to continue then dry the meat attached to the bone and cut it in pieces. This part is also delicious. Besides using it as an appetizer, you can use it to cook croquettes, rices, artichokes...
6 I have arrived at the moment to turn the ham around.
When you have arrived at this point then turn the ham and repeat the process.
7 Can I take advantage of the bone?
The bone, also called the "codillo", can be used to do delicious stocks and soups. This bone is difficult to cut at home. Take it to your trusted butcher so they can cut it in pieces. The pieces that you will not inmediately use can be frozen. Perfectly maintaining all its flavour.
Always sample the ham at room temperate and freshly cut. In this way it is more delicious. Also the presentation is important. Our recommendation is that you place the slices more or less adjacent but never on top of each other. And if you want a spectacular plate then decorate it with some opened figs, and dried peaches or apricots.
9 Conserving the piece.
The hams do not need conditions which are overly special for the conservation of the ham. Only we recommend that you remove all the pieces and then place it in an area fresh and dry, always secured in the "jamonero" (ham stand) so it breathes. Never rested on a side.