La Jamoteca Blog

Differences between Ham and the Hind Legs or Shoulder (Jamón y la Paleta)

Differences between Ham and the Hind Legs or Shoulder (Jamón y la Paleta)

Ham is the generic name of the product which comes from the hind leg of the pig, salted raw and cured naturally. This ham usually weighs around 13.2-21 lbs. with less bone proportion compared to the front legs.

The front legs of the pig, having an identical production process, is called the shoulder or the shoulder blade. The shoulder weighs between 7.7-13.2 lbs and the bone is what makes the shoulder more economical.

Ham and the shoulder differ from one another in size although the difference depends on the breed of pig. A Ham has a larger leg, measuring approximately between 70-90 cm, while the shoulder measures close to 60-75cm. The same happens with the width of the piece, which is wider in the case of the ham and narrower in the case of the shoulder.

Ham is considered the finest part of the pig. The sections of the pig that promote a contrast of delicate flavors. The meat of the shoulder is considered the most flavorful and slightly sweeter. It’s larger fat percentage and fast curing process gives it a flavor with not many contrasts but a lot of personality.