Every day we find in any supermarket offers of Duroc ham as an alternative to Serrano ham or Iberian ham, but what is Duroc ham? How is Duroc ham different from Serrano ham? Is Duroc ham Iberian ham?
These and other questions we will try to solve here.
Why the Duroc breed?
The correct denomination of the Duroc breed is Duroc-Jersey because it is a new breed resulting from a cross of two breeds specially developed in North America; the Old Duroc and Red Jersey breed. The development of a new pig breed is always carried out in the search for benefits for the producer and for the consumer.
What characteristics does the Duroc pig have?
These are animals with easy adaptation to the environment, greater resistance to diseases, high reproductivity, fast growth and high conversion of food consumed into meat. From this perspective, the farmer has obtained a very profitable animal.
These conditions have allowed the Duroc breed to spread rapidly throughout the world and is now very popular not only in the USA, but also in Europe and some areas of Africa and Asia. The DUROC pig arrives in Spain at the beginning of the 70s of the last century.
The Duroc pig is an animal with reddish fur and medium size. Its head is small compared to the size of its trunk. Pointed and drooping ears.
In addition, his hoof may be black. But let's not confuse, it will never be a pata negra pig, a term reserved exclusively for the 100% Iberian pig fed with acorns.
What does a Duroc ham look like?
For the consumer, Duroc ham contains a greater fat infiltration which makes a juicier Serrano Duroc ham. In addition, slaughter at an early age guarantees tender Duroc meat.
What is the difference between a Serrano ham and a Duroc ham?
The term Serrano ham corresponds to a TSG - Traditional Speciality Guaranteed that establishes a quality regime to be met in the elaboration of a ham. Conditions of production and use of traditional recipes that are used to be called Serrano ham, without attending to conditions of origin.
Currently, the development of an I.G.P. for Serrano ham is being studied.
Only producers who comply with the conditions of production and recipes, certified by an independent control body, may use the name Jamón Serrano and the Community symbol that differentiates it. All Serrano ham must have a minimum of 7 months of curing.
A ham that does not comply with the specifications of the Serrano Ham TSG must be called Cured Ham.
Within the category of Cured Ham and attending to the curing of the piece we can talk about:
- Jamón Cava or Jamón bodega with 9 months of curing Jamón Añejo or Jamón Reserva with a minimum of 9 months of curing The Gran Reserva ham with more than 15 months of curing, reaching in some cases 24 months of curing
- Serrano ham can come from breeds; Landrace, Large White, Pietrain. These are breeds with pinker skin, shorter and thicker legs. In addition, these breeds, due to their genetic development, accumulate less subcutaneous fat and infiltrate less intramuscular fat. Leaner meats but less tasty.
- Serrano ham is also obtained from Duroc hams that would differ from the previous ones in that greater amount of fat infiltrated in their meats.
Therefore, the term Duroc ham is giving us clues about the breed of the piece we buy. So a Serrano ham can be a Duroc ham, but not all Serrano hams will be Duroc hams.
As a curiosity, the MAPA - Spanish Ministry of Agriculture annually awards the prize for the best Serrano ham in Spain. In 2019 this award went to a Duroc Gran Reserva ham from Trevélez. The highest quality cured ham on the market.
What is the relationship between Duroc ham and Iberian ham?
For decades, Iberian pig farmers have been looking for an improvement in the profitability of their farms. In addition, the increase in demand for Iberian meat and Iberian ham made it necessary to increase the productivity of the Iberian pig breed to serve an expanding market.
To achieve this objective and after testing different alternatives, the Duroc-Jersey pig was selected as the best option and this appears in RD 4/2014 of the Iberian standard that establishes the Duroc-Jersey breed as the only compatible one for the realization of crosses with Iberian mothers.
Therefore, 100% Duroc males are crossed with 100% Iberian mothers to obtain 50% Iberian pigs from which we will obtain 50% Iberian hams.
If the boar is 50% Duroc and 50% Iberian, the animals that will be obtained are 75% Iberian breed and thus their shoulders and hams will be 75% Iberian breed.
Why Duroc ham?
As we have said, Duroc ham achieves a fatty infiltration that does not occur in other white layer ham. We have already learned that in Duroc Ham we get a meat with greater intensity of flavor.
It is also a ham low in sodium, rich in vitamins, zinc, phosphorus and logically an important source of protein and potassium. By eating duroc ham we are strengthening our bones and immune system.
If we want to buy a Duroc ham with a reinforced quality we recommend you buy an IGP Trevélez de Juviles ham that only uses the Duroc ham to obtain these recognized quality mark of the Alpujarra of Granada.
If we are looking for a Duroc ham without nitrites or nitrates, you should know that all Trevélez ham is made without these preservatives. It is a good option for the gift of a healthy, quality ham at a good price.
Where to buy Duroc Ham online at the best price?
In ibericomio we have a great selection of Duroc hams from different producers and even Duroc ham from Trevélez.
The opinions of our customers of Duroc ham will help you choose the best producer.