How To Slice Iberico Ham!

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So, you have just purchased yourself a beautiful Iberico ham leg and you want to impress your family or guests by opening and slicing the Jamon yourself. If you have landed on this blog post, then I imagine that this is your first time and you are looking into how to slice your Iberico Ham.

The very best way to share and eat Jamon is when it is finely hand-sliced with a perfect ratio of lean meat to fat. The delicate slices are ideal for a mouthful of wonderful flavours and can be stacked up on a plate ready for your guests to feast. For some reason, the hand-sliced Jamon experience is second to none; even compared to tacos. If you bought a whole Jamon’s worth of Hand-sliced ham it will cost significantly more than a whole leg itself due to the labour involved. It will be a much more cost-effective to buy a leg and learn how to slice the whole Iberico ham yourself!

What you need to start Slicing

sliced jamon on a plate

How To Open A Jamon Leg – Trimming

The first thing to be aware of is that the ham leg or shoulder has a high yield of fat – you may actually be surprised how much fat you need to cut away before you get to the good stuff. Don’t worry though, you haven’t been scammed, this fat is essential for the flavour. Opening the Jamon leg may seem daunting but take it slow and you will be fine.

There are three parts of the ham you should be aware of: the Babilla which is the long straight side of the ham (when the hoof sole is pointing down), the shorter side is called the Maza and the end of the ham is called the Punta. Unless you plan to slice everything at once, it is best to start by opening the Babilla first.

First, place the Jamon in the holder so that it has a firm grounding and ensure that the knife is sharp. You should stand to the side of the Jamon and start by slicing the shank (just before the ankle) directly down to the bone.

Then remove the top layer of skin and fat with a shallow horizontal slice that starting halfway across the jamon and cuts back to the first slice, then slice the other half of the fat and skin in the opposite direction from the first cut. You should start to see the pink meat shine through. Continue to remove the skin and fat from the sides until only a small amount of fat on either side. You should also only cut away the fat from the places that you are going to be slicing from – you don’t want to cut too much or the meat may go off without its fatty protection.

This process of opening the Jamon should have removed most of the top layer of fat (on the Babilla and topsides) to leave a flat surface where you will be slicing the Jamon.

iberico jamon - jamon iberico - iberico ham
Red meat on show, fat cutaway and a nice flat cutting surface. This is what you should try to recreate.

Slicing the Jamon

This is the delicate part and requires a slightly bendy knife that is designed specifically to cut Jamon. The blade is very sharp and thin so that you can ensure the slices are so delicate that they melt in your mouth!

First, hold the end of the ham that is furthest away from the Hoof and places the knife gently on the other end. With a ‘back and forward/ sawing motion’, lower the knife into the meat and move towards your hand- ensure that the knife is flat on the Jamon and that you do not press the side of the knife too hard against the meat or else you may cut too deeply. You will start to see the thin slice form on the knife and pull away from the leg. Once the slice is roughly twice the width of the flat knife, pull the edge back up to finish. Place this perfect slice onto a plate and repeat!

Ensure that you slice the Jamon slowly and make sure there is a good amount of fat on the slice, as this is where you will find most of the flavour!

It may take some time for you to perfect, but once you do, you will never look back! This process only becomes more complex, the closer you get to the bone. Once you get to the bone, turn your knife to run parallel with bone. Using the same sawing motion, cut into the fat towards the bone to pull away from another perfect slice.

If you get stuck at any point, there are hundreds of tutorials on Youtube to check out.

Once you are finished slicing, it is best to cover the Jamon with some clingfilm and store in a cool dry place. For more information about how to store your Jamon, click the link.


Now that you know how to slice Iberico Ham you will be showing off at every opportunity. When you are done slicing you will be left with the bone, which itself has many uses. You can make a nice stock, soup or even give the bones to your dog!