The Preparation Process

How to make the best acorn-fed Iberian ham

At the end of the montanera, the artisanal and natural production of DON IBÉRICO hams begins. Each piece will be individually identified to guarantee traceability from its origin.


The hams are rigorously classified one by one based on their weight for their subsequent salting process, which allows the stabilization of the enzymes and the perfect conservation of the piece. The hams are stacked and covered with salt. This is a fundamental stage for the development of such a characteristic color and aroma.


The hams spend the winter in natural drying rooms, equipped with windows through which a beam of light penetrates, never intense, rather in semi-darkness, which has an adjustable opening (they open and close daily), which allows controlling the ventilation and with it optimal humidity and temperature conditions. During these months, the soft and cold winds from the mountains help the pieces achieve the perfect balance with an optimal level of maturation.


Winter leaves and spring arrives, at which time the pieces progressively acclimatize to the change in temperature that summer will bring. This is a key stage for the development of the properties that characterize a DON IBÉRICO ham.

Coinciding with the high temperatures, the gradual dehydration of the pieces occurs - a process known as sweating of the ham - which is what favors a uniform distribution of fats in the muscle tissue. In these months, Don Ibérico ham begins to acquire its characteristic and unique flavor and aroma.


Once the pieces have been classified based on weight and fat conformation, the hams are transferred to the cellars, where they will continue to mature and remain for the necessary time depending on the weight of each piece, although never less than 24 months. .

In deep, silent cellars, with little light, humidity (between 60 and 80%) and temperature (between 10 and 14º) are kept constant.

At the end of this stage, a rigorous selection is carried out, "the draft", a technique by which three incisions are made, one in the joints of the ham with a bone “cala” (very fine and sharp needle) through which the the sensory characteristics of ham. When extracting the cala from a Don Ibérico ham, it gives off a pleasant and fragrant, intense and penetrating aroma.

This long, absolutely natural process, in which no procedure not consecrated by tradition and practice is involved, means that 36 months must pass before being able to taste a Don Ibérico ham.