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Dec 24, 2006 05:48 PM

HELP! Storing Whole Jamon Serrano

OK. My mother outdid herself this year and now I have a 22 pound ham. I am not complaining but wonder what is the best way to store it. I hefted it into the fridge for now but this is obviously not ideal as its the size of a toddler.

I have a basement, I live in Oakland CA. Suggestions?


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  1. If it is a full-sized bone-in ham--which from the size of it, it must be--you don't want to refrigerate it. Keep it out in a relatively dry place and it will be fine for months. Ideally, you should suspend it from the ceiling from the hoof or get a jamonera (a device for holding the ham) or rig up something to keep it suspended by the bone, so that it has air circulating all around it. Once you cut into it, you'll want to keep the cut area covered with a cloth, the outside layer of fat, and/or saran wrap.

    Tis the season... Here in Madrid you can't walk down the street at this time of year without seeing people carrying hams home to give as regalos...

    7 Replies
    1. re: butterfly

      THANKS! I sort of assumed that but didn't want to ruin my beautiful ham baby!

      1. re: mmerino

        If you decide to hang, just make sure you anchor that fat baby into a joist...


      2. re: butterfly

        My holder is too small!

        Now that I have taked him out of the fridge, where do you start cutting? The last one I had was significanly small and a bit of a diff. shape...

        1. re: mmerino

          Everyone has their own style, but here's how I would do it:

          Cut first from the part of the jamón that is on the same side as the top/front of the hoof. This part has less fat protecting it, so it tends to dry out faster (though the other side--la maza--is more highly prized). Some people go straight to the good stuff, the maza principal, especially if they know that they are going to eat the ham relatively quickly.

          When you make the first cut, try to cut off the exterior layer of fat in such a way that you can use it as a flap to cover up the subsequent cuts. This will keep the ham from drying out too much. You can then put a clean dish towel on top of this to protect it further. Make sure you have a long thin, sharp, flexible knife.

          Yes, 22 pounds is a big ham! The one that I am getting this year for my SO for three kings will probably be around 8 kilos.

          1. re: butterfly

            Thanks for all your help on Xmas! This is going to sound weird _but_ would that be exposed thigh bone toward you? This guy doesnt have a hoof, it looks like a knuckle...(!) I did manage to get it into the holder-yay!

            1. re: mmerino

              Ah, yes, it would be the front of his thigh. I found a photo:


              If you look at the second photo, he has the ham with the maza facing up (sorry, no idea what this is called in English--it is labeled (a) in the photo). I would start it the other way--with the maza facing down and with (b), the babilla, facing up. And then start cutting from there.

              It all really depends on how fast you are going to consume it and whether you want to eat the best part first and risk having the rest of it get dried out. In any case, if a part gets really dry, you can still use it to cook with, just cut it up in to cubes.

              P.S. The photos at the link above are showing someone cutting up a ham all at once (you would need to invite at least 100 people over to do this with your big baby!) If you look at the last photo on the page, it shows how you can cut the fat to make a flap to cover the cut.

              1. re: butterfly

                Thanks so much butterfly! You are the best. I hope all your xmas wishes come true.

      3. I live four to five hours south of you. My apartment would be IDEAL for storing a whole ham!

        I mean, really, I could store the heck out of it!

        Store it!

        Store it!


        1. Amazing thread. I love Chowhound.