How to clean a shoulder for hand carving
Yes, I know, shoulders are cool and convenience for smaller families (2-3 members). Often i’m asked about the cleaning process to prepare the shoulder for hand carving. Let me explain how carry out the cleaning process and hand carving preparation in order to get as much product as posible.
First of all, i guess you know the differences between a ham and a shoulder. Here some of them:
Shoulders are the front legs of the pig and they are much more smaller than ham. Shoulder weight are between 9lb and 12lb (some cases
Hams are the back legs and weights are between 16lb and 18lb (some cases bigger). They have a minimum time of curation that is 24 months when we talk about Iberico hams, no care about the iberico % (50%, 75% or 100%).bigger). They have a minimum time of curation that is 12 months when we talk about Iberico Shoulders, no care about the iberico % (50%, 75% or 100%).
Physiologically there are several differences between hams and shoulders:
First section of the shoulder
To begin we will look for a protuberance that is at the level of the wrist on the ulna bone or “caña” and we’ll make a cut downwards. We’ll continue by removing the leather carefully to do not remove more that needed. After that we’ll remove the thin greasy layer of fat that covers the ham.
As always, we’ll remove the yellowish part of the fat until we see the white or pink layer of fat. As you know, the yellowish fat layer is bitter so it’s very important removing it.
Once we have ready the thick part of the shoulder, rotate the shoulder to clean the inner face which is much more complicated.
Cleaning the inner face of the shoulder
We’ll complete the circular cut that we had made in the cane and then continue with our cleaning. As in the previous step, we’ll start with the leather layer. We’ll have to do it carefully so we don’t take part of the meat. We have to bear in mind that the shoulder has much less meat than a ham so it’d be better if we do it little by little and using the knife several times.
The inner part of the shoulder has different nooks and crannies due to the morphology of this piece, the bone of the scapula or “abanico”, makes it not so easy to clean this part if we compare it with the cleaning of the ham.
This area is quite hard, so we’ll eliminate the bitter parts, t
rying not to leave any untapped areas that can give us nuances that we do not want at the time of tasting.
When we reach the bone of the scapula as we always do when we find a bone, we can mark it with the short knife (puntilla) so it’ll be easier to separate the skin from the flesh.
We can leave the bone with skin to highlight or clean it completely.
We’ll clean the entire piece so it’ll be ready to cut.
Cleaning the exterior face of the shoulder
As in the other face, we need to complete the circular cut that we did when we began the cleaning and we remove the rest of the leather.
Once we removed the leather we need to cut the yellowish layer of fat. As before, remove the yellowish layer carefully to do not remove more that needed, so you need to see the white or pink layer of fat.
It is very important keep the white or pink layer of fat to fully enjoy the product.
And now, you’re ready to go! Carving time!!
Source: Jamon Lovers
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