In their article “A Spanish delicacy Grazes in Texas,” Bloomberg explains the efforts of one company, Acornseekers, whose owners are devoted to raising acorn-fed ibérico ham in the Unites States. Formerly an import-only product, the demand for jamón ibérico has gone up, driven by a realization of the incredible quality of the meat.
“Katie Button, the chef and co-owner of Spanish restaurant Cúrate in Asheville, N.C., describes both fresh and cured Ibérico as ‘amazing.’ She’s worked in the kitchens of Spanish star chefs Ferran Adrià and José Andrés. ‘Even people who don’t eat pork tell me they had to try it, and it absolutely blows their minds,’ she says.”
“Ibérico meat, both fresh and cured, is in demand among influential U.S. chefs, who praise its rich taste and texture and say it’s notably different from the lean factory-farmed American breeds. Consumption of cured ham in the U.S. is at ‘historic highs’ today, according to a 2015 report from ICEX, the Spanish government’s export agency, which estimates the wholesale value of cured ham sold in the U.S. was about $200 million in 2014.”
A Spanish official quoted in the article said that acorn-producing oaks are dying in Spain, so there is less of the meat being produced, not enough to keep up with demand. This leads to even higher prices of the meat. By recreating the process in the United States, which Acornseekers owners equate to planting old-world grape vines in new locations, the jamón can reach a wider audience. Though the process is much more involved than typical pork, the quality is worth the effort.
Make a reservation at Cúrate to try Spanish jamón ibérico, and taste the difference!