for USA TODAY
but when you order jamón you’re not just ordering an average piece of cured pork.
Made from Iberian pigs, this is the most expensive jamón. These free-range pigs eat bellota, Spanish acorns that make the meat creamy and soft, and gives it a nutty flavor.
This meat comes from the front legs of the pig. Its flavor is more intense than typical jamón due to the bones and muscles being thinner, which allows it to be cured for less time.
This is mostly made into loin sausage that is marinated with salt, paprika and garlic. It’s a lean cut with good marbling, and is often encased in a natural skin.
Cut from the shoulder of the pig, this meat is juicer than other pieces due to its high fat content.
Jamón ibérico is the most famous cut of meat in Barcelona, but chorizo is probably the most popular. Because it’s a sausage, it’s one of the cheapest you can get.
Morcón chorizo is made from the large intestine, making it thicker than regular sausage. You’re more likely to find this kind of meat with other Catalan dishes, such as paella.
This consists of leaner pork and pieces of back fat. It’s similar to traditional salami, so it’s a little firm, a little greasy and a little herby in taste.