What is Cecina de León? Spanish Beef Ham
There are different types of cecina or beef ham in different parts of the world, but none has the renown of Cecina de León.
Along with chorizo, Cecina de León is the most famous sausage from this province in northern Spain, bordering Galicia and Asturias.
In this article I tell you all about it: what is Cecina de León, how it is made and where to buy it.
What is Cecina de León?
Cecina de León is a meat product, made from beef, with PGI certification, and produced in the province of León in an artisanal and natural way by salting, curing and smoking the meat.
The result is a sausage with a very characteristic aroma, intense flavor, and at the same time smooth texture. Cecina de León is consumed in a very similar way to ham, cut into thin slices.
Cecina de León is usually marketed in whole pieces, cubes or vacuum-packed slices.
It is important to point out that other types of Cecinas are produced in León with horse, goat or deer meat, but these Cecinas cannot be called Cecina de León. This name is reserved by law exclusively for cecina made with meat from cows raised in areas of the province of León.
What cuts are used to make Cecina de León?
Cecina de León is made with meat from the hindquarters of cows at least five years old and weighing at least 400kg. There are 4 specific parts used to make Cecina de León: hip, stifle, topside and hindquarter.
How is Cecina de León made?
The production process of Cecina de León consists of 4 main steps:
1. Quartering and profiling: the master butchers prepare the rear part of the cow, separating the 4 main cuts and eliminating excess fat.
2. Salting and washing: the pieces are salted for three to four days, depending on the size of each one. After this period, the pieces are washed with warm water and left to rest at a controlled temperature for at least one month.
3. Smoking: the pieces are placed in chambers where they are smoked with oak or holm oak wood for 10-15 days.
4. Curing and drying: finally, the pieces are smeared with olive oil and cow's lard and left to cure. The pieces are cured for a minimum of 7 months and 12 months for the Cecinas Reserva.
Buy Cecina from Leon
You can buy authentic Cecina de Leon in Colono, already sliced and vacuum packed to be enjoyed in thin slices.