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Know Your Swine

A guide to Spanish charcutería.

From Beso

From Beso 


The glistening display of pork products that you’re feasting your eyes on can be found, and eaten, at Beso. Chef-owner Nick Ronan imports his meats exclusively from Spain because, he says, pigs raised in the United States “taste a lot, lot different. Spain has a culture and technique of growing and drying meat—the secrets vary from family to family. It’s incomparable, really.” Here, Ronan offers a primer on pigs. 

“This sausage is interesting because of its spices—it’s smoked and seasoned with nutmeg, oregano, and garlic. It has a very, very, very, very special taste.”

Chorizo Ibérico
“The chorizo comes from an Iberian pig that was acorn-fed and raised in the mountains. The flavor is nutty, a little spicy—it’s cured in pimentón.”

Jamón Serrano
“This ham comes from a Spanish company, Redondo Iglesias, that’s been around since 1920 and raises its animals primarily outside. The ham is aged 12 months and tastes like an Italian prosciutto.”

Ibérico Paleta
“The Rolls Royce of jamón—it’s acorn-fed pork shoulder that has cured for 24 months. Everything is raised and dried outdoors. It’s really incredible.”

“This is a dry pork sausage from central Catalonia. it’s a little spicy, very thin-cut, and very nice.”

Read more:
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Pintxos vs. Tapas: Cuál es la differencia?
Bomba Is the New Black: A taxonomy of rice and noodle dishes
Big Fish: Behold the ubiquitous salt cod
Sherry, Baby: It's not just your Grandma's dessert wine
Happy Ending: Churros to rock your world


Originally published in the March issue of San Francisco

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