Cárnicas Joselito

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Cárnicas Joselito S.A. is the company name of this family business from Guijuelo (Salamanca, Spain) that manufactures Iberian, acorn-fed pork products. The company is better known on the market by its commercial names "Joselito" y "Jamón Joselito". In fact, in this article it is mostly these interchangeable names that are used to refer to the company. The article itself sets out to describe the company, which was founded in 1868, from every possible angle.

Jamón Joselito
FounderDon Vicente Gómez
Salchichón Vela
Presa ibérica
Secreto ibérico

Origins, history and philosophy of the company[edit]

Origins and history[edit]

The company's name, Joselito, is derived from a pseudonym used by grandfather José Gómez (a member of the third-generation of the family to form part of the company). The family has been preparing Iberian pork products since the company's inception. In the early days of Joselito, the ham was sold using very direct methods. And at that time it wasn't called Iberian ham – it was referred to instead as serrano ham, after the V-shaped cut that was applied to every leg. It was in 1868 that Vicente Gómez (first generation) began the family's ham-producing tradition. He chose Guijuelo on account of its favourable climate that allows the hams to age in a completely natural way. The area's temperatures in particular make it a suitable location for carrying out this ageing process. So, the preparation of Iberian ham became a way of life for the family.

Business philosophy and growth[edit]

At Jamón Joselito five generations of the same family have formed part of the company: Vicente Gómez (1st generation), Juan Gómez (2nd generation), Eugenio Gómez (3rd generation), José Gómez (3rd generation), Juan José Gómez (4th generation), José Gómez (5th generation) and Juan Luis Gómez (5th generation).

Cut of Iberian ham

Eugenio Gómez (2nd generation), an Iberian ham producer and owner of both a cold-meat factory and the officially authorised abattoir 795, also became a dealer in Iberian pigs, selling them to Guijuelo factory workers who mostly hailed from Extremadura and Andalusia.

It was José Gómez (3rd generation) who acquired the first dehesa (wooded grazing land) for rearing Iberian pigs, making use of the acorns that it produced. He also opened stores in Barcelona and Camas (Seville) in order to sell Iberian ham.

But it was Juan José Gómez (4th generation) who consolidated the business's financial and commercial bases by founding the company Cárnicas Joselito S.A. He was also responsible for starting Joselito's current herd of Iberian pigs. He acquired more dehesas for rearing Iberian pigs, again benefiting from the acorns these grazing lands produced.

Juan Luis Gómez (5th generation) manages Joselito's herd of Iberian pigs and heads the company's present-day R&D. He was committed to obtaining FSC certification, making Joselito the first agro-food company in the world to hold this distinction. As the person responsible for the reforestation of Joselito's dehesas, he continues to acquire more of them in order to rear Iberian pigs and make use of the acorns these pasture lands provide.

José Gómez (5th generation) manages the modern estate and oversees the manufacture of Joselito's produce. And in addition to the brand's creation and identity, he is responsible for internationalisation matters and the company's relations with the world of haute cuisine. He is also tasked with maintaining the brand's status as a luxury product, developing the Joselito Premium collections, developing Joselito Lab, managing the Joselito's chain of shops and developing new products. On top of all this, he also conceived the “Happy Pig” idea.

Joselito's corporate identity[edit]

Joselito's logo is a graphical representation of the snout of one of the pigs that the company calls Happy Pig. But the logo has not always been the same and has instead evolved over the years. This is a sign of Joselito's desire to be a brand that is in tune with the times, one that enjoys a very clearly defined corporate identity and whose design has, throughout the years, always sought to connect with its customers.

International expansion[edit]

Joselito's international expansion began in the '80s, in London (United Kingdom) to be precise, at a time when it was very difficult to export meat products. The first markets that Joselito accessed were in the area of the EU (including France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Portugal and Switzerland). It later entered Asian markets such as Japan and Hong Kong to which it has been exporting for many years now. It was difficult to get a commercial foothold in those countries as there was no culture of ham, or of pork produce in general. In 2015, Joselito began exporting its products to the United States.

Joselito's Happy Pig[edit]

Cerdo ibérico

This concept corresponds to the idea that Joselito's pigs are happy animals, since they live their lives with complete freedom and in their natural habitat: the dehesa (Mediterranean woodland). Joselito's pigs each have about 3 hectares of this woodland in which to roam around and exercise on a daily basis, and where they can cover up to 10 kilometres a day looking for the acorns and grass that constitute their staple diet. The company has its own herd of pigs of Iberian stock and manages the animals' complete life cycle. Various anatomical features characterise Joselito's Happy Pigs, including the following:

  • Long, slender limbs.
  • A high ribcage
  • A long, thin snout
  • Pointed ears that have a tendency to fold forwards and cover the eyes
  • Meat with a very high oleic acid content due to their diet and genetic make-up
  • A tendency for fat to penetrate their musculature

The dehesa[edit]

The dehesa is a complete ecosystem in which trees, pastures and vegetation form an association with animal life. This ecosystem is situated in the south-west of the Iberian Peninsula. Joselito's pigs live in this south-west region of the Iberian Peninsula, characterised by its high density of holm oaks and cork oaks.


But not all of the region's trees function in the same way with regard to fruit production, so the quantity and quality of the latter depend on both the annual weather and the number of hectares in which these trees are present. In the case of cork oaks, less fruit is produced in the year following a good harvest. In addition to this, cyclical harvests in which production may be very high occur every certain number of years, depending on the farming conditions. In contrast, holm oaks enjoy a more constant level of acorn production, although the flowering process may fail in the event of adverse weather conditions, and some years may see reduced yields. So, it is essential that the number of animals grazing in the dehesa is adjusted according to their density and the weather.

In the dehesa, the montanera (the final stage in the life-cycle of an Iberian pig) runs from the end of October until the end of November. The dehesa offers up the fruits of its trees at this time of year as the mature acorns fall to the ground and the pigs run freely about their surroundings, enjoying this autumnal foodstuff and the grasses that grow in the dehesa ecosystems.[1]

Joselito's pigs enjoy two montaneras. Over the course of the montanera, a Joselito pig will eat a daily average of 8 kg of acorns and 3 kg of fresh grass, reaching its optimum weight of 180–190 kg at the end of the two montaneras.

Obtaining the FSC certification[edit]

Joselito obtained the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification that accredits the company as showing respect for the environment throughout the production process of its Iberian acorn-fed ham, and especially with regard to its management of the dehesa.

Features of Joselito ham[edit]

Joselito hams are taken from the hind limb of the adult pig, level with the ischiopubic symphysis, and they are prepared using appropriate salting and natural curing processes. The thin legs contain a fat that has a soft, oily consistency and pinkish tones. The meat is marbled with numerous veins of shiny fat. All of the company's Iberian acorn-fed hams are cured for a minimum period of 36 months, while for some the curing process can last up to 120 months.[2] Joselito's hams are from different years, so each one will have a different tasting evaluation.

Nutritional value (100 g)
Energy value 355 kcal
Proteins 29.2 g
Carbohydrates <0.8 g
Fats 26.3 g
Fibre 0 g
Salt 3.7 g

Production process for Joselito ham[edit]

Joselito controls the complete production cycle, from the genetic make-up and diet of the Iberian pigs that it rears in the dehesa, to the salting process, and right up to the ageing and natural curing processes that take place in their cellars in Guijelo.

The dehesa[edit]

Joselito's pigs are reared in an area that provides a minimum of around 3 hectares per animal. This allows the pigs to exercise constantly while feeding naturally on the acorns produced by the holm oaks and cork trees that grow in this Mediterranean woodland – the dehesa. Joselito's pigs enjoy two montaneras. These animals do not develop their Iberian stock musculature from acorns alone – they also feed on the fresh grass, flowers and various pastures that are naturally present in the dehesa. During the montanera, a Joselito pig will eat an average of 8 kg of acorns and 3 kg of fresh grass every day until it reaches its ideal weight of 180–190 kg.


Long before a Joselito Iberian acorn-fed ham reaches a customer's plate, it must undergo a series of processes and phases. Once slaughtered, the pigs are quartered and divided into different parts according to their intended use, with the noble cuts of meat being selected and separated out. This is a traditional process whose link with the human factor is also a key component. Various cuts of meat are extracted from the Iberian pig, including the following: pluma (a feather-shaped, fatty cut, sometimes known as featherloin in English), presa (a small cut, taken from between the top of the shoulder and the loin), cabezada (the front part of the loin), sirloin, lagarto (a long, thin cut taken from between the loin and chops, sometimes known as lace back in English), abanico (called "fan" in Spanish, this is a tender, juicy cut taken from the top of the ribs), pork jowl, secreto (a highly marbled cut taken from a hidden part – hence its name – that lies behind the shoulder) and pork belly. The hams also undergo an initial selection and classification process that is based on an inspection of the outer part of each piece; an analysis of aspects such as the outline, size, weight and colour; and an analysis of samples taken from the inner part. The selected hams then proceed to the bleeding process.


This technique is based on extracting the blood from the ham by applying pressure with both thumbs. The bleeding process is carried out by placing the fingers in the direction in which the regional blood vessels of the ham will drain. This allows for the removal of any remaining blood that could provoke partial alterations in the ham or reduce its quality. In the past, this process was known as the sanguaza.

Trimming and refining[edit]

The ham pieces should be perfectly shaped, so once the bleeding and quartering stages have been completed, an initial shaping process is carried out in which the hams undergo what is known as trimming and refining. The purpose of this process is simply to provide each piece with the distinguishing shape for which they are known.

The fact that Iberian acorn-fed hams contain the foot means that the black hoof can be included and the V-shaped cut can be made on the skin, thereby providing the hams with their outward distinguishing feature. The apex of the V usually coincides with the centre point of the geometrical line that marks halfway on the ham, while it is the master ham-maker who is tasked with making this V-shaped cut. In addition to obtaining a specific outer shape, the final stage of this shaping process also involves an inspection that is carried out using a knife and the fingers. The aim is to remove any cracks, fissures or holes that could possibly allow an external agent, or any other substance, to enter the ham. It is a methodical process, performed entirely by hand.


The salting stage is one of the most important in the entire preparation process for Iberian acorn-fed ham. The aim of this technique is twofold: to introduce salt into the muscle mass of the hams, and to slowly dehydrate the hams themselves. The salting process lies in the extent to which the salt acts. This salting action depends on the amount of salt applied as well as the capacity of the meat to assimilate it and allow the process of osmosis to take place, that is to say, the introduction of salt and the removal of juices. Both sea salt and fossil salt can be used to carry out the salting process. There are several ways in which the salt can be applied: by rubbing both sides of the ham with coarse-grained salt, by using brine pumps in a mechanical process, or by placing the hams in stackable containers, etc. Prior to salting, the hams are sorted by weight into piles, and the juices of each ham seep out of the muscle. Once the salt has dissolved in these juices, it enters the inner part of the ham through the process of diffusion. The humidity is extracted naturally by the ham piece. The duration of the salting process varies depending on the weight of the ham.

Settling and post-salting[edit]

When the salting process is over, the hams are cleaned with water. The purpose of this operation is to clean the surface salt off, since an excess of the latter will prevent water from seeping out of the ham and will leave its outer part overly salty. Once cleaned, the pieces are left for a period of 24 to 48 hours before they are moved into the natural drying areas. The settling process takes place during the winter in Joselito's natural drying areas, located in Guijuelo. This stage lasts several weeks and its duration depends on various factors, environmental and otherwise, such as the weight of the hams, the temperature and the humidity level.


Following the settling process, the hams are hung in the natural drying areas using meat hooks and ropes – a very traditional method. It is here, with the coming of the spring and summer months, that the hams experience a slow and natural rise in temperature. This will increase from the 8 °C recorded at the end of the post-salting stage to around 20-22 °C. This process, which takes place during the spring and summer, benefits from the area's natural climate, with the latter providing a very slow rise in temperature and maintaining relatively low humidity levels. And it is in these same natural drying areas that the hams undergo a "sweating" process in which the fat filters into all of the muscle masses, impregnating them and producing a dripping effect from the area of the hoof to the broad end.

The bodega[edit]

When the autumn arrives, the hams that have been hanging individually in the natural drying areas are transferred to the natural bodegas where they are allowed to age. Located underground, Joselito's bodegas receive little light and this allows the humidity and the temperature to be maintained at constant levels. It is here that each ham will be left for a minimum of 36 months, with temperatures ranging from 12 °C to 16 °C and a relative humidity of between 40% and 60%. The hams are then sorted according to weight and hung individually – the first one with a hook and the rest by placing each leg on top. All of this is done manually. It is left to the master ham-makers to supervise the placing of each ham and to inspect its condition, thereby assuring themselves that the ageing process is being carried out correctly.

It is in the bodegas that all of the processes that distinguish and perfect our Iberian hams take place. It is a slow process, performed using traditional methods. The duration of the curing process depends on each ham, and essentially on its weight. At Joselito, all of our hams are cured for a minimum of 36 months, with products such as Jamón Joselito Vintage taking 120 months. Such products can only be prepared as part of a limited edition.

Cold meats[edit]

All Joselito cold meats are prepared from noble cuts, with the latter being used as ingredients in products such as loin, chorizo, salchichón and coppa, among others. These pieces are salted and seasoned in an entirely natural way, without the use of preservatives or artificial colours. The only other ingredients we use to make our pork fillet and chorizo are salt, paprika and garlic. And the salchichón is prepared using just salt and black pepper.

The cold meats are cured in natural drying areas for a minimum period of 6 months. This includes time spent in special bell-shaped wooden structures where a smoking process adds the finishing touch to our products. A traditional method is used to individually smoke each piece of cold meat until it reaches its prime.

Our pork fillet is distinguished by its smooth texture, our chorizo by its red colour and our salchichón by its characteristic hint of pepper.

Joselito's product range[edit]

The company's products also include the following:

  • Shoulder ham
Nutritional value (100g)
Energy value 396Kcal
Proteins 22,9g
Carbohydrates <0,8g
Fats 28g
Fibre 0g
Salt 4,2g
  • Pork fillet
Nutritional value (100g)
Energy value 317 kcal
Proteins 38,8g
Carbohydrates <1,2g
Fats 18g
Fibre 0g
Salt 3,5g
  • Presa
Nutritional value (100g)
Energy value 375kcal
Proteins 33,1g
Carbohydrates <0,8g
Fats 27g
Fibre 0g
Salt 3,3g
  • Coppa
Nutritional value (100g)
Energy value 446 kcal
Proteins 30,9g
Carbohydrates <0,8g
Fats 35,8g
Fibre 0g
Salt 4,1g
  • Chorizo
Nutritional value (100g)
Energy value 415kcal
Proteins 26g
Carbohydrates <1,2g
Fats 34,6g
Fibre 0g
Salt 3,8g
  • Salchichón
Nutritional value (100g)
Energy value 445kcal
Proteins 26,6g
Carbohydrates <1,2g
Fats 37,6g
Fibre alimentaria 0g
Salt 3,5g
  • Longaniza
Nutritional value (100g)
Energy value 423 kcal
Proteins 26g
Carbohydrates 1,2g
Fats 31,1g
Fibre alimentaria 0g
Sal 3,3g
  • Salchichón Vela
Nutritional value (100g)
Energy value 448 kcal
Proteins 26,6g
Carbohydrates <0,8g
Fats 37,9g
Fibre 0g
Salt 3,5g
  • Lard
Nutritional value (100g)
Energy value 814 kcal
Proteins 2g
Carbohydrates <0,8g
Fats 89,5g
Fibre 0g
Salt 1,8g
  • Pork belly
Nutritional value (100g)
Energy value 754 kcal
Proteins 7,3g
Carbohydrates <0,8g
Fats 80,5g
Fibre 0g
Salt 2,2g
  • Pork jowl
Nutritional value (100g)
Energy value 787kcal
Proteins 7g
Carbohydrates <0,8g
Fats 84,3g
Fibre 0g
Salt 2g

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Academia Espyearla de la Gastronomía (2007). El jamón ibérico en la gastronomía del siglo XXI. León: Publisher Everest SA. ISBN 978-84-241-8485-8.

Mayoral, P.; et al. (2003). Effect of ham protein susbtitution on oxidative stress in older adults. Francia: Serdi Publisher ; Springer Pub. Co. ISSN 1279-7707.

"Cerdo ibérico: así nace y se hace el mejor jamón del mundo".

"Por qué Joselito es el mejor jamón del mundo..."

"Joselito, la leyenda de la dehesa".

"Joselito nos enseña a cortar un jamón".


"Joselito, el patriarca del jamón ibérico". Archived from the original on 2015-09-25.

"Nace Joselito LAB, la 'enciclopedia' online del jamón".

"Joselito: lo mejor del ibérico". Archived from the original on 2015-09-25.

"Ferran y Joselito: exprimiendo el jamón ibérico". Archived from the original on 2015-09-25.

"Jamón ibérico a ritmo de añadas".

"Una gran visita por Guijuelo de la mano de Joselito, el rey indiscutible de los jamones".

"La empresa salmantina "Joselito" promueve "la cultura del jamón" en China".

"Colección Premium Joselito 2011, ahora con sello de calidad forestal".

"Ferrán Adrià conceptualiza el jamón ibérico desde Joselito Lab, el laboratorio de ideas más extravagante".

"JOSELITO (I). (Guijuelo. Salamanca)".

"In Spain, a Delicacy Rooted in Earth and Tradition".

"Joselito: Deemed the Best Ham in the World".

"Clase magistral sobre el jamón@Ciclo Gastronomía 360º".

"Manual de corte y conservación del jamón Joselito".

"Joselito. Guijuelo".

"Visita a las instalaciones de Joselito (Guijuelo). Vídeo".

"FSC España reconoce el compromiso de Cárnicas Joselito con la dehesa".

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Academia Espyearla de la Gastronomía (2007). El jamón ibérico en la gastronomía del siglo XXI. León: Publisher Everest SA. ISBN 978-84-241-8485-8.
  2. ^ Mayoral, P.; et al. (2003). Effect of ham protein susbtitution on oxidative stress in older adults. Francia: Serdi Publisher ; Springer Pub. Co. ISSN 1279-7707.