Iberico pork tenderloins (Solomillo in Spanish) are the most tender cut on the entire animal, lean with a soft texture. They’re an easy to cook, convenient size and are commonly seared, then roasted until cooked through, and finally sliced into medallions before serving. They’re also delicious grilled.
While Campo Iberico pork is superb, Bellota Iberico pork is the best of the best, with many cuts having additional sweet, nutty, luxuriously creamy fat. Acorn-fed plumas are a particularly good example of what the Bellota lifestyle does to enhance the meat, because of their extra marbling.
100% Iberico Genetics
As any fan of Wagyu or Angus beef will tell you, breed genetics can make a big difference in the quality of the meat.
Bellota – “Acorn Fed”
Not all Iberico pork on the market is acorn fed, but Iberico that is represents the finest quality available. Despite being called “acorn fed” in English, what this actually means is “Acorn Finished” – all Bellota pigs graze on grass, forage, and other things in their pastures (dehesas) until acorn season.
When the acorns start to fall from the trees in October, the pigs love them and eat as many as they can (herders actually help by shaking the branches to knock more acorns down). For each 2.2lbs a pig gains during acorn season, they must eat 13-22lbs of acorns a day, plus 6.6lbs of grass.
Several months of acorn finishing performs a special form of culinary alchemy on the pigs’ fat. Acorns are very high in unsaturated fat, and this diet produces meat that is sweet & balanced, with uniquely creamy fat.
Dehesas – “Pasture Raised”
Not all Iberico pork on the market is pasture raised free range on the rustic orchard pastures (dehesas) of Southern/Central Spain. The Iberico breed is remarkably active, as pigs go, so giving them room to roam, browse, and forage is an important part of their natural lifestyle. Ajomar’s expansive dehesas in Extremadura in the southwest of Spain provide at least 2 ½ acres (1 hectare) of space per 3 pigs.