Mere Mortals Confront the Ultimate Ham

Dont tell the Department of Homeland Security.Photo: Everett Bogue

Its the ultimate prize, the holy grail for pork-lovers: the famed jamn ibrico de bellota, the black-footed, acorn-fed Spanish ham. Its illegal in this country, but one of our meat operatives managed to smuggle a bit across the border. We arranged a little taste test among some New York staffers to see what the ham about which Casa Mono chef Andy Nusser says: Once you taste ibrico, you can't compare it to anything else" tastes like to non-foodies. Would the man in the street be as moved? We didnt tell our panel the hams identity, or hint of its vast, cultlike fame. Their reactions?

It smelled stronger than it tasted.
Tastes like bacon with the bacon taken out of it.
Um, it seems kind of fishy.
If you ate anything with this, its taste would disappear.
It looks like its supposed to be fried.

Overall, the panel was less than overwhelmed with the hams greatness. But then, the cost of genius is being misunderstood. Or $150 a kilo, depending on where you sit.

Earlier: The Ham That Drives Men Mad