What are the differences between shoulders and hams?
The main differences between hams and shoulders are the following: the part of the pig, the proportion fat-bone and the flavor.
Part of the pig
Shoulders are the pieces extracted from the front paws of the pig, while the hams are extracted from the back paws. This has an impact on the weight and the size of the pieces because the back paws are bigger than the front paws. As a result, the pieces of ham have weights from the 5,75 kg and the pieces of ham shoulders have a weight between 3,7 kg and 5,5 kg.
The bone of the back paws is bigger than that of the front paws. This influences in the fat proportion of the pieces. While the total proportion of fat and bone of the hams is a 40%, that of the shoulder hams represents a 60%.
The fact that there are different proportion rates of fat and bones in the front paws and the back paws has an impact on the flavor of the pieces. Consequently, the flavor of the meat in shoulders is more intense, due to the bigger fat rate that makes it stronger.