The cutting or carving of Spanish hams is also considered an art which requires two very important pieces of equipment: the ham stand and the ham knife. The knife needs to be very sharp and flexible so as to cut the ham into thin slices. A ham stand is used to hold the ham in place while it's being cut.
The Spanish Ham Carving Process is a Five Step Delicate Process
First step: The carving process starts off by securing the ham into the ham stand very tightly so as to avoid any movement while cutting. Then the first cut is made vertically, five to seven inches below the hoof. The carving of the slices becomes much easier once the first area is cut.
Second step: The next step is to trim the fat and skin from top of the ham to expose the meat.
Third step: Now that the top of the ham is exposed, the sides need to be trimmed near the slicing area. This step is a lot easier because only the rind needs to be carved off from the exposed area. While you doing this make sure the cutting angle is almost vertical and do not cut too much of the fat off the surface since a little fat over the ham gives it a good flavor.
Fourth step: The ham should now be ready to be cut into slices for serving. Be sure to trim the rind on the edges to help carve slices as smoothly as possible. Be sure to maintain a flat surface on the ham every time a slice is cut. There might still be small white specks in the meat which are actually amino acids built up throughout the curing procedure. The white deposits are totally safe and are in fact regarded as a sign of excellent curing and maturity. Once one side is sliced, rotate the jamón in the holder to expose the other side of the ham.
Final step: A boning knife will be required once the hipbone is reached. The Punta (the bottom area of the ham) is very hard to carve at times. In which case, smaller and thicker slices can be carved out. After the ham has been completely carved, the remaining bones can be used for preparing soups and stock.
It takes a lot of practice to carve a Serrano or an Ibérico ham. The slices need to be one inch wide and three inches long and for this very reason the knives needs to be very sharp and also sharpened before every use. There are also many different ham stand designs available but by far the most admired and useful are the traditional design stands where the ham is placed either straight or standing up vertically at an angle.