Secreto Ibérico – Let me tell you a little secret…

Served with grilled potatoes and aubergines and garlicky mushrooms...

Secreto Ibérico (which translates as Iberian Secret) is a cut of meat, which comes from between the shoulder blade and the loin of the prized Iberian pigs.  Even if you can only find it from regular pigs, I recommend you give this cut of meat a go for the amazing flavour you get from it.

So, this is not a recipe, more a “letting you in on a little secret”.  The reason this meat tastes so good is that the surface is marbled with fat.  It is typically cooked over a high flame or hot griddle so the outside fat melts and gives you a fantastically crispy crust, while the meat inside stays juicy and tender.

Simply sprinkle some coarse (kosher) salt on both sides, pepper too if you like, and put it onto a very hot grill pan or barbecue.

Don´t fear the fat, it will work its magic...

Cook until it is golden and crispy and then leave to rest for 2 or 3 minutes. Round where we live it is traditionally cut into little strips after cooking and served with fresh lemon to squeeze over.

Gorgeous, Golden and Grunchy..sorry, Crunchy

If you ever do come across this beautiful cut of meat….”shhhh, don´t tell anyone – it´s a secret”!


95 thoughts on “Secreto Ibérico – Let me tell you a little secret…

    1. I think you´re right now that you mention it. Some slices have more fat, some less but it does melt away and then you drain it off. Am off noew to research carbonnade recipes!

      1. I think your search may be confused by the fact that carbonnade is actually a word for a kind of stew, often made with beef. I’m not sure why this cut of pork is called carbonnade here, because it’s too tender to need stewing! A friend recommended to me that I braise it for just 30 minutes on a bed of cooked onions and covered with white wine – I added some olives too, and it worked well.

  1. I love useful little secrets like this! Is it “lomo”? I vaguely remember my suegra telling me that the juiciest part of the pig was the something-something while patting my shoulders and back to demonstrate.

    A fun fact I learned while translating the meat section of a menu once, was that cuts of meat don’t always translate directly as different countries will butcher their carne differently. Must make it fun for international chefs! 🙂

    1. It´s funny isn´t it – it even varies from the UK to France/Spain/Italy. I always chuckle when I read about pork butt..but then I´m english and I have that sort of sense of humour 😉

      1. Every butcher I ever worked for had to make rude jokes about pork butt…and none of them were English! It’s universal…
        Cuts vary regionally here. We used to get Navy guys (there’s a base in Newport) from California looking for familar roasts that no New England butcher ever heard of…

    1. I´ve never seen it in the UK, but if you have a good butcher I´ll let you tell him my secret and ask him if he could preapre it for you! Incidentally, it´s not a very expensive cut of meat (unless it´s from a Pata Negra pig).

  2. This has also been my “secret” for my guests in Spain! I adore secreto iberico when cooked the right way. It is fatty like a great quality bacon and meaty at the same time. Yet if not cooked correctly it can turn chewy which has turned a couple of my friends off. I’ve convinced most to give it a second chance and they love it!

    1. Another one in on the secret – it is good isn´t it?! I think the trick (A bit like roasting meat) is to get the griddle up really hot to start with to seal the outside then reduce it towards the end so that the middle cooks through and stays moist.

  3. This sounds delicious, Tanya, especially the crispy crust left when the fat renders. Yum! I’ve never heard of this cut, though, but will ask my butcher about it when I see him next. And don’t worry. Your secret is save with me. 😉

  4. I’d never heard of this cut of meat before, but it sounds absolutely delicious. Fat tends to make everything taste better, huh? Love the crispy skin and tender interior…yum!

  5. Well Tanya, I haven’t had pork in (ahem) many years, but my mum tells me that my favorite food as a kid was the fat removed from everyone else’s chops! once those tastes and smells have entered into our consciousness it’s hard to think on them without a real sense of nostalgia. The only meat I will EVER miss. I’ll go on enjoying vicariously – so thank you for making it so enjoyable!

    1. Hi Spree. Funnily enough I never used to eat pork until I came to Spain – I couldn´t bear the taste but here it´s proper pork! Of course, I understand that many people don´t eat it for health/religious reasons but for anyone who does this is a very special cut of meat.

      1. I’ve heard the songs of Spain’s pork! Is it the breed, the good food they eat, or how it’s cured? Maybe all three? I believe you completely Tanya! I have no doubt that it’s an exquisite cut of meat from an already tasty source! Proper Pork, suiting an Englishwoman! 🙂 xo

  6. Oh for scratch and sniff… I could lick the screen! Mmmm… Dunno if I can find it here, but I’ll let you know if I get lucky!

    1. It´s so strange isn´t it – you´d think butchering an animal would be pretty standard but it´s not. In France they have some amazing cuts which we don´t have here or in the UK!

  7. Jaja, muy bueno tu post Tanya.
    A nosotros en casa nos encanta esta carne, sobretodo a mi porque no tengo que pensar en cómo prepararla, como dices tu, una sartén caliente, sal, pimienta y listo!
    Saludos 🙂

  8. That looks delicious. I love ‘rustic’ food rather than daintly piled towers of stuff.

      1. Sounds perfect. Good food, good company, a perfect situation. No fiddly piles of food!

  9. I’ve never heard of this, thanks so much for letting me in on your little secret.. but, I’m so sorry.. it seems all these other people above me here have been listening in.. I promise, it wasn’t me that told;)

  10. Did someone say crispy pork fat? 😀

    I can’t even begin to imagine how awesome this must taste. I’ll have to see if I can find that cut of meat here. I didn’t see anything like it before I don’t think… maybe I just didn’t look hard enough.

    1. I´ll save you some 😉 French butchers are pretty amazing with the cuts they produce. Someone else in France said the cut is carbonnade of pork (not the braised dish of carbonnade).

      1. Haha another reason to visit Spain again! My problem is I’ve got friends from/in Tarifa to A Coruna & in between; I’ll need at least a month to drive around & eat!

  11. Hi there – came across your blog while looking for a way to translate this cut for a menu I’m translating for a local Andalucían restaurant – I think I’ve now concluded that there ISN’T a direct translation as this cut simply doesn’t exist outside Spain!

    Incidentally, although I’ve seen this cut in the shops I’ve never known how to cook it but now, thanks to your blog, I’ll give it a try 🙂

    1. I love this cut of meat but you´re right…as it doesn´t seem to exist quite like this outside of Spain, there is no direct translation! Maybe do what everyone does and call it Iberian Secret but then add a few words of explanation? Now I fancy it and am in the UK so will have to wait until I´m home again to eat it….

  12. A local meat market in coastal Maine offered the secreto cut, pork from a local farm, the only time I’ve ever found it in the US. We sauteed it on a very hot iron sarten for about 2 minutes on a side, having rubbed the meat with smoky pimenton, salt, pepper, garlic, a dash of red wine vinegar (effect similar to your lemon squeeze) and tucked some bay leaves alongside while it was marinading. It was excellent. Thanks for your discussion.

  13. I ‘m so happy I found your blog! I gotta say you had my Spaniard’s mouth watering at your recipes and food photos. He is from Barcelona, I am a native Californian, and we live in the Napa Valley. When I saw this post, I asked him, “What is this meat, and why did I never have it all the times we were in Spain? How come you never shared the secret darling?” Well, the hunt ensued at all the butcher shops and gourmet meat places for a place that breaks down their own pigs. Here in the States they are pre-butchered and delivered to shops in pieces. We took diagrams, went to Asian, Mexican and fancy gourmet chi-chi meat markets and not ONE butcher could get it for us. Apparently it is commonly ground up into sausage here. We did find a boneless sparerib meat that is for BBQ that my Spaniard says is basically the same flap of meat. (he has a veterinary degree and understands pig anatomy to accurately describe the cut to butchers) so we tried it… It was AMAZING! I love ribs, but I hate the bones. This is the best of both worlds. Tender, juicy, grilled on the BBQ with salt and pepper and a little lemon. He says its not the same taste here because of the grain fed swine vs acorn fed Iberian pigs… but I am not complaining… I am enjoying your blog! We have a lot in common, I also upcycle fashions, and enjoy blogging about cooking travel and lifestyle… So nice to “meet” you!

    1. How lovely to “meet” you too and I’m so glad you managed eventually to track down some “secreto”. It’s such an amazing tasting cut of meat but I too can’t get hold of it outside of Spain. Glad you’ve enjoyed the blog. I’m an avid sewer, upcyler, cook and general “try it for myself” kind of person so I hope you’ll be inspired by what inspires me. Thank you for your lovely comment and Bienvendo a mi blog 🙂

  14. My wife and I took a road trip in Spain back in 2015. We took a lunch break at a small restaurant tucked in the narrow hilltop streets of Toledo. Not speaking the language and understanding the menu, we asked local folks what they were eating, and they said Secreto. We ordered it and we still talk about how good it was. Appreciate this blog and other webs that explain what Secreto Iberico is. Hope we can find the cut in the east coast US.

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