Secreto Ibérico – Let me tell you a little secret…

18 Apr

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”!

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89 Responses to “Secreto Ibérico – Let me tell you a little secret…”

  1. chaiselongue1 April 18, 2012 at 09:25 #

    Thanks for this delicious secret! The cut looks like what’s called carbonnade here, and it is very tasty, although maybe yours has more fat on it.

    • Chica Andaluza April 18, 2012 at 10:21 #

      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!

      • chaiselongue1 April 18, 2012 at 10:57 #

        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.

      • Chica Andaluza April 18, 2012 at 11:44 #

        Yes, that´s why it rang bells. I think if I trimmed the pork of any excess fat and did it the way you suggest it would be wonderful!

  2. thecompletecookbook April 18, 2012 at 10:25 #

    Loving this secret Tanya.
    🙂 Mandy

  3. cookinginsens April 18, 2012 at 10:31 #

    Thank you Chica for the delicious suggestion! And thank you chaise for telling me what to ask for 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza April 18, 2012 at 11:43 #

      It´s great to learn new things, I had heard of carbonnade but didn´t realise it was the same!

  4. Marianne April 18, 2012 at 11:21 #

    I can smell it, I can taste it and I want to go to Spain right now, 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza April 18, 2012 at 11:47 #

      I´m sure it won´t be long until you´re back!

      • Marianne April 18, 2012 at 12:47 #

        Actually, I’m waiting for confirmation on a job, :).

      • Chica Andaluza April 18, 2012 at 13:39 #

        Keeping everything crossed for you!

      • Marianne April 18, 2012 at 14:59 #

        Mucho gracias! 🙂

  5. Michi April 18, 2012 at 11:31 #

    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! 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza April 18, 2012 at 11:50 #

      You´re right – translations can often be misleading. I think your suegra was telling you about Secreto Iberico. It´s between the lomo and the paleta…take a look at this http://www.elcerdoiberico.es/?p=160 Suegras always know best!

  6. gardenfreshtomatoes April 18, 2012 at 12:11 #

    Sigh….a cut of pork totally unknown in the US…
    I’ll just have to come visit to get a taste! 😉

    • Chica Andaluza April 18, 2012 at 12:26 #

      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 😉

      • gardenfreshtomatoes April 18, 2012 at 12:54 #

        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…

      • Chica Andaluza April 18, 2012 at 13:39 #

        Lavatory humour – the same the world over!

  7. Mad Dog April 18, 2012 at 12:56 #

    I’m going to the Bouqueria in a minute to look at the price of pork bellies and now… 😉

  8. Val April 18, 2012 at 13:41 #

    What a sizzling post! 🙂 I wonder is this ‘secret’ cut available in Ireland?

    • Chica Andaluza April 18, 2012 at 13:43 #

      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).

  9. Lauren Aloise (@spanishsabores) April 18, 2012 at 15:48 #

    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!

    • Chica Andaluza April 19, 2012 at 08:55 #

      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.

  10. ChgoJohn April 18, 2012 at 16:46 #

    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. 😉

    • Chica Andaluza April 19, 2012 at 08:52 #

      I had never heard of it outside of Spain but if you can get your butcher to prepare you a piece I am sure you will enjoy it!

  11. dotdos April 18, 2012 at 19:27 #

    Manjar entre manjares… me encanta el secreto y qué bien has explicado como hacerlo en su punto 🙂

  12. Caroline April 18, 2012 at 19:55 #

    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!

  13. bitsandbreadcrumbs April 18, 2012 at 20:05 #

    I’ve never seen this cut here, but also hadn’t heard of it so may need to ask. But I sure do hope I come across it, and if I do, I won’t tell anyone! 😉

    • Chica Andaluza April 19, 2012 at 09:17 #

      Maybe we can start an Iberian Secret revolution outside of Spain with everyone asking for this cut!

  14. Purely.. Kay April 18, 2012 at 20:27 #

    You’ve definitely told me a secret today. I’ve never heard of this cut of meat.. but you’ve definitely got me interested 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza April 19, 2012 at 09:18 #

      I am so glad that it´s sparked interest, it really is such a great tasting cut of meat, but sadly I´ve never seen it outside of Spain.

  15. Tandy April 18, 2012 at 21:46 #

    I love the lemon juice secret!

    • Chica Andaluza April 19, 2012 at 09:18 #

      We often have pork or chicken with lemon juice here (especially if it´s plain grilled) and it really does lift the flavour!

  16. ceciliag April 18, 2012 at 21:59 #

    I LOVE THE FAT!!! sshh.. not sharing.. c

    • Chica Andaluza April 19, 2012 at 09:19 #

      Me too…I am the original Jack Sprat´s wife (except that Big Man is not a Jack Sprat!).

  17. spree April 18, 2012 at 23:16 #

    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!

    • Chica Andaluza April 19, 2012 at 09:21 #

      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.

      • spree April 19, 2012 at 17:13 #

        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

  18. sportsglutton April 18, 2012 at 23:45 #

    Nothing beats grilling meat and I’ve heard nothing beats Iberian pigs. 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza April 19, 2012 at 09:21 #

      Yes, the really Pata Negra pigs are the most expensive but the most delicious!

  19. Rachel April 19, 2012 at 00:10 #

    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!

    • Chica Andaluza April 19, 2012 at 09:22 #

      I am curious now to know if any butcher outside of Spain would prepare this cut of meat…keep me posted!

  20. profiterolesandponytails April 19, 2012 at 04:18 #

    I’m glad I dropped by, as I’ve learned something new about this cut of meat. Your secret is safe with me!

    • Chica Andaluza April 19, 2012 at 08:54 #

      Love your blog name – will be over soon to check it out! Thanks for popping in and commenting 🙂

  21. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide April 19, 2012 at 04:35 #

    How wonderful. One of my favorite parts of The Silver Spoon shows the cuts of meat for cows and pigs in Italy and in America. There are so many more cuts in Europe.

    • Chica Andaluza April 19, 2012 at 09:23 #

      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!

  22. Bluejellybeans April 19, 2012 at 10:55 #

    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 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza April 19, 2012 at 11:04 #

      Gracias – y a mi tambien por las mismas razones….y el sabor, por supuesto!

  23. peasepudding April 19, 2012 at 12:26 #

    Sounds perfect with a squeeze of lemon

  24. PendleStitches April 19, 2012 at 12:27 #

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

    • Chica Andaluza April 19, 2012 at 13:57 #

      Rustic is most definitely what you get Up the Mountain!

      • PendleStitches April 19, 2012 at 19:11 #

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

  25. promenadeplantings April 19, 2012 at 14:35 #

    Count me in on th emeat, the fat and the squueze of lemon 🙂 I LOVe secrets 🙂

  26. zestybeandog April 19, 2012 at 15:40 #

    Thanks for the secret cut of meat… now I just need to find some!

    • Chica Andaluza April 20, 2012 at 12:08 #

      It´s tricky to find outside of Spain..let me know if you manage it!

  27. Just A Smidgen April 20, 2012 at 05:09 #

    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;)

    • Chica Andaluza April 20, 2012 at 12:12 #

      Luckily I think we´re all a trustworthy and select group of bloggers!

  28. niasunset April 20, 2012 at 13:27 #

    http://photographyofnia.com/2012/04/20/tagged/
    You got tagged, with my love, nia

  29. Charles April 22, 2012 at 01:14 #

    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.

    • Chica Andaluza April 22, 2012 at 11:26 #

      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).

  30. rsmacaalay April 22, 2012 at 10:09 #

    That fat looks like it would make the meat so flavorful and tender!

  31. DLCS Management April 23, 2012 at 20:17 #

    Wow no way I could find such a gorgeous piece of meat over here. Luckily I just ate cause else I’d eat my iPhone Now

    • Chica Andaluza April 23, 2012 at 20:41 #

      It seems to be typical only to Spain 😦 Glad you didn´t eat your phone though!

      • DLCS Management April 24, 2012 at 13:38 #

        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!

      • Chica Andaluza April 29, 2012 at 10:38 #

        It´s a big country and there is so much to see…you´ll have to do an extended tour!

  32. katyarich May 2, 2012 at 08:25 #

    This looks delicious……just perfect for BBQ !

    • Chica Andaluza May 2, 2012 at 14:29 #

      It works so well on a barbeque – all those lovely smokey flavours!

  33. Suki C October 13, 2012 at 11:07 #

    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 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza October 13, 2012 at 11:47 #

      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….

  34. pat October 13, 2013 at 00:44 #

    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.

    • Chica Andaluza October 14, 2013 at 22:31 #

      Oh it’s good to hear of someone else who knows this cut of meat – hope you enjoyed it!

  35. Platanos, Mangoes and Me! January 4, 2014 at 18:01 #

    Thanks for visiting me…now I am following you…

  36. Rachel December 1, 2015 at 02:25 #

    I wonder what this cut is called here? It looks great! Mmmmm… Hungry now!!

    • Chica Andaluza December 2, 2015 at 14:19 #

      I think it’s sometimes called Skirt here, maybe the same for you?

  37. Karan Simoni February 24, 2016 at 04:43 #

    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!

    • Chica Andaluza February 24, 2016 at 18:27 #

      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 🙂

  38. BANDAR KAOS KARAKTER May 12, 2016 at 11:59 #

    unfortunately I was not allowed to eat pork.

  39. aida tour February 6, 2017 at 08:37 #

    i not allowed to eat pork

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Smoked and Spicy Travers du Porc with Coleslaw | Cooking in Sens - April 30, 2012

    […] it occurred to me that this meat might be a portion of what Chica Anduluza calls carbonnade https://chicaandaluza.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/secreto-iberico-let-me-tell-you-a-little-secret/.  Let me know what you think […]

  2. Iberico Pork Secreto - November 17, 2014

    […] put it better than blogger Chicaandaluza, who writes: “Secreto Ibérico (which translates as Iberian Secret) is a cut of meat, which comes […]

  3. Beautiful Bavette from Boulogne | Chica Andaluza - March 29, 2015

    […] Our recent whistle stop trip to France to stock up on wine and food goodies gave me the chance to buy a cut of meat which is not widely used in England. I think it’s also known as Flank or Skirt steak but is more typically used for slow cooking, usually being cut into larger chunks. It’s not an expensive cut of meat and can be simply flash fried. Adding a marinade helps to tenderise it (it’s very flavoursome but not a meltingly tender cut like sirloin or fillet). It also reminded me of the Spanish Secreto Iberico. […]

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