How does the American style country ham curing process differ from that of a Spanish ham?
Salt-curing is the most common curation method for ham here (in the states). I'm personally not an American-style ham lover, so I will leave this where it lies.
"Spanish ham" gains its reputation for uniqueness because it is dry-cured (preferably in the mountains); since what is in the air can vary from year to year, the taste of the meat has a tendency to vary. I'd say the closest equivalent to this is the effect of amount, type, and source of groundwater on wine quality/taste for any given year.
I am sorry for arriving seven years late, but I have arrived.
I would think a major difference would be curing time. Spanish hams can be cured for 3 years. You won't run across many (if any) American cured hams cured that long. I have experience with prosciutto, which isn't cured as long as Spanish ham, but is tough and dry; compared to American.
The european hams, traditionally cured, are dryer than an American cured. I prefer American, but am used to preparing and using in prepared dishes. Familiarity may cause my bias.
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