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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Costco’s $550 Ham

We've got answers to your questions about the premium serrano ham at Costco.

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Cutting a slice of iberian hamrafa sanchez ruiz/Shutterstock

$550 Is Actually a Major Deal

It takes a real ham enthusiast to know that the steep price of $549.99 is really a steal. This meat is so pricey because it comes from a rare breed of pig that’s raised only in Spain. The typical price point for a leg of Jamón Ibérico de Bellota ranges between $900 and $1,300. It’s even pricey on Amazon.

Is a Costco membership worth the money? Here’s what you need to know.

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Iberian pigs grazing in the Extremadura landscape in SpainGelpi/Shutterstock

It’s Not Just Any Pig

To be considered Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, the pig must have at least one Iberian parent. Iberian pigs stand out from the average livestock because of the unique way their muscle absorbs fat to create an exquisite taste.

Here are the best cuts of pork every home cook should know.

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Detail of branch of kermes oak under the rain, with spiny leaves and a colorful acorn with crimson cupule. Alonso Aguilar/Shutterstock

Iberian Pigs Are Herbivores

The idea that pigs eat only slop is pretty common, but to make Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, the pigs need a special diet. The de Bellota part of the name actually refers to the strict diet of acorns that Iberian pigs are fed. The diet is what makes the meat so rare and delicious!

Fun fact: Pigs are also used to snuff out truffles. Find out what celebrity chef can’t stand truffle oil.

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Group of Iberian pig in the meadow in the mountains.Genadi Dochev/Shutterstock

The Iberian Pig Is Found Only in Spain

Products made from Iberian pigs are only available in four areas of Spain: Huelva, Cáceres/Badajoz, Salamanca and Córdoba. Iberian pigs are typically brought up in the high altitude parts of these areas, as the environment is said to impact the meat’s flavor. Costco is not only saving us money, but also a long flight to Spain!

Whip up some of this paella for more Spanish goodness.

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Iberian ham with a plate of slices of ham.Moises Fernandez Acosta/Shutterstock

There’s a Cheaper Option, Too

If $500 is out of your price range but you’re still craving a taste of high society, don’t worry! Costco also provides a cheaper form of Jamón Ibérico called Jamón Ibérico de Cebo, which should cost you only $99. It’s also known for its great taste, which provides luxury without breaking the bank!

Next up: The best deals you can find at Costco.

Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Laurie Dixon
Having a passion for writing her whole life, Laurie joined the Taste of Home team to bring together her two favorite things—creative writing and food. She spends most of her time playing with her dog, drafting up short stories and, of course, trying out new recipes.
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