Costco Is Selling a $500 Leg of Ham and It’s Glorious

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: The Kitchn)

Costco is a reliable go-to for just about everything in life, including fabulous things like Wagyu beef, diamonds, and caviar. In fact, for a little while now Costco has been stocking serrano ham (prosciutto’s Spanish cousin), and based on how quickly it flies off the shelf, it would be the jewel of any holiday table.

The ham has such devoted followers that there are many, many Reddit threads dedicated to people spotting the ham in stores, since they come in and out so often that they aren’t often listed on the Costco website.

Here’s a little tip, however: Just call Costco and give them the product name or item number and they can tell you whether there’s one in your local store or if there are any in your area.

Serrano ham’s popularity has led to a bit of confusion when it does appear, however. In a post on Imgur on November 15th 2018 and Reddit, someone thought they were seeing things when the ham was listed for $549. While that is a serrano ham, it’s not the more readily available Jamon de Cebo, which runs for $99. This is the rarer variety, called Jamon de Bellota.

If you’re wondering what the difference is, a quick explanation:

For ham to be considered serrano ham in general (either Cebo or Bellota), it “must come from pigs with at least one Iberian parent,” serrano ham farmer Enrique Tomas says on his blog. Iberian pigs are known for their unique fat-to-muscle ratio, which according to many has a superior taste. “In Spain there are four areas where authentic Iberian products are produced: Cáceres/Badajoz, Córdoba, Salamanca and Huelva.”

Bellota are much more selectively classified, attributing to the type of Iberian pig it is. Bellota are given a particularly fine diet and luxe environment to achieve their status: a 100% acorn diet while roaming the lush high-altitude pasturelands of Spain. Fancy, but those in the know say both diet and environment affect their taste, as well.

Serrano lovers, if you have the funds, get your running shoes ready to head to Costco before this pig flies off the shelf.