I just got Noel branded Spanish Serrano ham from Costco. Remove ham from the plastic package and noticed that there is a strong smell coming from the ham. It's not terrible but not very pleasant either. It smells kinda like stale oil. I can smell it from 10 feet away. Is this just normal cured ham/Jamon smell? All the guides says it should smell good and has fresh ham smell. I've only had "fresh" wet ham before and those barely has any smell imo.

The ham is covered in fat. On the backside, there is a black patch. It's my first whole ham purchase so I have no idea if this is mold or whether it means anything. I haven't carved it yet since I'm supposed to let it stand for 6 hours first. I've attached some pics of the exterior.

Imgur link: https://i.stack.imgur.com/qD7aj.jpg

  • If it was under vacuum, I'd leave it to breath a day to see how it goes; sometimes, things like that can have a funky smell.
    – Max
    Oct 27, 2022 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


The natural mold is naturally occurring in the curing process and actually indicates that it was properly aged. The smell may be from a thin layer of mold - as long as it isn't slimy (waxy is fine), it should be fine. You can wipe the leg with a damp cloth to remove any excessive film/mold, which may help.


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