With its signature dark color and striped appearance, pork secreto remains one of the rarest meats in the world. This ‘secret’ pork cut is somewhat hidden among the larger, more prominent muscles near the shoulder and loin area. It is typically prepared by grilling at 400 degrees F for about 2 minutes per side. At an internal temperature of 145 degrees, it is done.
During my days as a steakhouse prep cook, I prepared hundreds of secreto dishes along with many side dishes. It is one of the quickest recipes to nail. All you have to do is follow the recipe. I’ll walk you through it.
In this post, we get into Iberico secreto and 3 quick ways to prepare it. I will also tell you how to serve it and the difference between Iberico and pork. Shall we?
What is Iberico Pork Secreto?
This highly-priced cut of meat hails from the Iberian Peninsula. The home of the unique Pata Negra pig breed characterized by its black hoof. Pork secreto is cut from the back part of the pork loin, right next to the forelimbs. It is the cut of pork hidden beneath the pork shoulder. Call it the pig’s armpit.
You cannot miss pork secreto. This highly prized meat has a dark color and gorgeous marbling. The marbling is so rich in fact that it makes it appear striped. Of course, with rich marbling comes rich flavor and that’s exactly what Iberico pork secreto is. Super flavorful. Why is that so?
Iberico pigs are unique pigs reared in Spain and some parts of Portugal. Their diet is strictly comprised of acorns and grasses giving Iberico pork cuts an unmistakable nutty flavor and a lot of intramuscular fat. The Ibérico pig is also the giver of Iberico ham and jamon Iberico. Among the finest delicacies in the world.
This pork is one of the most beautiful pieces of meat out there. It is a long, marbled, flat sheet of meat that looks a lot like skirt steak. Thanks to its intramuscular fat that renders as it cooks, this cut is unbelievably tasty and tender. It cooks quickly over high heat which makes it ideal for a quick meal.
Authentic pork secreto is hard to find but if you do get your hands on some pieces, you are in for a wonderful dining experience.
How to Grill, Sear, and Roast Pork Secreto Step-by-Step?
As I mentioned earlier, pork secreto takes a very short time to whip up. So according to your preference, you can either grill, roast or sear it:
Grill Pork Secreto
- To grill your secreto Iberico, start by preheating your grill to high.
- Season both sides of your secreto iberico with salt and pepper.
- When your grill is ready, lay your secreto slices directly on the hot grill grates. Let it grill for about 2 minutes.
- Grab your tongs and flip the pork slices. Aim for an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Be careful not to overcook or else you’ll be left with a tough cut of meat.
- Rest them for about 3 minutes. I like to pair this with a rich herb-based sauce and mashed potatoes.
Sear Pork Secreto
- Sear the pork by heating a frying pan over medium-high heat.
- Drizzle in some olive oil and let it heat.
- Season with smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
- Sear each side for about two minutes until it gets that inviting golden brown crust. Rest your pork and enjoy pure goodness.
Roast Pork Secreto
- You can also roast secreto by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.
- As it comes to temp, place your pork in an oven-safe baking dish and season it with salt, pepper, and paprika. You can also toss in some garlic and rosemary and top it off with a little olive oil.
- Let it roast for about 10 minutes. Flip and let it roast for another 10 minutes. Keep in mind the size of your slices will determine how long they should stay on the grill. When it gets to an internal temperature of 145 degrees, take it out of the oven.
- Rest for at least 3 minutes. Serve.
Ideas for Serving Pork Secreto
There are several ways to serve secreto starting with the original. Let’s look into that:
The Traditional Method
In Spain, it is simply served with a wedge of lemon. Sometimes, chefs just spritz the pork with fruity virgin olive oil.
The Classic Method
Many restaurants serve secreto sprinkled with salt and pepper.
Secreto pairs incredibly well with a couple of sauces. Gun to my head, here are the top 3:
Iberico dishes and Romesco sauce are a match made in heaven. A rich Spanish sauce made from tomatoes, red peppers, bread, almonds, and olive oil. Its tangy and nutty notes perfectly complement the flavor of secreto.
This tangy sweet glaze is crafted using balsamic vinegar and honey. If you like a glossy delicious finish on your secreto, this balsamic sauce gets the job done.
This classic sauce is made from ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. It brings together sweetness and tang that is just chef’s kiss when paired with secreto.
If you are feeling lazy, just throw some fresh sprigs of fresh rosemary into your Iberico secreto. The smell is divine and the taste is nutty and flavor-packed.
Can I Eat Iberico Pork Secreto Rare?
Technically yes but I do not recommend it. Iberico Secreto has a huge fat cap. It will be too fatty for comfort. A complete anticlimax, not to mention it goes against USDA’s food safety advice.
Since you had to cough out a substantial amount of money, ensure you get the best from it. To that effect, to enjoy the renowned goodness of Iberico secreto cook it on high heat till medium rare. That is, till it achieves an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
If you like it crispier, let it cook a little longer. That said, if you cook it too long, it will dry out into a leathery, chewy shred of meat.
1. What Does Iberico Pork Taste Like?
Secreto is heavily marbled. So much so that it is often confused for pork belly fat. It is incredibly thin and thus chars quickly on the grill or stovetop.
These 2 features coupled together make Secreto a succulent cut of pork that almost literally melts in your mouth. It has a rich complex flavor that gets better with each bite. It is the ultimate pork experience!
2. What is the Difference Between Pork and Iberico?
Pork is a general term for all pig meat while Iberico is pig meat specifically cut from Iberico black-hoofed pigs.
Iberico pork has the following distinct features:
- Iberico pork is bright red, almost like beef whereas pork has a pale pink color.
- Iberico pork is comparatively much more flavorful thanks to its rich fat. This fat makes it very tender and tasty. Pork on the other hand has less fat content and thus less flavor.
Additionally, the flavor of Iberico pork is more complex with notes of floral, nutty, and earthy notes. This is because of its acorn diet. Pork is much milder often depending on the breed and feed of the hog.
- Since Iberico pigs are hard to find, their meat is rare as well. As is the norm with rare things, Iberico pork is very highly prized. Comparatively, pork is easier to raise, easier to find, and thus, cheaper.
Pork secreto comes from the loin of the Iberico pig. Raised on an acorn and grass diet, this rare heavily marbled meat is almost as dark as skirt steak, expensive, and yields ridiculously tender tasty results.
This pork takes at most 5 minutes to cook on the grill and requires just a little seasoning to knock your dinner out of the park. Just grill each side for 2 minutes on high heat until it gets to 145 degrees. It’s really that simple.