If you have ever opened a ham with a higher proportion of fat than normal, you have been able to see what is called muscular steatosis.
This irregularity affects the marbling, generally in the main area of the ham (what we call in Spanish maza). It is an opposite aspect to what is normal, it seems that the veins are made out of meat instead of fat. Also to the touch, the fat is more or less soft.
It is normally due to genetic causes, although the animal’s diet and the breeding system also affect it, which is why it is more frequent in fatty pigs.
It is mostly an “appearance” defect, since the fat only increases the sensation of juiciness. For many, the fatty aspect or buttery sensation in the mouth is very high.
In these cases, the amount of fat increases significantly. It is therefore defined as an excess of intramuscular fat. It can be considered a defect to consumers, who tend to avoid cuts with excess fat.
What they don’t know is that, in the case of ham, fat increases the sensation of juiciness and tenderness in hams that have been cured for a longer time, and that fat is responsible for the most intense and long-lasting aromas.