Lipolysis, lipid peroxidation, and colorimetric characteristics of Serrano hams from Duroc and Large White pigs along a 15-mo curing period were investigated. Physicochemical parameters of both types of hams evolved similarly during curing. Twelve of 13 free fatty acids (FFAs) increased during curing, eicosatrienoic acid being the only exception. Linoleic, stearic, and arachidonic acids and the minor heptadecanoic acid reached lower concentrations, and the rest of minor FFAs higher concentrations, in Duroc hams than in Large White hams. The index measuring the early stage of lipid peroxidation declined from month 5 onwards, indicating that the phenomenon had been completed by month 5, while the index of the secondary stage of lipid peroxidation increased with curing time. Higher values were found for the 1st index in Duroc hams. Curing affected color parameters. Lightness decreased and redness increased in both types of hams, while yellowness decreased only in Duroc hams. Lower redness values were found for Duroc hams. Major differences in color parameters were found between muscles. Principal components analysis of FFAs yielded 2 main principal components. The 1st factor, correlated with all FFAs excepting eicosatrienoic acid, allowed discrimination between curing times. The 2nd factor, correlated with eicosatrienoic acid, permitted discrimination between breeds.
Duroc crosses are gaining ground for the production of dry-cured hams because of the advantageous productive traits of the breed and the sensory characteristics of the hams. However, the characteristics of purebred Duroc hams are not well known. We have recorded in the present work a different free fatty acid (FFA) profile for purebred Duroc and Large White hams, while lipid peroxidation and color parameters evolved similarly in both types of hams. Purebred Duroc pigs showed to be suitable for the production of high-quality dry-cured hams.