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What is Lomo?

By S. N. Smith
Updated May 16, 2024
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Lomo, or lomo curado, is a dry-cured tenderloin of pork popular in Spain. Lomo is similar in texture to the Spanish cecina, which is produced by air-drying and curing a salted beef tenderloin. Lomo, unlike cecina, is generally not smoked and is more highly seasoned.

It takes a degree of skill applied to pork of excellent integrity to produce a high-quality lomo, and one particular variety—that bearing the Denominacion de Origin of Guijuelo—is especially esteemed. The Guijuelo lomo is prized for its exceptional flavor. It is produced artisanally in a climate that is well suited to the air-curing of meat, with chilly, dry winters and a mild summer season. Guijuelo lomo is made from Iberian pigs raised on a superb diet of acorns and wild grasses.

Lomo may be brined for a period during the curing process. If this is the case, the liquid preferred for brining is wine. Other flavoring agents that may be added to the meat include citrus peel; spices such as peppercorns of various colors, bay leaf, paprika, or crushed red pepper flakes; garlic; and/or sugar.

Once the meat has been cured, the spices are rinsed off. The tenderloin is then wrapped in porous fabric such as cheesecloth and hung to air-dry for several weeks. Once it is completely dry, the meat is hard and translucent, the color of the flesh ranging from dark rose to ruby red.

If purchased whole and vacuum-packed, the lomo should be unpackaged and allowed to sit at room temperature for about an hour prior to slicing and eating. This allows the full flavor of the meat to emerge. If purchased presliced, the lomo can be plated and allowed to sit at room temperature for half an hour before dressing and serving.

Lomo is a favorite tapas offering. It is served sliced paper thin, dressed with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. It may be served alone or on top of a bed of salad greens. Suitable accompaniments are Manzanilla or Arbequina olives, mushrooms, Cabrales or Mahon cheese, grapes, and melon slices. Another popular way to enjoy lomo is as a sandwich meat. As such, it is typically paired with Manchego cheese and served on a baguette or crusty French bread, perhaps with a bit of herbed olive oil or even lightly salted butter.

Served as a tapas, lomo is excellent with Fino, a young Spanish sherry. Alternatively, try it with a Tempranillo or Garnacha or other red wine from Spain.

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Discussion Comments
By goldensky — On Aug 31, 2011

@Sierra02 - Yes, American pork tenderloin can be used in your lomo de cerdo dish. I've made lots of Spanish dishes using both pork and beef tenderloin from my local supermarket. The seasonings and other ingredients in your recipe should give it that true authentic Spanish flavor.

Here's a recipe I've used many times that I always get rave reviews over. Brown a half pound pork tenderloin in three tablespoons of olive oil. Then add one sliced carrot and onion and cook until tender.

Then add four bay leaves, two chopped tomatoes, three minced garlic cloves, one teaspoon of black pepper and two sprigs of fresh rosemary. Cover the whole thing with water and simmer for one and a half hours.

Add two tablespoons of red wine vinegar the last ten or fifteen minutes of cooking, then remove all the ingredients from the pan, cover with the sauce and serve.

By Sierra02 — On Aug 30, 2011

I've been searching everywhere for authentic lomo for a Spanish dish I want to try. I live in the United States and I can't find this cut of meat anywhere. The dish I want to make is lomo de cerdo. Is is okay to use an American pork tenderloin? I've even seen that some cooks use beef tenderloin in their lomo dishes.

By aviva — On Aug 30, 2011

My husband and I grew up in Peru and it's important to us that our children experience the pride and connection of our heritage. One of the ways we like to do that is through the wonderful foods we grew up with and lomo is a key ingredient. One of our favorite traditional dishes is lomo saltado. It's an easy stir-fry that even picky eaters will enjoy.

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