Smearing is a manual operation which consists in covering the lean part of the ham with a thin layer of "smear". The latter is a paste of pure pork fat plus salt, pepper and flour, which has a twofold function: firstly, it is a sort of barrier against any kind of external agent, and secondly, it prevents the meat from drying out, thereby preserving its tenderness. The first smearing is performed during the sixth month of maturation and over the course of time is repeated two or three more times.