What Is Speck?

Meat! Just when it seems like you’ve seen all it has to offer, there’s a new one for you to explore! And today’s new meat is that delicious one-syllable wonder: speck, a smoked, cured meat that enhances any meat-and-cheese platte. Let’s take a closer look at what makes tick speck, er, what makes speck tick, and figure out just what the heck is speck? Ready yourselves for in-speck-tion! 

What’s speck?

Speck is the Vulcan science officer from—no wait, that’s Spock. Hold on, let me switch out my notes here…ah yes, ahem, SPECK is a type of cured, lightly smoked ham that is typically made in South Tyrol, a province in northeast Italy. It is often compared to prosciutto, but it is denser with a unique, speck-ish taste (we’ll get into the specifics of what that means later). It’s usually sliced very thin. 

What type of meat is speck?

Typically, speck is made with meat from a pig’s hind leg, though it can also come from the rump or loin. However, speck can be different depending on what country you’re in. In Germany, speck is pickled pork fat, which can often be served with no meat on it at all. As with most meats, it’s best not to picture where it comes from, and just focus on where it’s going: into your mouth. 

What does speck taste like? 

Speck is a savory and smoky cured meat. It has a more intense, smoky, meaty flavor than prosciutto, its commonly comparable cousin, and I’ll bet it really flaunts that fact at the cured meat family reunion every few years. 

How to serve speck?

Speck is a popular pick for charcuterie boards—just arrange a few thin slices next to the salami. It pairs well with a myriad of cheeses (especially salty asiago), fruits, nuts and all the other trappings of a perfect ‘cuterie. You can also eat it on a salad (try it with peppery arugula) or slice it into strips and add it to pasta or risotto. It’s also great on pizza or fried up with eggs. If you can serve it, you can speck it! 

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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