Food & Drink

Diner’s Dictionary: Italian Speck

What is it? Speck is an Italian type of cured meat, or salumi, that is smoked and tastes similar to American bacon. But speck comes from hog legs, while bacon is from pork belly.

To make speck, a cut of meat is seasoned with salt, pepper, juniper berries and other spices and left to cure for a month before being smoked for several days then aged again for months. Speck is often served sliced thin or diced but can also be used to cook with, easily replacing bacon or as a smoky alternative to pancetta.

(Italian speck should not be confused with German speck, which is essentially pork lard, or lardo. Nor should it be confused with a version of speck served as some Jewish delicatessens, which is a slice of fat from the top of corned beef, dusted in paprika and griddled.)

Where to find it: A explosive expression of speck can be found in the breakfast sandwich that Macchialina (820 Alton Rd., Miami Beach) serves for Sunday brunch. Speck crumbles lend a salty, smoky crunch to the eggy delight. $10.