Speck is a distinctively juniper-flavored ham originally from Tyrol, a historical region that since 1918 partially lies in Italy. Speck's origins at the intersection of two culinary worlds is reflected in its synthesis of salt-curing and smoking.
The first historical mention of Speck was in the early 13th century when some of the current production techniques were already in use. Südtiroler Speck (Italian: Speck Alto Adige) is now a protected geographic designation with PGI status.
In parts of the English-speaking culinary world, the term "speck" refers to Italian speck, a type of prosciutto, rather than German speck, which is identical to the Italian "lardo". The term "speck" became part of popular parlance only in the eighteenth century and replaced the older term "bachen", a cognate of "bacon".
Other varieties with geographical indications include:
- Gailtaler Speck from Austria, with PGI status, which has been made since the 15th century in Gailtal in Kärnten.
- Tiroler Speck from Austria's Tyrol region, has PGI status, and has been made since at least the 15th century.
A leg of pork is deboned and divided into large sections called "baffe", and then cured in salt and one of various spice combinations, which may include garlic, bay leaves, juniper berries, nutmeg, and other spices, and then rested for a period of several weeks. After this, the smoking process begins.
The speck is then matured for five months.
Typically appearing in pastas, in risotto, on pizzas, and alongside hearty whole-grain breads, speck can also be seen in the company of shellfish, sometimes wrapped around scallops or rolled about breadsticks and served with lobster salad. Speck can be cut into thick strips and added to pasta sauces or any dish beginning with a soffritto of olive oil and chopped vegetables. In dishes like risotto, the extremely strong flavour of speck can usually be cut with light flavours such as parsley, lemon, mint, etc. In salads, speck pairs well with apples, sprouts, mushrooms, and hearts of celery.
Speck can easily replace bacon or as a smoky alternative to Pancetta. The differences between speck and bacon include different time lengths of smoking, the technique of curing it, and the fact that speck cures for a longer period of time than bacon does.
Jewish Deli Speck 
In some Jewish delis in the United States, speck is a beef product. It is made from the top layer of fat cut from a pickled brisket (corned beef), dusted in paprika, double smoked and then grilled. It is then sliced and either served on its own, traditionally on rye bread with mustard or combined with another sliced meat in a sandwich.
- "Speck – Smoked Prosciutto". Mario Batali. 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
- Lebensmittelnet.at - Gailtaler Speck (accessed 09/Jan/2008)
- Austria Tourist Info - Tirol(German) (accessed 09/Jan/2008)
- (English) (Italian) (German) (French) Speck Alto Adige PGI