Speck is an English word meaning "fat" or "blubber", attested since the early 17th century. This word also exists in German with the same meaning, but it normally refers to pork fat with or without some meat in it. Normal English use refers to German culinary uses, particularly of smoked or pickled pork belly.
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".
There are a number of regional varieties of Speck, including:
- Black Forest Speck
- Gailtaler Speck from Austria, with PGI status, which has been made since the 15th century in Gail Valley ("Gailtal") in Kärnten.
- Tiroler Speck from Austria's Tyrol region, which has PGI status, and has been made since at least the 15th century.
Jewish deli Speck
Some Jewish delis in the United States sell a beef product called Speck. 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.
- Oxford English Dictionary
- Speck - Smoked Prosciutto (Mario Batali)
- Lebensmittelnet.at - Gailtaler Speck (accessed 09/Jan/2008)
- Austria Tourist Info - Tirol(German) (accessed 09/Jan/2008)
- A Mission To Save Real Jewish Delis, A Dying Breed : NPR