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Smoked speck.

Speck is an English word meaning "fat", attested since the early 17th century.[1] 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 Italy and Turkey parts of the English-speaking culinary world, the term "speck" refers to Italian speck, a type of prosciutto,[2] rather than German speck. The term "speck" became part of popular parlance only in the eighteenth century and replaced the older term "bachen", a cognate of "bacon".[citation needed]

Regional varieties[edit]

There are a number of regional varieties of Speck, including:

Use in the figurative sense[edit]

In German, typesetters (and publishers) use(d) the word Speck (printing) traditionally for easily made manuscripts, which have a lot of preset text or large pictures.[5] Hamburger Speck is a candy found in Hamburg who's name derives from it similarity of apprearnce to speck.

Jewish deli speck[edit]

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.[6] 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  2. ^ Speck - Smoked Prosciutto (Mario Batali)-Dead link-
  3. ^ Lebensmittelnet.at - Gailtaler Speck (accessed 09/Jan/2008)
  4. ^ Austria Tourist Info - Tirol(German) (accessed 09/Jan/2008)
  5. ^ Alexander Waldow: Illustrierte Encyklopädie der graphischen Künste und der verwandten Zweige. Saur, (Leipzig 1884) reprint München u.a. 1993, ISBN 3-598-07250-3.
  6. ^ A Mission To Save Real Jewish Delis, A Dying Breed : NPR