Speck's secret can be enclosed in one simple phrase: "Little salt, little smoke, and plenty of fresh mountain air." Speck is a type of cured, lightly smoked ham. It's typically made in South Tyrol, a province in northeast Italy known for its snow-capped Dolomite mountains and strong German-Austrian influence. Although a close cousin to prosciutto crudo, speck is worthy of its own distinction when it comes to cured hams.
It all begins with selecting high-quality raw materials. Only the best pork legs are chosen, sourced from pigs fed a specific diet and raised in a certain way. Strict regulations stipulate how the meat is transported to the production facility, including the fact that it must never be frozen.
Each pork leg is carefully rubbed with a spice mix, usually including salt, pepper, juniper berries, and bay leaves. Every producer's spice mix recipe varies slightly, although salt and pepper are always used. Each pork thigh cannot contain more than 5% salt to meet the consortium's standards.
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