In the Land of the Alps, speck ham (air dried ham) is an alpine speciality with a long tradition. Its production requires a great deal of experience, patience, knowledge and natural raw materials.
Various factors influence its unique taste: the breed of pig and the animals’ well-being, their feed to produce a good, white fat layer, the right time for slaughtering, the traditional recipes using salt, spices and herbs and the time allowed for these to work into the meat. The different recipes are often well-kept secrets of the manufacturer.
The water is removed from the meat so that it keeps for longer. This also concentrates the flavours. The cuts of meat are hung up to dry before they are cured (smoked) over hardwood at low (cold) temperatures of around 22 degrees Celsius. Next comes the maturation process, which allows the unique characteristics such as the colour, smell and flavour to develop.
In the Land of the Alps, many different types of speck ham have emerged. Examples include Tyrolean, Gailtaler, Gurktaler or Pinzgauer Speck, Innviertler Surspeck, streaky bacon and back bacon, from unusual breeds of pig including Mangalica, Turopolje or woolly pig.