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What Is Speck Meat? 5 Best Brands of Speck Meat

Speck meat is a delicious ingredient that can be used in various low-carb meals due to its high protein, moderate fat, and low carbohydrate content. This pork-driven product is anti-inflammation, helps the immune system, and improves brain health. To gain all these health benefits, you just need the following Carnivore recipes containing speck meat.

What Is Speck Meat? 5 Best Brands of Speck Meat
Highlights
  • Speck is a cured and lightly smoked ham, usually made in South Tyrol, a province in northeast Italy.
  • Speck meat can be included in many Carnivore recipes and has antioxidant features, anti-inflammatory effects, and supports the immune system.
  • To select the best speck meat, consider its origin, curing process, smoking method, color and certifications, and brand authenticity.
  • Senfter, Moser, Fior Di Maso, Martin Speck, and Nocker Walter are among the best speck meat regional producers.

What Is Speck Meat?

Speck is a type of cured and smoked ham that originates from the Tyrol region in northern Italy and southern Austria.

It’s usually made from pork belly or shoulder, which is cured in a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices, and then smoked.

Speck is often compared to American-style bacon but has a more intense flavor. The smoking process gives speck a rich, savory, and slightly sweet taste, with a tender and juicy texture.

Speck is often served as a side dish with bread, potatoes, or vegetables. It's also a popular ingredient in many Austrian dishes, such as stews, soups, and salads.

Speck meat is one of Europe's oldest foods and remains popular due to its unique preparation method, which gives it a great taste.

Learn More: Can You Eat Ham on a Carnivore Diet? 5 Ways to Eat Ham on Carnivore

How Is Speck Meat Made?

To make speck, the hams are first dry-cured for three weeks. Then, they are gently smoked using low-resin wood at a low temperature, which slows the smoking process and gives the meat a mildly smoky flavor.

The smoking is done gradually, for a few hours at a time, over several months, allowing the smoke to penetrate through the meat instead of just coating the outer layer.

This preparation method is the main reason for speck meat’s delicious taste and rich nutritional profile, which provides many essential minerals the body needs.

Speck Meat Nutrients

The exact nutrient content can vary depending on the specific type of speck meat, the curing and smoking process, and the level of fat content.

But in general, speck meat is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, so, it’s a nutritious addition to low-carb diets like the Carnivore Diet.

The following table shows the nutrients in 100 grams of speck meat [1].

Calories246 kcal
Protein 31.7 g
Fat 12.3 g
Carbohydrates 0.3 g
Cholesterol 50 mg
Calcium 6.2 mg
Iron 0.8 mg
Potassium 324.8 mg
Vitamin D 0.9 mcg

So, as a high-protein, moderate-fat, and low-carb meat, speck can be a nutritious addition to your diet because it can provide many health benefits.

Learn More: Can You Eat Pork Rinds on the Carnivore Diet?

Speck Meat Benefits

  • Antioxidant Features: The smoking process in making speck meat can help preserve some antioxidants in the meat, such as vitamin E and certain phenolic compounds. These antioxidants can help protect against oxidative stress and inflammation in the body [2].
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: The polyphenols and other compounds in speck meat can help reduce inflammation in the body, which decreases the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer [3].
  • Brain Health: The vitamin B12 and other nutrients like iron and zinc in speck meat can help support brain health and cognitive function [4].
  • Immune System Support: The vitamins and minerals in speck meat, such as vitamin E and zinc, can support the immune system and reduce the risk of illnesses like the common cold and flu [5].

But you should know that speck meat can have some side effects, especially if you are allergic to certain foods or take specific medications.

Learn More: Can You Freeze Liverwurst? For How Long?

Speck Meat Side Effects

  • Allergic Reactions: Some individuals can be allergic to pork or other ingredients used in the curing and smoking process, which can cause allergic reactions, such as hives, itching, or difficulty breathing [6].
  • Digestive Issues: Consuming too much speck meat can cause digestive issues, such as bloating, gas, and stomach discomfort in some individuals [7].
  • Interactions with Medications: The high sodium content in speck meat can interact with certain medications, such as blood pressure medicines, diuretics, and certain antidepressants, which can increase the risk of side effects or reduce their effectiveness [8]. It’s important to consult your doctor if you use these medications.

These benefits make speck meat a healthy choice and that's why it's a popular option in many regions. Also, these preparation methods are modified in many regions and lead to different kinds of speck meat.

Different Kinds of Speck Meat

Here are 4 different kinds of speck meat, which originate from their regional varieties.

  • Alto Adige/ Südtirol Speck
  • Tyrolean Speck
  • Trentino Speck
  • German Speck

Alto Adige/ Südtirol Speck

The most well-known and widely produced kind of speck is the Alto Adige or Südtirol speck. It originates from the South Tyrol region (Alto Adige/Südtirol) in northern Italy.

Alto Adige speck Italian is made from the hind legs of pigs, seasoned with a blend of spices, such as juniper, pepper, and garlic, then cured and cold-smoked. It has a distinctive flavor profile, with a balance of smokiness and spices.

The table below shows the nutritional values of 100 grams of Alto Adige speck.

Protein30.7 g
Fat 19.1 g
Carbohydrates 1.2 g
Calories 300 kcal

Tyrolean Speck

Also known as Tiroler speck or Tyrolean bacon, Tyrolean speck comes from the Tyrol region, a western Austrian state. Its taste and preparation method is generally similar to Alto Adige speck but has regional variations in seasoning and smoking techniques.

Tyrolean speck is often thinly sliced as a cold cut or added to various dishes in Austrian and South Tyrolean cuisine.

The nutritional values of 100 grams of this speck are provided in the following table.

Protein29 g
Fat 19 g
Carbohydrates 0.5 g
Calories 289 kcal

Trentino Speck

Trentino speck comes from the Trentino region of northern Italy, which is adjacent to Alto Adige. It’s made using similar methods to Alto Adige speck but has regional variations in seasoning and smoking.

Trentino speck is known for its savory flavor and is often served with local cheeses and bread. Here are its nutritional values in 100 grams.

Protein30.7 g
Fat 19.1 g
Carbohydrates 1.2 g
Calories 300 kcal

German Speck

There is a type of cured and smoked pork belly referred to as "speck” in Germany, particularly in the southern regions like Bavaria. Speck German differs from its Italian counterparts in cut (belly instead of the leg) and seasoning.

It is generally seasoned with a blend of traditional spices such as juniper berries, black pepper, and garlic. The nutritional values for a 100g portion of German speck are shown in the table below.

Protein22 g
Fat 25 g
Carbohydrates 1 g
Calories 300 kcal

Another pig product that has a similar preparation method as speck is prosciutto. They have many things in common but they differ in texture and flavor. Let’s compare them and see which one can be a better option.

Learn More: The Best Meat to Smoke: 15 Best Cuts to Throw into the Smoker

Speck vs. Prosciutto

Prosciutto is made from the hind legs of pigs and is aged during a dry-curing process. There are two types of prosciutto: prosciutto cotto, which is cooked, and prosciutto crudo, which is uncooked, but cured.

Both speck and prosciutto are cured meats but differ in flavor, texture, and production methods. The following table compares speck vs. prosciutto to help you decide which one can better fit your diet.

FeaturesSpeckProsciutto
Origin Northeastern Italy (Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Veneto) Parma and Lombardy, Italy
Curing Process Dry-cured with salt and spices, then smoked Dry-cured with salt, air-dried for months
Flavor Rich, smoky flavor with hints of spices Delicate, sweet-salty flavor
Texture Tender and chewy Tender and silky
Fat Content (in 100 g) 12.3 g 10.7 g
Smoking Smoked over low-burning woods Not smoked

The rich flavor and chewy texture of speck meat make it a good ingredient to be used in many low-carb recipes. The following are some easy recipes with speck meat you can prepare and enjoy.

4 Speck Meat Recipes

Here are 4 easy and affordable Carnivore speck meat recipes. You can also find more low-carb recipes by checking these Carnivore Diet recipes.

  • Carnivore Keto Burgers
  • Speck and Egg Breakfast Skillet
  • Speck-Wrapped Beef Tenderloin
  • Speck and Cheese Omelet

Carnivore Keto Burgers

Here are the ingredients and instructions you need to make 8 servings of these yummy, Carnivore-friendly burgers in just 15 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 200 g speck
  • 500 g ground pork
  • 500 g ground beef
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Southwest seasoning (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the grill or BBQ on high.
  2. Mince the speck using a food processor or mincer.
  3. Mix the minced speck with other ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Divide the mixture into 8 portions and shape each into a patty.
  5. Reduce heat to low and place patties on the grill. Flatten with a spatula.
  6. Cook for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  7. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Speck and Egg Breakfast Skillet

You can make 2 servings of Speck and Egg Breakfast Skillet using the ingredients and instructions below.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. speck
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tbsp butter or beef tallow

Instructions

  1. Sauté the speck in butter or beef tallow over medium-high heat until lightly crispy.
  2. Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them lightly.
  3. Pour the beaten eggs into the skillet with the speck.
  4. Use a spatula to scramble the eggs and speck together until the eggs are fully cooked.

Speck-Wrapped Beef Tenderloin

To make this delicious meal, you need the following ingredients and instructions.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. speck
  • 1 lb beef tenderloin
  • 2 tbsp butter or beef tallow

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Pat the beef tenderloin dry and wrap it tightly in slices of speck.
  3. Heat butter or beef tallow in an oven-safe skillet.
  4. Sear the wrapped tenderloin on all sides until browned.
  5. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

Speck and Cheese Omelet

With the following ingredients and instructions, you can easily make this Speck and Cheese omelet, and enjoy it.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. speck
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cheese (cheddar, swiss, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp butter

Instructions

  1. Cook the speck over medium heat until crispy, then remove and set aside.
  2. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat lightly with a fork.
  3. Melt the butter in the same skillet over medium heat.
  4. Pour in the beaten eggs and let them cook.
  5. Use a spatula to gently push the cooked egg towards the center, tilting the pan to allow the uncooked eggs to flow to the edges.
  6. When the omelet is still slightly undercooked, sprinkle the crispy speck and shredded cheese over half of the omelet.
  7. Fold the other half over and slide onto a plate.
  8. Enjoy!

The main ingredient in all of the above recipes is speck meat. There are various brands producing speck meat, but you need to choose the high-quality ones. Here are some of the important points to consider when choosing speck meat.

How to Find the Best Speck Meat?

Pay attention to the following factors when looking for quality speck.

  • Origin: High-quality speck originates from the South Tyrol region of Italy, near the Austrian border. Look for a speck from this region, as it’s been produced using traditional methods and strict regulations.
  • Curing Process: High-quality speck should be dry-cured with salt and spices for several weeks before being slowly smoked over low-burning wood like maple or beech. Slow curing and smoking help develop the best flavor and texture.
  • Smoking Method: Traditional speck is smoked slowly over several months, allowing the smoke to fully penetrate the meat instead of just covering the surface. So when you want to choose speck meat, pay attention to how long it was in the smoking process. If this time was short, then it probably wasn't smoked enough.
  • Color: Look for a speck with a deep reddish-brown color and a thin layer of white mold on the exterior. Avoid any pieces that look very dark or have excessive mold growth.
  • Certifications: Choose a speck with certifications like "Speck Alto Adige PGI" (Protected Geographical Indication), which ensures it meets the production standards.
  • Authentic Producers: Look for speck from well-known producers like Senfter and Moser in the South Tyrol region who use traditional methods and high-quality ingredients.

Considering the above factors, you can find high-quality speck. But if it seems difficult for you to look for good brands in the market, you can use the following list, showing the top 5 brands of speck meat.

Learn More: The Best Meat for Beef Jerky and How to Select Them

Top 5 Brands of Speck Meat

Speck meat is produced by many European regional brands in Italy, Austria, and Germany which export their products all over the world. Here are some of the well-known producers of speck meat.

  • Senfter
  • Moser
  • Fior Di Maso
  • Martin Speck
  • Nocker Walter

Senfter

This South Tyrolean company is one of the most respected producers of speck. Its speck is made according to the traditional PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) guidelines and is known for its delicate smoky flavor and fine marbling.

This brand produces 4 main Alto Adige specks with the following nutritional value of 100 grams.

ProductCalories (kcal)Fat (g)Carbohydrates (g)Sugar (g)Protein (g)Salt (g)
Speck Alto Adige PGI 266 16 0.5 0.5 30 4
Speck Intense Flavor 80 g 266 17 0.5 0.5 27 4.5
Speck Baffa Alto Adige PGI 234 16 0.5 0.5 22 4
Speck Cubes from Speck Senfter 180 18 0.5 0.5 29 4.5

Moser

It is known for its commitment to quality and traditional methods. Its speck is air-dried for a minimum of six months and has a slightly stronger flavor than other brands.

You can find different products on this brand’s website like salami, ham, wine, and speck meat in different weights. The table below shows the details of some of the top sellers.

Product (100 g)Calories (kcal)Fat (g)Carbohydrates (g)Sugar (g)Protein (g)Salt (g)
Speck Alto Adige PGI ½ Ham, 2.5 kg 297 19 0.5 0.5 31 4.4
Speck Alpino ½ Ham, 2.9 kg 297 19 0.5 0.5 31 4.4
Moser Speck, 70 g 297 19 0.5 0.5 31 4.4

Fior Di Maso

This company is based in the Veneto region, which borders Trentino. Its speck is made using a slightly different method than the other producers on this list, as it employs a slower curing process that involves a longer period of salting and washing, resulting in a more delicate flavor profile. But it is still a high-quality product with a delicious flavor.

You can find whole, sliced, and cut-off Austrian specks on this brand’s website. The following table shows the nutritional information of these specks in 100 grams.

ProductCalories (kcal)Fat (g)Carbohydrates (g)Protein (g)Salt (g)
Austrian Speck 273 15.4 1.6 32.1 4.3
Austrian Speck cut off 1kg 239 12.4 1 31.8 5.5
Sliced Austrian Speck 273 15.4 1.6 32.1 4.3

Martin Speck

This South Tyrolean company has offered a variety of smoked meats and sausages, including its signature speck for 20 years.

On Martin’s website, there are many products listed, such as cheese, bread, different meats, sausage, and specks. Also, there are many different specks available like unsmoked, whole ham, the heart of topside, and many others.

Nocker Walter

It is a family-owned business in Toblach, Italy, producing high-quality speck for generations. Its commitment to traditional methods and using high-quality ingredients has earned it a reputation as one of the best speck producers in the region.

This producer smokes and ages the meats for at least 6 months and sells Alto Adige PGI speck, heart slice speck, Edelweiss speck, diced speck, and Bresaola with different weights.

Conclusion

Speck meat is cured and smoked pork with high levels of protein, moderate fat, and low levels of carbohydrates, which can be used as a nutritious ingredient in many Carnivore diet recipes.

Also, it’s recommended to consult a healthcare professional before adding a high amount of speck meat to your meals, as it may cause problems, especially if you are allergic or are using certain medications like blood pressure medicines.

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