Speck Alto Adige is produced by light smoking of salted pork hind quarters followed by an approximately 22-week-long curing period and the application of a special crust of salt that must never exceed 5% of the final product.
The element shared by all small and large speck producers is their compliance with the “a little salt, a little smoke and a lot of fresh air” rule. Production consists in five phases: selection of raw materials, salting, smoking, curing, inspections and quality marking.
To produce Speck Alto Adige PGI lean, firm pork thighs are used. The hind quarters are selected according to the criteria defined in the raw materials specifications and trimmed following traditional methods. They are branded with the date of production start as reference for later inspections.
The speck hams are salted and flavoured with a mixture of aromas (salt, pepper, juniper, rosemary and bay). They are then dry-corned for three weeks at controlled temperatures and turned over various times to help the corning penetrate.
Then the hams are exposed alternately to the smoking and to the drying phases. The smoking phase is light and is done over low-resin wood so as not to give the speck too strong a flavour, and the smoke temperature must never exceed 20 °C.
In the final phase, the hams are cured by being put up to dry in rooms pervaded by fresh air. The ageing period is defined considering the final weight of the ham, and usually lasts about 22 weeks. In this phase, a natural layer of aromatic mould forms on the hams and is then removed at the end of the ageing process. The mould layer finishes off the characteristic taste of the speck and prevents it from becoming excessively dry.
The speck that meets the production criteria imposed by the production standards and that has passed controls is fire-branded in 4 different places of the rind with the specific seal
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