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Depending on where you live in the world, you may or may not be used to the fine delicacy of cured meats like prosciutto or other dry-cured meat.
But, if you are fortunate enough to have tried some before, then you may be looking to expand your repertoire and add in a few new types that you are unfamiliar with.
I’ve been fascinated with prosciutto and cured meats for decades hence, why I created this resource site all about cured meats!
I wanted to highlight some other treats that are similar but different. These just about all fall into the ‘dry cured‘ meat category.
Cured Italian Meat Similar to Prosciutto
- Coppa/Capicola/Capocollo: dry cured meat from the upper loin of the pig, often with subtle spicing
- Pancetta: dry-cured pork belly sliced thinly or used for cooking classic dishes like carbonara
- Guanciale: dry cured jowl of the pig; many Italian consider this part the best fat on the pig
- Speck: Central European style of dry-cured meat, cold smoked from either the pork belly or part of the hind leg.
Cured Meats From Other Countries, Like Prosciutto
- Jamon Serrano (Spain): Spanish cured ham typically made from white pigs, known for its rich flavor and firm texture.
- Jamon Iberico (Spain and Portugal): A delicacy made from Iberian pigs, prized for its marbling and unique taste.
- Bayonne Ham (France): French cured ham similar to prosciutto, typically made in the Adour River region.
- Schwarzwälder Schinken (Germany): Also known as Black Forest ham, a smoked and dry-cured ham from the Black Forest region in Germany.
- Kassler (Germany): Cured and slightly smoked cut of pork, often the neck or loin.
Cured meats similar to prosciutto differ in how they are prepared (spiced, cured), and the muscle area of the animal; like prosciutto, all are dry cured meats, traditionally taking many months to dry to perfection and be produced.
Legs of dry-cured ham in France, Croatia, Spain, Montenegro, and China are all salt-cured and dried similar are similar in style to Prosciutto.
Most use direct dry salt rubbed in; some use a salt brine – once cured, they are hung to dry – and sometimes smoked.
- Iberian Jamon (Spain)
- Jambon (France)
- Prsut (Montenegrin)
- Posedarski pršut (Croatian)
- Jinhua (China)
More often than not, the various parts of a pig are used for meat that is to be cured. Though you can cure beef and other meat sources in a similar manner, this article will focus on the more traditional pork-based meats – often in classic Italian called salumi.
Some of My Favorite Popular Cured Meats Similar to Prosciutto
A Spanish version of the Italian prosciutto, the unique difference is the indigenous black European pigs are fed a lot of acorns from oak trees.
This gives the dry-cured meat a unique subtle nutty flavor.
One of my favorite and most special dry-cured meats, it is often hung to dry and intensifies in flavor up to and above 5 years.
1 year in the minimum to produce this style.
Coppa, Capicola, or Capocollo (Italy), is a pork-based cured meat that is spiced to perfection before being sealed, cased, and left to cure for 6 months (or more).
Do note, however, that this meat has been found to be dry-smoked rather than cured in some Italian regions, though the curation process is what really gives it its historical flavor and appeal.
This cut of meat is from the upper shoulder/neck region of the pig and tends to be leaner than other types of cured meats, though it is fattier than the classic prosciutto.
You can find coppa/capicola/capocollo marketed in different ways depending on the region you are in. Generally, this is sold based on its “flavor” insinuated by the various herbs that were used in its preparation process.
For example, if cinnamon is common. Or, it could be sold as a “sweet” variety- more common in the US. Traditional coppa does not have sugar added.
Coppa/capicola/capocollo is sliced very thinly, though you can see its bright red coloration and cream-colored fat marbling throughout. It is a great choice to substitute (or pair with) prosciutto on a charcuterie board for your upcoming social event.
Pancetta is a very popular cured meat that resembles the ever-famous prosciutto. If you are unfamiliar with it, you might even mistake it for fancy bacon, but it is so much more.
This cured meat option comes with its own history, flavor, and place on your charcuterie board.
Pancetta is known for its salty flavor, though you will notice hints of pepper and other common spices infused as well. It is commonly used worldwide, though its history boasts of Italian origins- common with many cured types of meat.
Like other cured meat types, pancetta comes from the pig’s underbelly. You will notice that pancetta has a wholesome ratio of fat and meat, which gives this cured meat option such a priced place in the industry = fat is flavor.
When placed on a charcuterie board (or another serving dish), it is common to find this meat wrapped in a circle resembling a croissant or donut, depending on the host’s preference.
Pancetta is probably one of the most commonly substituted cured meats when prosciutto is unavailable, but it has a place of its own in many popular vegetable and pasta dishes of its own.
Guanciale is one of the fattiest cured meats that is included on this list.
I’ve made many variations, however. Just like quality prosciutto if you just use salt and good quality pork – the meat will speak for itself.
Speck is another cured meat similar to prosciutto, though it is usually sliced even thinner- but it can be served similarly. This cured meat option also has Italian and European roots.
The cut of meat that speck comes from is most often its hind legs, which usually provides it with a more meaty portion compared to the fat that is attached. Speck is also unique in its curation process. Not only is it prepared with loads of unique spices that add flavor to this option, but it is also a commonly smoked meat.
Either sliced thinly or used in the kitchen, the German variations and other countries in Europe have slight variations in Speck and it can be found in often.