What Could Be Better Than Bacon? These Cured Meats

What Could Be Better Than Bacon? These Cured Meats

Bacon may make everything better, but it's certainly not the only cured meat in the game, nor should it be the only cured meat you use in the kitchen. Now is the time to start exploring the whole wide world of cured meats.


Chorizo, Spanish dry-cured smoked pork sausage (as opposed to fresh Mexican chorizo), is flavored with garlic and smoked Spanish pimentón (like paprika).


Coppa, also known as capicola (and sometimes pronounced gabagool) is a dry-cured Italian shoulder ham seasoned with wine, herbs, and spices.


Guanciale is Italian cured pork jowl (cheek); it's a fatty cured meat that is traditionally used in spaghetti carbonara and other classic pastas.


The same whole ham that you might make for Christmas or Easter tastes great diced up and pan-fried.


Pancetta is the Italian version of bacon and needs to be cooked before it's eaten, but it isn't smoked like bacon.


Prosciutto doesn't need to be cooked like bacon or pancetta because it is air-dried, and has a more subtle flavor than the two — though it also crisps up nicely if fried gently with a little olive oil.

Serrano Ham

Serrano ham is the Spanish version of Italian prosciutto, not typically used for cooking. The most expensive and highly regarded version of serrano ham is jamón ibérico de bellota, named after the black Iberian pigs that eat nothing but acorns before slaughter.


Soppressata is an Italian dried salami made with different parts of the pig depending on its region of origin. Hot soppressata can be used in place of pepperoni or bacon.


Speck is an Italian cured meat similar to prosciutto, except it is cold-smoked and air-dried. Use speck as you would bacon, especially in salads and pasta dishes.