Spek is pork fat usually cut in slabs from the belly of a baconer. It can also refer to fat from cured or smoked pork. In South Africa it is used in the making of boerewors and in various other preparations. Spek is also the Afrikaans word for bacon.
Spek, alternate spelling speck, is also popular in Germany and other European countries where it is used as the basic fat for browning and adding flavour to vegetables, soups, stews, savoury pastries, etc.
It is easy to cut into slices, squares or dice and, when the fat is rendered, there are delicious crispy bits left to add extra flavour and texture to a dish. Thin strips of spek are also used for larding beef cuts such as aitchbone and bolo to make them more succulent as they tend to be somewhat dry and lacking in fat.
When a recipe calls for spek and it is not available, fatty streaky bacon or belly of pork with a good proportion of fat, may be used instead.
Category: South African Cuisine