7 Mouthwatering Meats That Are Surprisingly Similar to Prosciutto

Explore delicious meats like coppa, jamón serrano, capicola, ham, bacon, pancetta, and salami as tasty alternatives to prosciutto, each offering unique flavors and versatility for delightful culinary experiences.

what meat is most similar to prosciutto

Prosciutto, a beloved Italian ham, is known for its rich flavor and texture. However, if you want to try something different, there are many other cured meats to explore. In this article, we’ll explore seven delicious options that can rival prosciutto in taste and versatility.

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1. Coppa

Italian slices of coppa, capocollo, capicollo, bresaola or cured ham with rosemary. Raw food.

Often referred to as capicola or capocollo, coppa is a pork-based cured meat hailing from Italy. It’s made from the pig’s upper shoulder or neck region, resulting in a leaner cut compared to other cured meats. Though fattier than prosciutto, coppa boasts a distinct flavor profile that sets it apart. The meat is meticulously spiced, and sealed, then left to cure for at least six months, sometimes even dry-smoked in certain regions.

Depending on where you are, coppa may be marketed based on the specific herbs used in its preparation, such as cinnamon, or labeled as a ‘sweet’ variety, particularly in the US. However, traditional coppa doesn’t contain added sugar. Once sliced, coppa reveals a vibrant red hue with cream-colored fat marbling, making it a visually striking addition to any charcuterie board.

2. Jamón Serrano

Sliced Jamon serrano pork ham meat on a marble board. Black background. Top view.

One cannot talk about cured meats without mentioning Spain’s jamón serrano. Similar to prosciutto, it’s a type of dry-cured ham, but with a flavor that’s robust and more complex owing to its longer aging period. The rear legs of a pig are salted and left to cure for about a year, sometimes even up to two years. This gives the meat a deep, concentrated flavor that’s unmistakably Spanish.

The texture of jamón serrano is slightly firmer than prosciutto’s, and its saltiness is more pronounced. This makes it a fantastic addition to tapas platters, paired with manchego cheese or served on crusty bread with ripe tomatoes for a traditional Spanish breakfast.

3. Capicola

Another worthy contender from Italy is Capicola, also known as Coppa. This cured meat is crafted from the muscle between the pig’s neck and fourth rib. It’s seasoned with garlic, wine, and various herbs before being dry-cured and thinly sliced. The result is tender, flavorful meat with a balance of savory, sweet, and spicy notes.

Capicola has a beautiful marbled appearance due to its fat content, which melts away during cooking, leaving behind succulent, flavorful meat. It’s excellent in sandwiches, salads, pasta, and of course, charcuterie boards.

4. Ham

Delicious cooked ham on a wooden board with green onion, salt and radish.

Perhaps the most familiar meat on this list, ham is a versatile option with countless varieties worldwide. In the context of cured meats similar to prosciutto, we’re looking at dry-cured hams that have been aged for a significant period. These include the likes of French Jambon de Bayonne and American country ham.

While these hams may lack the melt-in-your-mouth quality of prosciutto, they make up for it with their intense, smoky, and salty flavors. Whether enjoyed on its own, paired with cheese, or used to enhance the flavor of cooked dishes, dry-cured ham is a staple that never disappoints.

5. Bacon

Board with raw bacon with spices and rosemary on a black background, very tasty

Yes, bacon. While it’s typically cooked before eating, certain types of dry-cured bacon can be enjoyed as is, much like prosciutto. The process involves curing the pork belly with salt and various spices, and then leaving it to dry for several weeks. The result is a salty, savory meat with a hint of sweetness, owing to the sugar often used in the curing process.

Dry-cured bacon has a firm texture and a robust flavor, making it a great addition to sandwiches, salads, and even desserts. It brings a different kind of smoky, fatty goodness to the table that’s distinctly different yet reminiscent of prosciutto.

6. Pancetta

Rolled Pancetta slices. It is an italian salty pork belly, similar to the bacon. Background and texture,full frame

Another Italian masterpiece, pancetta is often described as Italian bacon. It is made from the pig’s belly, which gives it a good balance of meat and fat. Pancetta is salt-cured and spiced with black pepper, fennel, and sometimes garlic, then rolled into a log and left to dry for a few weeks. The result is a rich, flavorful meat that’s excellent in pasta dishes like carbonara, or simply sliced thin and enjoyed on a charcuterie board. If you’re looking for a prosciutto substitute with a bit more heft, pancetta is worth considering.

7. Salami

Best quality italian salami on old wooden table. Salami. Dried organic salami sausage or spanish chorizo

An umbrella term for a variety of cured meats, salami is another fantastic alternative to prosciutto. Made from ground meat (usually pork), salt, and spices, it’s encased, fermented, and left to air-dry. The process gives salami its characteristic tangy flavor and firm texture. There are numerous types of salami, each with their unique characteristics.

Salami is a versatile cured meat that adds flavor to sandwiches, pizza, and charcuterie boards. While prosciutto is beloved, there are other delicious options like coppa, jamón serrano, capicola, ham, bacon, and pancetta. Expand your culinary horizons and try new cured meats for a delightful and satisfying experience.

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