Where to Buy Colorado-Made Salumi — and How to Know What You're Buying

Salumi hanging at Il Porcellino.EXPAND
Salumi hanging at Il Porcellino.
Mark Antonation

In our story about Colorado chefs and butchers who are turning out some world-class cured meats, we threw out quite a few sausage and meat names — some of which aren't very common outside of Italy. But you'll hear them more frequently at various specialty shops around town, which are making the items locally. Here's a primer:

Salumi: Various cuts of meat, primarily pork, preserved in the Italian tradition of smoking, brining, fermenting and/or dry-curing. Some salumi (singular: salume) are cooked and some are not.

Bresaola: Salted and air-dried beef, generally the top round. Bresaola usually takes three months to age and is served in paper-thin, translucent slices.

Calabrese: A coarse-ground, dry-cured sausage from Calabria that is seasoned primarily with spicy red chile peppers.

Coppa: Also called cappacollo (or gabagool, if you're from New Jersey). Coppa is a whole-muscle, dry-cured salume made from a cut from the pork neck. It is often flavored with red wine and is sometimes coated with red-chile powder.

Culatello: A dry-cured salume made from the large muscle on the pork ham. Culatello comes from the same part of the pig as prosciutto but is cut from the bone before curing. The long aging time (at least a year) and the cut of meat means that culatello is one of the most expensive and sought-after of all salumi. The smaller muscle cut from the other side of the ham bone is often made into a cured meat called fiocco.

Whole-muscle meats like coppa (pictured here) and culatello take months to cure.EXPAND
Whole-muscle meats like coppa (pictured here) and culatello take months to cure.
Mark Antonation

Finocchiona: A pork salami flavored with fennel and dry-cured for several months.

Guanciale: Dry-cured pork cheek that ages for only a few weeks. It is used in dishes like the original spaghetti carbonara (where it makes a nice change from standard American bacon) and bucatini all'amatriciana.

Lardo: Pork fatback cured with herbs and spices. It is generally sliced thin and becomes meltingly soft atop warm bread.

Lonza: Cured pork tenderloin. Lonza is similar to coppa but contains much less fat.

Nduja: A very spicy Calabrian sausage that is ground fine and fermented long enough that the result is a spreadable paste.

Pancetta: Pork belly cured in a roll or flat. Unlike American bacon, pancetta is not smoked. Pancetta can be sliced thin and eaten raw or diced for cooking in sauces.

Salami: Fermented and dry-cured pork sausage, which in its simplest form is nothing more than ground pork stuffed into a casing with salt and pepper. There are many regional variations of spices, shapes and sizes.

Saucisson sec: The French equivalent of salami, which can be made with a variety of seasonings.

Soppressata: A chunky, dry-cured pork sausage, usually with large, visible pieces of fat. It is often made with spicy chile powder.

Spalla: Cold-smoked and cured pork shoulder that is often smeared with a layer of lard before curing. The lard is wiped away before the meat is sliced and served.

Spanish chorizo: Unlike fresh Mexican chorizo, Spanish chorizo is a dry-cured sausage generally seasoned with smoked paprika.

Speck: Cured pork ham similar to prosciutto, only cold-smoked before being aged.

Okay, so now that you have the basics, where can you eat some of these great cured meats? Keep reading for a few shops around the metro area, plus some ideas for ordering online.

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