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His bacon tastes good!!

Thomas Ploner is a diehard “Lajener”. In the Metzgerei Ploner butchers shop, the 30-year-old follows closely guarded recipes passed down over the generations to produce irresistible specialities, including the Laion Speck (bacon), which is lightly smoked and, in an age-old tradition, matured in the fresh mountain air. But one thing at a time...

“Where possible, I like to choose the animal personally at my brother Matthias’ farm or at other local farms,” explains the young butcher. Thomas takes a leg of pork and shows with a practiced hand how to remove the bone. After trimming, the piece of meat is given a tag made from string and is rubbed with a spice mix comprising of salt, pepper, garlic, juniper berries and bay leaves. Thomas doesn’t want to reveal the exact ingredients – this is as much as he’ll give away: “The recipe comes from my great-grandfather.”

Covered with a thin layer of spice, the meat sits in a tub for about two weeks. The salt extracts water from the meat. Every second day, Thomas has to turn the ham over, restack and carefully douse it with its own juice. Once the spices are well absorbed, he hangs the Speck up in the “Selchkuchl” to smoke and dry.

For the fire, I use oak chips, which don’t have much resin and give off a good aroma, and add in juniper shrubs.

Thomas Ploner

In the “Selchkuchl” smoking room, the Speck stays hung up for around three weeks and is exposed to the smoke from the wood fire. “After the smoking, it continues to dry; this requires nothing more than the fresh mountain air of Laion,” says Thomas. It’s abundantly clear that he is absolutely passionate about his work. As soon as the Speck has lost about 40 percent of its water, it goes into the cellar to mature. According to Thomas, that is one of the key factors in manufacturing good Speck. “As soon as the bacon rind starts to get its golden yellow colour, the Laion Speck is ready – and is a real treat for the taste buds.”

I make the Speck in exactly the same way as my great-grandfather did.

Information about Metzgerei Ploner

The Ploner butchers shop has been producing original South Tyrolean meat and sausage specialities since 1842. In addition to the Speck, gourmet food fans should definitely try the spicy “Kaminwurzen”, a smoked dry sausage.

Telephone: +39 0471 655682

Email: thomas.ploner(at)

Address: Walther-von-der-Vogelweide-Straße 39a – 39040 Laion

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