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What to do with salt pork?

My husband bought salt pork, and I have no idea what to do with it! He thought he bought pork belly (I make a great Filipino lechon), but this does not seem like the same thing. Help!

asked by dcmaggie over 3 years ago
11 answers 2032 views
23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 3 years ago

Often used in baked beans. For fun, you could try adding a slab of it to beans or lentils as they cook, sort of like a ham-hock substitute.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 3 years ago

Salt pork was a staple in the kitchen of my father's aunt who lived in Maine. It was always in baked beans flavoring the beans and keeping the narrow top of the bean pot moist. It was rendered to fry fish. And sometimes it was cubed and fried crisp as a special treat.

401c5804 f611 451f a157 c693981d8eef  mad cow deux
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 3 years ago

Salt pork actually is pork belly but obviously with the addition of salt. Think of it as unsmoked bacon, cured slightly. Per the previous answers it is great with beans and legumes.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 3 years ago

I forgot that when the fat was rendered it was also used to fry dough. This is something, I think, more common to the Native people of the Southwest but I can well remember my grandfather frying bread dough which had been stretched thin and had a couple knife cuts to accompany fried fresh caught fish. It was golden and glorious.

We work hard to eliminate unnecessary fat from our diets today but I'm glad to have the memory of what a special thing it could be.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 3 years ago

Salt pork can be pork belly, pork side or fatback. With the rise in popularity (and therefore price) of pork belly salt pork found in grocery stores today is almost always fatback or pork side.
My favorite way to use it in addition to flavoring beans as previously mentioned is when braising bitter greens such as collards, kale etc. When you do use it be careful because it is much saltier than bacon so adjust your salt at the very end.

401c5804 f611 451f a157 c693981d8eef  mad cow deux
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 3 years ago

Definitely great with collards now that you mention it. Mustard greens too.

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added over 3 years ago

We used to go to Maine in the summer and dig huge hauls of clams. My mother used diced salt pork to flavor the gallons of clam chowder she made - it gave it a distinctive and delicious flavor.

401c5804 f611 451f a157 c693981d8eef  mad cow deux
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 3 years ago

Ah, yes! Clams. In Spain and Portugal chorizo is a common companion to mollusks. So salt pork for sure. It's all salt cured pig.

4798a9c2 4c90 45e5 a5be 81bcb1f69c5c  junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 3 years ago

Salt pork enhances just about anything I can think of... a pot of greens, chowders, baked beans... and you can freeze it if you can't use it all right away.

164ae6cf b233 45ae a461 8d7543fae705  melissa mitchell
added over 3 years ago

My husband is from Maine and we have to keep salt pork in the house at all times. He uses it to start clam, fish, or corn chowder (and he is a master of all three), and, as stated a few times above, for baked beans. I've never thought to use it other ways....so these were good ideas (we have more than enough on hand...).

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 3 years ago

My grandmother used to cut it into very small cubes and cook it until golden brown and add to perogies instead of bacon.