Salt pork, also called white bacon, is pork that has been salt cured. The pork used for preparing it is taken from primal cuts like pork belly, side or fatback. Though it resembles slab bacon, it is not smoked, and is saltier and fattier than bacon.
History of White Bacon
The pork was traditionally used as an item of ration by sailors, who needed preserved food for their long voyages. It was a very common food item during the American Civil War. It is now a part of American culinary culture, and is most commonly used for a dish called Boston baked beans or for vegetables cooked with water. It is usually cooked before use.
Salt Pork Recipe Overview
The basic recipe for brined pork suggests use of pork along with salt and water, but there are different recipes for different cuts of pork. Some brine solutions contain salt as well as sugar, while others may use additional ingredients like corn syrup, maple syrup or artificial sweeteners. Apple cider, wine or seasonings like herbs, berries, and spices like cinnamon, pepper and garlic may be used.
The pork is prepared by allowing the pork pieces to sit in the brine solution in a large pot, which is refrigerated during brining to prevent any bacterial growth. The time taken by the pork for salting will depend upon the cut of pork used, which may be steak, lean or fatty.
Salt Pork Recipes
This type of pork is most often used for larding, i.e. it is sliced and placed across pieces of meat or fish which are low in fat content, as such meat cooks well and is tastier when some form of fat is added during cooking. Meats cooked in this way include beef, mutton, fish and even duck. Here are some popular recipes that make use of this form of pork-
- Broiled fish: This is prepared by searing fish over fire and then cooking slowly, turning the fish frequently to cook well on all sides. After broiling, the fat or brined pork is spread over the fish, as it is difficult to do so during broiling.
- Baked Beans with Pork: It is a simple dish made of baked beans and bacon or salt pork.
- Clam Chowder: Brined pork is used to flavor to Clam Chowder
- String Beans: White bacon is added to string beans during cooking to impart a special flavor to it.
- Boiled vegetables: Brined pork is often used to flavor to boiled vegetables in an English dinner.
Health Benefits of White Bacon
Salt pork is a rich source of high quality protein as well as essential vitamins and minerals including iron, zinc, selenium, phosphorus and B vitamins.