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Salt pork again

by on August 22, 2009
Salt pork in vacuum bag

Salt pork in vacuum bag

I used up my first batch of salt pork (which I made eons ago) for things like baked beans. I had used the recipe from Jenifer McLagan’s book on Fat — A wonderful book! Well worth the money. — The salt pork was good. It was salty, but suited the baked beans and such well. The process is to rub a salt/spice mixture into a piece of pork belly with skin (I don’t have any with skin; oh well, seemed to work out fine) and then put it in a glass baking dish with a little more salt/spice mix. Give it a couple of days, pour off the liquid, add the rest of the salt/spice mix, give it another couple of days, then rinse pat dry and use.

Well for my first batch, I didn’t want to hassle with a glass baking dish in the fridge. I just put the belly (no skin) in a zip-top bag (in the words of Alton Brown) and half of the mixture. Gave it two days, added the rest of the mixture and then followed the rest of the directions from there. For my second batch, however, I wanted more of the spices to come through in the flavor. In addition, I wanted to experiment with a longer cure time and the use of vacuum. Basically

– Pork belly and entire salt/spice mixture (double the spices, remember!) in a food saver bag

– Vacuumed and stored in the refrigerator for about a month

– Every couple of days, I kneaded the bag to distribute the mixture and juices that were developing

-Placed the bag in the freezer for a week or so (Yeah, kind of odd. Someone was trying to make room in the fridge and put it in the freezer. Accidents are amazing some of the time!)

-Removed from the freezer and put back in the fridge (and proceeded to forget about it for another week or so. Whoops!)

– Finally opened the bag and cut into the salt pork

DSC03521Results: beautiful color. Flavor and taste were much improved over the first batch which I suspect is due to both the extra spices and the extra cure time (but will have to try each variable separately in the future to see if my suspension is true). It was a little bit salty just sliced and cooked up like bacon. However, soaking the slices in some lukewarm water for five minutes and then cooking (just like a piece of country ham) removed the excess saltiness and produced both a wonderful piece of fried salt pork and some amazing tasting rendered fat!

Ideas for its use: SPLT (Salt Pork Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich), breakfast meat, seasoning for black eyed peas, rendered fat, toast pan fried with the rendered fat to accompany a nice salad, lardons substitution, etc


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