Fatback is a solid slab of pork fat similar to bacon but with more fat content. Curing it with salt allows it to remain fresh for long periods. Once cooked, fatback adds moisture and flavor to greens, beans, potatoes or any dish it is served alongside.
If using salted fatback, rinse it to reduce saltiness before microwaving to quickly and easily prepare the meat.
Salt pork is a hard slab of fat from the back of a pig that can be cut into slices, cubed, or ground and used in many recipes to add flavor and moisture. While black eyed peas and beans often use it, other dishes such as sausage, meatloaf and ground meat also often include this delicious ingredient. Frying, baking or adding it into soups is all possible too – some chefs even soak their pork overnight to reduce its saltiness before briefly boiling then flouring prior to frying for best results – perfect as an appetizer snack or as part of an entree dish!
To prepare salt pork, start by removing its skin and any visible fat, rinsing thoroughly to eliminate all traces of dirt, cutting it into large cubes or strips, placing them over medium heat in a pan, stirring occasionally to prevent burning – this process is called “curing,” taking several days but producing an exceptional piece of meat which will remain shelf stable.
Once cured, salt pork should be drained of any remaining brine and excess dry salt, and stored in a glass container in the fridge. Some cooks opt to place their salt pork pieces back into a separate plastic bag and freeze for several hours to help make them more malleable before draining again, flouring, and deep-frying in small batches until golden brown – this method of preparation often serves up New Year’s Eve when served alongside black eyed peas, greens and beans as a sign of good luck.
Salt pork can also be added to casseroles and soups, baked in pie crust, mixed into meatballs or meatloaves and used as an alternative to bacon when making breakfast eggs. Furthermore, thin slices can be rolled and placed inside leaner cuts of meat or poultry when roasting as an effective way of adding both flavor and juicy texture.
Fatback is an integral component of many global cuisines, lending flavor and texture to many dishes. Common applications of fatback include forcemeat concoctions such as terrines and rillettes; adding it to smoked meat products like ham and sausage; as well as stews such as cassoulet. Sliced fatback can even be deep fried as crackling. Rendered fatback may even be used instead of butter or cooking oil when sauteeing because its melting point is higher.
Fatback can be cooked best when baked in an oven at about 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes at thin slices, giving a crispy texture and light golden-brown color. If desired, additional 10 to 15 minutes may be added for additional crispiness and deeper golden hue.
A rimmed baking pan works well for this task, as its walls prevent any of the pieces from moving during their preparation. If desired, parchment paper can be placed beneath them to collect any drippings as you season your fatback for use in stews, soups and other recipes.
Fatback can also be cured to create bacon-esque strips of pork fat for use as a replacement in breakfast dishes, using the “larding” process. When cooking raw or cured fatback in the microwave, crispier strips may result than those made in skillet or oven cooking methods.
Raw and cured fatback is an easy way to add flavor and moisture to any ground meat-based recipe, particularly Southern and soul food dishes that include greens and beans as a side dish. Incorporating it as filler in burgers, meatloaf or any other dishes containing ground beef keeps them moist while helping maintain texture in these items. However, because fatback has such high moisture levels it can cause items to shrink if too much fatback is added at once; to prevent this happening make sure the fatback is well chilled before mixing it in with ground beef before mixing the two together.
While fatback may seem like an unusual choice of meat, it has many culinary uses. From replacing bacon in dishes with its distinctive smoky taste to barding leaner meats or roasts to add moisture and enhance browning; rendering into lard for use in pastries; to being cut into strips and deep fried into chicharones (crunchy cracklings). While historically fatback has been associated with lower classes due to containing little to no meat content; today modern chefs are discovering creative uses for fatback’s versatility in modern culinary applications!
To prepare fatback for cooking, start by giving it a good rinse in order to remove any dirt or residue that has settled on its surface. Next, pat it dry using paper towels before cutting it into approximately half-inch thick pieces for barding purposes or long enough for wrapping around roasts and pieces of meat. Finally, tie all pieces of fatback together using kitchen twine.
Once the fatback is ready, fry it in a skillet on the stove to give it crispier texture and more robust smoky flavor – ideal for many recipes calling for cured meats. After it has been fried, make sure that any excess oil has been drained off before storing your fatback for use later.
Preparing fatback can be easy, and the results more than justify the effort. With its smokier flavor and crispier texture, fried fatback makes an irresistibly delicious snack or can add extra depth of flavor to many other recipes. Plus, frying fatback helps other ingredients become more flavorful and juicy, which can be particularly advantageous when working with less expensive cuts of meat or poultry.
Fatback (hog jowls) are an indispensable ingredient in some cuisines, adding richness and flavor while being easy to cook – ideal for many different dishes! Fatback can be cut into strips or small cubes and cooked as you would bacon; use it in soups, stews and casseroles or fry it to create cracklings – often eaten as snacks! Additionally, use fatback in making gravy!
Cooked fatback has a much longer shelf life than its raw counterpart, lasting up to one week in the refrigerator and making an ideal substitute for bacon when cooking something with less meat. Furthermore, it can also be used in various forcemeat creations like terrines and rillettes as well as being used to line molds for pate making.
Soul food restaurants across the southern United States use it to add a smoky flair to dishes like collard greens and beans, or stews to keep meat moist while preservative wraps protect cuts of meat from spoilage. Made through a process similar to salt curing without using nitrates as preservatives makes this form of curing less salty than bacon; some people even use it instead for pork belly or lardons!
Fatback can be prepared in many different ways, but one of the easiest methods is frying it on the stovetop. This method requires little skill or knowledge and works on any type of stove. When prepping fatback for this method, remove any rind or skin before cutting into slices or cubes – scoring will allow better meat rendering during frying.
When frying fatback, it is crucial that the appropriate type of stove be chosen. Gas or electric stoves provide greater control of heat while speeding up cooking time. In addition, you will require either a deep-frying pan or pot with lid that can accommodate the meat when being fried.