Salt Pork

I happened across a package of pork fat a few weeks ago, with just a few tiny streaks of lean, in my grocery store’s meat case. It was the only package left, and it cost about a dollar, so I snatched it up, not even knowing what I was going to do with it when I got it home. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed obvious to me: salt pork. Salt pork brings an amazing flavor and texture to Maine baked beans, as well as other dishes such as green beans or sauteed brussels sprouts. We had a large box of coarse kosher salt on hand, so I decided to give it a shot.

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There are a lot of methods out there for making your own salt pork, and most of them involve brining or weighting your nice, fatty meat. I wanted to try something a little simpler, so I placed a layer of coarse kosher salt in the bottom of my 9×11 Pyrex baking dish (but you can use any container with a tight-fitting lid.) I laid the pork fat on top of the salt and poured the remaining salt over it, making sure the fat was completely covered in salt.

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I sealed the container and put it on the bottom shelf in my fridge, where it wouldn’t be in the way. I checked on it a few times, to be sure the salt was drawing the liquid out of the pork fat, and after 7 or 8 days, I removed it from the salt, rinsed and patted it dry, cut it into pieces, and put it in the freezer.

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The real test for this salt pork came, of course, when I used it in a pot of baked beans.

Just as I’d hoped, the salt pork imparted a buttery fattiness and a delightful salty, meaty flavor to my beans. I would never have known that I’d bought it at a fraction of the price of storebought salt pork and salted it myself at home.

 

Fia Marquis

Fia Marquis is a home cook who enjoys gardening, creating recipes, collecting vintage Pyrex, cooking for herself and her husband, and trying to keep up with their toddler and three cats.

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