Salt pork is a great flavor enhancer that is usually added in small amounts to boost the tastes of several vegetable and meat-based dishes. It adds a strong flavor to traditional baked beans dishes because of its high fat and salt content.
It’s made using the salt-cured fat from the lower sides of the pig and should be blanched to control the amount of salt it adds to every recipe.
Finding a good salt pork substitute will allow you to experiment with different flavors if you can’t find salt pork. There are also good vegetarian alternatives that you can add to your recipes.
The best substitutes for salt pork
Salt pork is used to add a salty, meaty flavor to your dishes. In some cases, salt pork is used as a source of fat that provides a strong aroma. It has a distinctive flavor and can be used to enhance the flavors of the other ingredients in classic bread stuffing, delicious casserole, fish chowder, and even sandwiches.
It is a cheap ingredient that you can use to add meat’s flavor and a unique savory taste to multiple dishes and recipes. However, before using it in a recipe, you need to soak salt pork overnight, or at least for a couple of hours, to draw out as much salt as you can.
Salt pork is a great flavor enhancer that can be used in several vegetable and meat dishes. It has an intense flavor, but it’s not smoky.
The salt is extracted from the fats and is later crushed into fine pieces that add a crunchy texture.
However, in some cases, you might not have easy access to salt pork, or the flavor might be a little bit overpowering.
Moreover, in vegetable stews and baked dishes, you might consider using a vegetarian substitute for salt pork that blends well with other ingredients.
There are several versatile salt pork substitutes that can deliver the same crispy texture with a delicious flavor and aroma. Each option will work in a different recipe, depending on your preferences.
Bacon is the perfect substitute for salt pork in baked beans. It delivers a very close flavor and can be used as a delicious seasoning. Bacon is also easy to find, and there are several versions that you can get from the supermarket.
You can find bacon with lots of flavorings, so you need to stick to the unflavored non-smoked version to replace salt pork in your dishes. Plain bacon doesn’t contain all the extra flavorings that change its taste, so it won’t overpower the other ingredients in your dish.
Salt pork contains more fats than bacon and is also saltier. If you’re using it to flavor a stew or a baked dish, you need to add more fats to your recipe.
When you’re using bacon to substitute salt pork, you can use the same amount to deliver the same tasty flavor and aroma. Moreover, you don’t need to soak bacon as you do with salt pork, so it will work for you if you’re in a hurry.
Pancetta is Italian bacon that contains less fat than salt pork. In addition, pancetta is not smoked, so it delivers a delicious taste to your dishes and works great for several recipes.
The intense porky flavor and taste of pancetta make it an excellent salt pork substitute in recipes where you need to add the meat.
Pancetta is sold in rolls and can be found in specialty markets. It’s a little bit hard to cut due to the high-fat content. However, you can freeze it for half an hour, and this will help the knife to cut through it easily.
3. Smoked Ham Hock
Smoked ham hock is an excellent option to replace salt pork if you want something that adds flavor and texture. Unlike salt pork which doesn’t contain bones, smoked ham hock is made of bones, fat, connective tissue, and some meat, so it’s richer and denser when used in recipes.
Also known as pork knuckles, ham hock needs to simmer, so it can be used in slow-cooking dishes and stews. The smoked version is salted and cured, so it will be a great base for your sauce. It takes more time to prepare and has a different flavor, but it can be a good alternative to cured salt pork.
4. Beef Jerky
If you don’t eat pork, you can use beef jerky in your recipes to enhance their flavors. Beef jerky is a delicious snack and is usually eaten when you’re camping or have no access to cooking equipment. It also has an extraordinary shelf life, so it can be kept until it’s needed.
Beef jerky is salted and smoked, so you can use it to replace smoked salt pork in a stew, chowder, and baked beans. It combines saltiness with meatiness in all the delicious recipes that call for salt pork.
5. Smoked Salmon
Smoked salmon has a delicious flavor and can be incorporated in stuffing, stir-fry recipes, as well as sandwiches. It can be used to replace salt pork if you need a fatty ingredient that delivers a different flavor.
Smoked salmon pairs well with cheese in breakfast sandwiches and can be added in small amounts to enhance a stew or a pasta sauce. If you’re a pescatarian, smoked salmon will be a perfect source of fat and salt in your recipe.
6. Cured Vegetables
Using cured vegetables is an interesting way to convert your recipes to a vegetarian-friendly version. Instead of using salt pork, cured vegetables are smoked and salted to add a rich flavor and complement the other ingredients in your dish.
You can use cured tomatoes, eggplants, onions, garlic, and green peppers. They’re packed with healthy nutrients, and they’re smoked to add a distinctive flavor and aroma. You can use cured vegetables instead of salt pork in pasta sauces, stews, and casseroles.
If you use salt pork in your recipe as a source of fat and to add flavor, fatback will be a good substitute. This is the fat collected from the pig’s back, and it adds a delicious aroma and taste to your dishes.
Use fatback in stews and sauces to enrich the taste of dishes that come from the southern states in the USA. Fatback can also be seasoned and served as an appetizer.
When used in preparing to stuff, you need to be careful about the amount of salt you add to your dish. You need to use it in moderate amounts, so it doesn’t overpower the other ingredients in your recipe. However, it still has a more subtle taste than salt pork because it doesn’t contain meat.
8. Salted Butter
Salted butter can be the perfect choice if you’re cooking with salt pork to add delicious fats to your dish. The added salt is a great addition, although salted butter is still more subtle than salt pork.
You can use vegetarian salted butter to prepare various vegetable dishes. You can also add mushrooms to your vegetable mix to have some meatiness.
9. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a healthy and delicious substitute that you can use in your dishes instead of salt pork. Cooking with salt pork isn’t the best option if you’re trying to watch your cholesterol intake, and in this case, olive oil will work better.
You can replace one ounce of salt pork with a tablespoon of olive oil to add the needed fats to your dish. Since it doesn’t deliver the same flavor, you can use olive oil in a recipe that calls for using salt pork as a source of fat.
If plain olive oil seems too dull for you, you can find several flavored versions. Olive oil can come in several versions that contain lemon zest, chili, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, or truffle. Just try different versions until you find that fits your recipe.
How to choose a salt pork substitute
There are a lot of delicious alternatives that you can consider if you want to replace salt pork in your recipe.
Bacon delivers the closest taste and aroma to salt pork. Pancetta also works as it has an intense porky flavor. Both options work if you want to add meatiness to your dish.
Smoked ham hock will work for you if you’re preparing a sauce, soup, or stew. It has a smoky flavor, so it will work for you if you’re fond of salt pork’s flavor.
If you can’t eat pork for any reason, you can use beef jerky instead. It can be used to flavor dishes as it adds a tasty smoky flavor.
If you don’t eat pork or any red meat, you can use smoked salmon as a flavor enhancer. It can be incorporated in a stuffing or a stir-fry dish.
You can transform your recipe into a vegetarian version by replacing salt pork with cured vegetables. They’re salty and will blend well with the other ingredients in your stews and casseroles.
If you’re preparing a recipe that calls for the use of salt pork as a source of fat, you can substitute it for fatback. It has a more subtle flavor than salt pork.
Salted butter and olive oil can also be used in your recipes. Flavored olive oil will add interesting flavors and aromas to your dishes.