Salt pork is sometimes called white bacon – which when a gun is made “in the white” it means not finished or blued – this is apt because salt port is basically unfinished (unsmoked) bacon. Salt pork is much more salty than bacon, is not flavored cured or smoked.
Historically it was used as a ration aboard ship – or as traveling rations for military troops. Now salt port is used as a flavoring agent in beans or greens.
To make it you could just go back to the homemade bacon article and omit all the tasty parts, but to make it easy we will show a recipe specifically for Saltpork.
When making salt pork for food preservation, you would use more salt – and typically would boil it to remove salt and fry it
- Pork belly (5-6 pounds)
- Curing Salt
- Obtain a whole, raw pork belly. I bought mine at an international market. The better quality meat, the better your final product will be.
- You can remove the skin (which is great for making cracklings), or leave it on – I have read on various sites and books differing arguments on which is better, and I have tried both. Skin on is easier, but can cause the pork to curve as it cures due to the difference in permeability. Skin off is harder, but you end up with skin to make cracklings.
- Trim the edges of the belly so they are square with a clean cut.
- Spread approximately 1/8 cup of the dry-cure mix out and dredge one side of the belly in it until you have a nice even coating.
- Pour on another 1/8 cup of the mix and do the same to the other side and the edges.
- Rub it in with your (gloved) hands.
- Carefully slide the belly into a zip lock bag. Alternatively, you don’t have to use a bag, place it in a large non-reactive bowl or dish. Just be aware the salt will pull out a lot of moisture and the bag keeps everything from turning into a mess. (If making salt pork for storage, fill a container with salt, throw in the pork, cover, and repeat until out of meat or space.)
- Every 48 hours flip the belly over. This helps evenly distribute the brine for a better cure.
Different bellies will give up more water than others. Expect anywhere from 1/2 cup to almost 2 cups.
In my experience bellies with the skin attached will be wetter than skinless ones.
It will take 7-10 days to cure, depending on size, thickness etc… They are done curing when the meat is no longer squishy and springy like raw meat. It will have a consistency close to but with slightly more give than silly putty.
If stored in an airtight container the should keep for a several months in the fridge, even longer if kept under salt, Vacuum sealed and frozen will give it an even longer shelf life.