As we all know, salt pork is basically a salted huge slab of pork belly. It goes through the process of curing which makes its shelf life last longer instead of buying a fresh slab of pork meat. It has a lot of culinary use in making beans, stews, and stuffings for extra flavor and meaty goodness.
However, if you’re vegan or trying to stay away from pork, this might not be a good option for you. You can substitute salt pork with smoked salmon, flavored olive oil, salted butter, beef jerky, or cured vegetables.
Salt Pork Substitutes
Here are the reasons why you should consider these 5 substitutes for salt pork in your next dish.
1. Smoked Salmon
In Europe, smoked salmon is a well-loved breakfast staple that goes well with brotchen and a side of cheese. Instead of having salt pork for breakfast, this is a better substitute to make that tasty sandwich. Smoked salmon is also salty and highly flavorful, an excellent ingredient for pasta, casseroles, and even stir-fried dishes.
For the many pescatarian individuals, this is their very own bacon because it’s fatty, delicious but healthy. If you prefer another type of fish, you can always find another variant of smoked fish in the market. Much better if you use fish produce that is readily available in your area.
2. Flavored Olive Oil
To step up the flavor of the dish just like how salt pork does, use flavored olive oil instead of the regular one. You can find different variants of flavored olive oil like garlic, chili, truffle, basil, rosemary, lemon zest, and sun-dried tomatoes. These infused olive oils bring much flavor, aroma, and goodness to the dish especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan.
Keeping up with a healthy lifestyle wouldn’t be so hard anymore when you’re trying to stay away from animal products like pork. You can use flavored olive oil for your salad dressings, sauteing, stir-fried dishes, soups, and stews.
3. Salted Butter
Another great substitute to look at is salted butter. Nowadays, you can find dairy or vegan salted butter whichever you prefer. So it’s totally safe for whatever diet you’re following. If you like to achieve the flavorful and fatty goodness of salt pork, it’s best to opt for salted butter instead of the unsalted one.
The unsalted butter doesn’t offer that much flavor aside from the aroma. If you like baked beans with pork, make it more vegan friendly and just add a good amount of salted butter. Add some mushrooms or zucchini to replace that meaty texture in the dish.
4. Beef Jerky
When giving up meat is hard but you don’t eat pork, you should consider using beef jerky instead. Beef jerky is also salted, cured but smoked, unlike salt pork. Beef jerky is usually a great snack when you’re driving, camping, studying, or for just whatever you’re doing. It has a great shelf life, no wonder it’s one of the best choices for stacking up some survival food.
Aside from being a great delicious snack, beef jerky can replace salt pork. Try it in your favorite baked/stew beans, chowder, and other ingredients to add some of that savory flavor. Using beef jerky wouldn’t feel like you’re missing out on that meaty texture that your favorite dish calls for.
5. Cured Vegetables
Another vegan or vegetarian-friendly alternative for salt pork is cured vegetables. Curing vegetables has long been practiced by our ancestors to preserve last season’s harvest for a long period of time. Since it’s salted and cured, it’s highly flavorful and aromatic. Some of the cured vegetables that you should look at are tomatoes, eggplants, garlic, onions, and potatoes.
Convert your favorite meat-based recipes into vegan by replacing meat with cured vegetables. The difference with using cured vegetables instead of fresh ones is the additional flavor, smokiness, and aroma in the dish.
I highly recommend it when making pasta sauces, lasagna, casseroles, and even in stews. Rest assured the dish is healthier, lower in calories but packed in minerals and vitamins.
How do you use salt pork?
Salt pork is a great addition to stews, casseroles, and soups if you like the higher definition of flavor and aroma. The salt that preserves the pork lets you achieve a flavor-rich dish which saves you from adding more salt or spices in the dish.
Is salt pork the same as bacon?
Technically, no. Salt pork is a salted big piece of pork and cured. While bacon which is also cured has thinner meat and can be cooked directly to the pan. Salt pork needs to be rinsed first before cooking to get rid of excess salt.
How long does salt pork last?
Salt pork is highly impressive when it comes to shelf life. When you store it at room temperature, it can last for about two weeks. When stored in the fridge, it can last for about 5 months and if frozen, it can last until a year.
Can you cook salt pork the same as bacon?
Due to the higher salt content of salt pork, it needs to be rinsed with water or even boiled to take away the extra salt. Whereas with bacon, it has a good amount of salt that you can eventually cook it straight to the pan.
How do you know if salt pork is spoiled?
First, you need to do the smell test. If the salt pork is already spoiled, it will give off a foul sour smell. Do not cook or consume once it starts to get this kind of odor. Discard immediately and disinfect the area where you stored it.
Salt pork is undeniably flavor, affordable, and good survival food, especially in the long winter season. But it’s good to know that you can find great substitutes from it if you don’t eat pork or just keeping track of your diet. But remember, that every food taken in excess contents is never good and has to be moderated at all times.