Fatback is a staple in soul food dishes such as black-eyed peas and collard greens. Not only is it deep fried, but fatback can also be baked or added to soups and stews.
Cooking techniques vary, but all should yield light, golden brown and crispy results. Boiling or microwaving may work for shorter cooking times while baking is recommended for longer.
Fatback is the tough, fatty meat from a pig’s back that can be cut, diced, ground or left whole for use in many dishes. A favorite New Year’s Eve dish in the South includes deep-frying it along with black-eyed peas and greens as a symbolic way of welcoming in good fortune for 2019. If fatback cannot be found at your local grocery store or is too costly, other cuts of fatty pork such as belly are an alternative option.
Salting fatback before cooking is a key step to prolong its flavor and enhance its preservation. For optimal results, use coarse or kosher salt when seasoning the meat – as this allows it to penetrate all areas, making sure every part is evenly covered by seasoning. When seasoning fatback meat make sure it has been well dried prior to applying salt so as to reach all corners and crevices so as to guarantee complete coverage of flavor throughout.
Unsalted fatback is often used to line baking dishes when making pates and terrines, protecting their delicate filling from being exposed to the high temperature in the oven and adding richness to the finished product. Barding or larding techniques may also be employed when marinating lean cuts of meat to keep them moist during their cook.
Fatback can provide similar flavor profiles as bacon when prepared and is frequently substituted in recipes. Not only is fatback less costly and faster to prepare than bacon, it is also healthier as it contains less saturated fat content than its counterpart.
Microwaving fatback is an efficient and less-messy method of cooking it, ideal for fast breakfasts or healthy snacks like green beans. Place the fatback in a microwave-safe bowl or container and cover loosely with paper towel; heat in the microwave for four to six minutes for best results. Finished products can then be enjoyed as snacks with vegetables or added to lean meat dishes to prevent drying out, or folded into omelets for an unforgettable breakfast treat!
Uncooked fatback has an indefinite shelf life in the refrigerator and will be more easily and evenly ground if kept cold before cutting or grinding. Chilling also helps ensure an even distribution of ground particles during grinding processes.
Fatback (commonly referred to as streaky pork), also known as streaky pork, adds richness and flavor to any dish. Extracted from the back of a pig’s back, this versatile cut includes subcutaneous fat layers as well as skin (known as the rind). When used for homemade sausage it adds moisture while imparting irresistible bacon-like aroma; alternatively it can also add moisture while imparting delicious aroma when added as filler into ground meat dishes such as tacos or meatloaf; this way it adds juicy aroma!
Fresh or salt-cured fatback is frequently added to long-cooking dishes like soups, stews and casseroles to add richness and extend their cook times. This frugal approach uses inexpensive pork efficiently and is popularly found in classic comfort foods such as New England-style clam chowder or Southern-style collard greens dishes.
Fatback is an integral component of many forcemeat combinations, such as terrines and rillettes, sausages and other cured meats, stews and braises – not forgetting a great alternative for replacing ham in pea soup!
Fatback skin can be quickly and easily turned into chicharones, or crisp cracklings, using this oven method. After resting and patting dry with paper towels, slice into 1/3-inch slices before spreading evenly across a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper before placing in a cold oven until crisp; approximately 35 minutes should do it! Remove pan from oven before transferring slices onto plate lined with paper towels for draining purposes.
Though most cooks opt for frying their fatback, you can also bake it in an oven. The key to creating a successful roast lies in selecting a piece with equal portions of fat and lean meat; cut or score skin as necessary before placing pieces in cold heavy-duty oven at 350F and baking for an hour until lightly crispy and golden in colour.
Fatback can be prepared in several different ways: fried, microwaved or oven-baked to achieve its light brown, crunchy texture when prepared according to recipe specifications. Chefs frequently use fatback as an ingredient that adds a bacon-like taste and aroma to other recipes – often used for southern-style yams, green beans and casserole dishes but also in soups, stews and gumbo.
Frying fatback is an efficient and quick way to prepare it, but proper cooking technique must be observed if crisp slices are to result. Flipping may be necessary for even crispness; once completed, fatback should be drained on a plate lined with paper towels so as to remove excess oil – otherwise an unpleasant odor could develop as the fat deteriorates and cooks out over time.
Slices of fatback may also be added to leaner sections of meat or poultry to add flavor and enhance texture to finished dishes. This process, known as larding, can be completed using an instrument known as a larding needle, or simply by inserting fatback strips in a roasting pan during their entire cooking time.
Fatback can also be slow-braised like pork belly for an irresistibly tender and juicy finished product, making this method popular across cultures worldwide and contributing to dishes like Korean kalbi or Japanese beef tataki.
Baking fatback offers another alternative: season it with salt and herbs before covering and baking it until soft and tender, similar to bacon slices in taste and texture. When served without its skin intact, its crisp “cracklings” are commonly known as pork rinds or chicharrones/chicharron; popular snacks in bars, restaurants and home kitchens alike as snacks or appetizers alone or used as toppings on soups, stews or casseroles.
Fatback can add depth and flavor to a wide variety of soups, stews and casseroles, from gumbo to fried green tomatoes. While bacon contains both meat and fat for flavoring purposes, fatback contains only fat! Fatback can be cut into strips or cubes and baked or boiled like other cuts of pork, such as pork belly. If it can’t be found at your grocery store, speciality food stores and online ordering might have it available for you. Fatback is frequently used as part of a recipe for terrines and pates, protecting and adding richness to the meat while also preventing drying out of pates. This process of cooking fatback is known as barding; similar techniques known as larding may also be employed when coating lean roasts and whole poultry in order to retain moisture while baking.
Cooking fatback in an oven yields light brown and crunchy slices, but you can also prepare it on the stove using pan or skillet baking methods. Cooking times vary depending on how thick your slices are and your desired level of crispiness; thicker slices could take anywhere between 5-8 minutes per side while thinner ones could cook much faster – to prevent overcooking turn them frequently to ensure even cooking!
Once your slices are cooked, make sure they’re browned on both sides before placing in a paper towel to absorb any excess oil. For an even crispier result, return it to the pan for additional cooking for up to five minutes more.
Before baking, season the pieces of fatback with salt and pepper or any other spices of choice. For salt-cured fatback recipes, this step may need to be repeated several times; otherwise it should simply be baked along with vegetables which will provide sufficient seasoning of their own. Fatback can also add moisture and juiciness to dishes such as sausages, ground meat, meatloaf and burgers!