As promised, I’m continuing on with the series on how to use a whole hog with emphasis on side pork today.
If you don’t get all your side pork made into bacon, then side pork has been one of the more challenging cuts to use up. Many people like to do this to cut out the extras that bacon adds (like nitrates or nitrates and excess salt).
Unless your family grew up using side pork, it takes a bit of experimenting to see how you prefer eating it. The excess fat on side pork is the main reason for this. Either you cut the fat off and render it into lard and lardons (a.k.a. cracklin’s) or you cook it up and enjoy the rich fat along with the juicy meat. The following are some of the tastiest ways we’ve experimented with side pork.
Side Pork ideas we love:
- Homemade Bacon! – There are numerous recipes out there. Most of them include way too much salt. If you find a recipe to use and it turns out too salty, just soak the finished product.
- We’ve tried about five different recipes and my favorite includes maple sugar. It’s from the book Beyond Bacon by Matthew McCarry and Stacy Toth. This book also includes excellent paleo apple fritters made with lard and almond flour and their “Perfect Pork Chop” is spot on. It’s a great book for those who would like to learn how to use all the cuts from a whole hog.
- I will not include ideas for using bacon. There are about a million and I think most people do not have trouble using it up.
- Roasted Side Pork – This was rich and filling, super easy, and fun to try.
- Side Pork Cabbage Soup – My belly loved this soup. It was warm and nourishing, filling and fuel.
Side Pork ideas we’d love to try:
My problem currently is not the lack of side pork, but the lack of time to try new recipes. Over the next few months, maybe once a month for sanity’s sake, I plan to try out a few new recipes from a cookbook I found last fall.
- From the cook book Pure Pork Awesomeness by Kevin Gillespie and David Joachim:
- “Ban Mi”
- “Sichuan-Style Twice-Cooked Pork Belly”
- “Braised Pork Belly” with apple cider vinegar
- “Black Vinegar-Glazed Pork Belly Buns”
- “White Cooked Pork with Garlic Sauce”
- “Oven Baked Pork Belly Strips” – this recipe has a large amount of 5 star reviews
- Olive Magazine has a lot of fun looking, but maybe too spicy for my kids, ideas. If you like pizzazz in your food, check out their recipe ideas for pork belly.
Though I only gave you three of my own proven options, I hope you found some inspiration for future cooking. Let me know your favorites and give us a call if your recipes don’t turn out, maybe we can help turn it for the better.
My first try with side pork was not anyone’s favorite, I cooked it like I would bacon without much seasoning. Instead of feeding it to the dog, I spiced it up a bit and added it to a chicken bacon ranch hot-dish that I like to make. It turned out great.
However, if you’re doing something crazy and new, I would recommend just using a small amount the first time. It’s easy to cut a slab of side pork in half or thirds. It’s also quite easy to trim the fat and render it to lard if you’re not a fan of eating so much in one bite. Lard is a healthy fat and great for frying or sauteing!
We hope you enjoy experimenting with this sought after ingredient!