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Streak O' Lean ~aka~ Side Meat ~aka~ Salt Pork

thirdeye

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It goes by several names, and if you come from the South you may have had it (if you're old enough).... or if your kinfolk still cook with the old ways. With me it's definitely a Grandpa thing. Streak O' Lean is cured but un-smoked pork belly, in other words, think fresh side pork that has been cured. You still have it with breakfast and can use it in a pot of greens or beans. It's sliced a little thicker than standard bacon so that the fat can be fried to the perfect texture. The flavor is hard to explain, you taste pork, and the 'cured' flavor, plus a light salty and pepper flavor. Traditionally and before refrigeration 'salt pork' was used as a military ration for a couple of hundred years as well as a household staple, and that version was plenty salty, in fact it was usually soaked in water much like you do to a country ham before cooking. I make it with my typical bacon ratio of 1.75% salt and 1% sugar, and 0.25% Cure # 1. I recently made a 4# batch along with 12# of bacon, so I used black pepper, garlic and crushed bay leaf for my aromatics. If you like fresh side pork.... give this a try.

It looks like standard bacon in the skillet, minus the smoky scent.
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And here is a breakfast feast complete with a side of some Coppa roast ham injection cured with the daveomak method and of course some farm eggs.
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For packaging, I sliced it and pre-froze before vacuum sealing. Toward the end of the belly section one vein of fat got larger, so I'll use those slices for cooking in things, and the last 3" I just cut into cubes.
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pc farmer

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Great lookin meat. I will be curing some hams and bacons tomorrow.
 

chef jimmyj

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Im really familiar with that product. We ate quite a bit of Salt Pork and Salted
Back Fat in assorted Polish dishes growing up. I can't find any here, so I sub in Bacon. Ill have to try making some. Coppa cured and smoked, was sold as Pork Goodie. Friedrich Brand was the best. Simmered with Cabbage and veg, like Corned Beef and Cabbage , is a favorite...JJ
 

Fueling Around

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Hmm
Is this similar to cheap store "bacon" ? That crap has fake smoke added that goes away on a quick soak before cooking.

A couple years ago, I made an authentic salt pork belly for a Boy Scout Camporee that was a US Civil War re-enactment.
I wasn't able to attend due to my farming job. None of the other leaders dared to use it. Pissed me off they tossed a $20 pork belly.
 

1MoreFord

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For those of you who don't cure meats, Hormel still makes it and Kroger sells it near me. Smithfield does too and WalMart sells it.
 
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tx smoker

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Mom used to use salt pork in green beans, collards, and a couple other things. My memories of what she used looked to be pretty much all fat and no meat. I do like what you've done here and may well toss a batch together. I can think of a ton of things to use it in. thanks for sharing!!

Robert
 

thirdeye

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Hmm
Is this similar to cheap store "bacon" ? That crap has fake smoke added that goes away on a quick soak before cooking.

A couple years ago, I made an authentic salt pork belly for a Boy Scout Camporee that was a US Civil War re-enactment.
I wasn't able to attend due to my farming job. None of the other leaders dared to use it. Pissed me off they tossed a $20 pork belly.
No not at all. I had two full bellies (9#) each and cut each in half for curing for bacon. I simply did not smoke this one.
Mom used to use salt pork in green beans, collards, and a couple other things. My memories of what she used looked to be pretty much all fat and no meat. I do like what you've done here and may well toss a batch together. I can think of a ton of things to use it in. thanks for sharing!!

Robert
Some of the salt pork is made from the lower strip of the belly, and its very fatty. I've seen some in the stores that could have passed for fat back😆
 

Bearcarver

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All looks Great, Thirdeye!!!
Like.
When I was in High School, my best Buddy's Hunky Dad made me some "Salted Fatback" for a Sammy.
He made little slits all around a block of Fat, and stuck slivers of Garlic all around it.
Then he boiled it for awhile, left it cool, then sliced it thin. I put some in between a couple of slices of toast, and Loved it !!
I could eat a lot of stuff like that, when I was 16 years old!! LOL

Bear
 

SmokinAl

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Never had it, but it sure looks good!
Al
 

BrianGSDTexoma

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That sounds interesting. Will have to try that. Plate and bacon looks really good!
 

uncle eddie

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Its been a while since I had it but you described it perfectly. Like!
 

thirdeye

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Woo Hoo.... Thanks for the ride on the carousel. :emoji_thumbsup:
 

HalfSmoked

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Sorry late on this. But for sure a great looking plate. Fat back salt pork or bacon what ever you want to call it was all good. It was all used in many ways as you said.

Warren
 

jbo_c

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I grew up eating side meat. - especially in the summer. What we called side meat was definitely not belly. Comes from higher up on the pig (thus “side”). No leaner than streak-o-lean, for sure. It was only salt cured, not nitrite cured and not smoked. My Mom sometimes calls it “white bacon.” Salt content is astronomical. It leaves a crusty salt residue in the pan after frying. Some people soak it before frying to lessen that a little, but we never did(do). For us, it was usually an accompaniment to fresh vegetable soup during summer. Though sometimes for breakfast like bacon or with creamed corn or grits and tomatoes for supper.

Some folks would also soak a little of the salt out, then batter and deep fry it. (Who doesn’t need a little more deep fried pork fat in their diet?). This was referred to as ‘sawmill chicken’ though I never figured out how the word chicken got in there. It was really tasty but we never had it that way at home.

There’s a store in my home town that still sells it. You can get it with or without the rind(skin) still on. My folks almost always have it when we visit and usually send me home with a pound or two. I still fry it up to have with vegetable soup.

It’s an acquired taste. I’ve only known one person to try it the first time and like it. After 28 years of marriage, my wife has gotten to where she’ll eat a half piece or so when I make it. More for me. :)

Jbo
 

thirdeye

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On the un-smoked side of breakfast, we would either have 'fresh side pork', but it was cut from pork belly and seasoned with salt and pepper when frying.... or the streak-o-lean. I used my same bacon salt/sugar percentages so it's not overly salty at all which is what I was after. I've given a couple of packs away to friends who used to eat it 30 years ago, so that was kind of neat to wake up some old taste buds.
 

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