This is side pork. It looks like bacon, but a little fattier.
We had our 3 American Guinea Hogs slaughtered a couple of weeks ago, and asked for nitrate free pork products. This was our first time going to this particular butcher shop, we’ve always gone somewhere else where they did a “salt cure” for us instead of a sugar & nitrate cure. We got our meat seller’s license and plan to sell our pork at farmer’s market this summer (YAY!), so we needed to go to an FDA inspected facility. It turns out, there are no FDA approved methods for curing pork without sugar. HELLO, people! Our Food and Drug Administration is *requiring* that bacon and ham have SUGAR in it. That is ridiculous, if you ask me. Anyways! The butcher told us that they could give us uncured bacon and ham if we wanted it nitrate free. I was glad to at least have some option!
When we got our pork, I was disappointed because there were no packages labeled “bacon.” None. What in the world did they do with our bacon? 😉 Well, it turns out, Side Pork is the FDA terminology for pork belly (bacon) that has not been cured. Alrighty then. I’m ok with that.
It’s a little different than bacon. It’s really good, too. It’s hard to explain. It is a little fattier, which could be disappointing to some people. (It could just be our breed of pig, also. American Guinea Hogs are fatty pigs). Don’t be afraid of fat though, k? Fat is good for you. It helps your body absorb and process essential vitamins. I believe that a diet without enough fat leads to mental illness and a whole host of other issues. (Look at the huge amount of anti-depresseants that people take these days…People are eating far less fat now days than traditional cultures ever ate..). I can feel it when I haven’t eaten enough fat. A salad with chicken breast & veggies is not enough for me. I have to add cheese and lots of olive oil and avocado and some olives…Then I’m good. 🙂 Eating more fat reduces cravings and regulates the blood sugar. So, people, this Side Pork stuff is actually a perfect human food.
This is really an easy recipe, but I wanted to share it.
Salted Rosemary Side Pork
1 lb side pork (aka uncured bacon)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground rosemary
1 small branch rosemary
I fried up the side pork just like I would fry up regular bacon. As it was cooking, I sprinkled ground rosemary and sea salt over it. Then I garnished it with fresh rosemary. See how pretty it looks?
Side pork creates a lot more “bacon grease” than typical bacon. I got about a cup of grease from about 1 lb of side pork. Nice! I use a metal strainer and a metal funnel and pour my grease into a glass jar and keep it in the fridge. It’s an awesome addition to soups (again, the more fat I add to my food, the fuller and more satisfied I feel). It’s great for making scrambled eggs, etc. You can melt it and add it to some vinegar and honey and make a yummy salad dressing. Try it! 🙂