Now, however, salt pork is made from pork bellies - just like bacon. It's much fattier than bacon though, and it's not smoked or cured like bacon. That fat and saltiness make it a good base flavoring ingredient for many dishes; it's traditionally used in Boston baked beans and other thrifty New England dishes.
Salt pork is a marvelously cheap and long-lasting meat. If you just want a little meaty flavoring for a pot of beans or dish of greens, it's a good option. Cheaper than bacon, and fattier, salt pork can be slowly rendered down to cook and flavor cheap vegetarian ingredients.
We use just a few small slices for our cooking. We recently made a pot of our Braised Green Beans. Green beans need to be cooked for a long time to let their flavor really emerge; if you haven't tried slow-cooked green beans you're missing something! That slow cooking is also benefited by a little meaty flavor. So we slowly cooked down a few small slices of salt pork, then sauteéd the onion and garlic in that fat - no extra fat required.
The sweet, mellow taste of the pork infused the whole dish - and we only used about a third of our $2.69 package of salt pork.
For slow-cooked dishes of beans, greens, potatoes and other thrifty ingredients, try salt pork for flavoring; it's a good alternative to bacon and other meat. Check out our post on beans and see if you can work a little salt pork into your next pot: How To Cook Beans