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Jan 2, 2008 03:22 AM

Salt Pork substitute

I live in Beijing and am trying to make a feijoada completa. I have the carne seca (smuggled in from the US) but salt pork is hard to smuggle so I have not got any. Does anyone know of a reasonable substitute, or an easy way to make it myself?

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  1. Just use the cheapest, fattiest bacon you can get. That usually works.

    1 Reply
    1. re: coll

      bacon is a western peculiarity, not likely to find much of it in beijing i would imagine.

    2. Can you get Yunan Ham or Chinese Bacon (lop yuk)? Fatty (western) bacon as coll suggested will work too. You can first simmer off most of the smoke flavour in a pan of water.

      1. The recipes that I find use a varied mix of salted, smoked, and fresh pork products - salt pork, bacon, smoked chops or ham, pigs feet, etc. Even if you can't find unsmoked salt pork (fat), you should be able find the others. US Asian markets often sell Smithfield style ham by the slice, suggesting that it is similar to Chinese style hams.

        The main thing that I'd try to avoid would be anise types of flavors, which seem to be appreciated in Chinese meat products, but are foreign to Brazilian cooking.


        1. Since salt pork is basically over-salted pork belly, you should have no problem substituting some really fatty Chinese pork belly. You won't get the flavors as from cured pork, but you could rub it with salt and let it sit in your fridge for a couple of hours. (This is speaking with no knowledge of the dish you are making - just general substitution)

          EDIT: As far as salt curing your own pork belly, someone who knows how to do the curing process would have to guide you.

          1. Would fat cut from a ham work for salt pork? I want to make Cooks Illustrated's recipe for Boston Baked Beans and I'd like to use something I already have.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Just here for the food

              Sure. You can also substitute a couple of strips of bacon cut into two inch long pieces. For my vegetarian sister, I actually make a small pot of beans with olive oil. I miss the smoky, pork goodness in the vegetarian version, but it makes her very happy.