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REBfrmNY
08-25-2006, 02:03 PM
I wanted to know if anybody had a good salt pork recipe

Daniel Harhangi

Tom Scoufalos
08-25-2006, 02:09 PM
See Hank Trent's post no. 116 on page 12 of this thread:

http://www.cwreenactors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1341&page=12

-Tom

iron_schweick90
08-25-2006, 03:25 PM
i dont think thats the right page?

Tom Scoufalos
08-25-2006, 04:03 PM
i dont think thats the right page?

It's halfway down the page.

REBfrmNY
08-25-2006, 04:50 PM
I see the post you mentioned but I think theirs another step I think you dry it at a low temperature in the oven but Iím not sure.
Thank you,
Daniel Harhangi

RJSamp
08-25-2006, 05:35 PM
I see the post you mentioned but I think theirs another step I think you dry it at a low temperature in the oven but Iím not sure.
Thank you,
Daniel Harhangi

No heat involved Daniel. No drying either.

hanktrent
08-25-2006, 05:41 PM
I see the post you mentioned but I think theirs another step I think you dry it at a low temperature in the oven but Iím not sure.

Why do you think that? Salt pork was packed in barrels and shipped that way. I've not seen any indication it was dried before or after packing.

Here's the period recipe my other post was based on:

"To Salt Pork.--Lay in the bottom of the barrel a layer of solar salt, one and a half inch thick; pack the pork edgewise as compact as possible, cover it with a layer of salt as thick as the bottom layer, then pack another layer of pork and the same quantity of salt, etc., until the whole is packed, finishing with a layer of salt. Make a brine as strong as possible of solar salt, put a weight on the pork, and pour on the brine, until it is covered several inches. A hog weighing two hundred and fifty pounds is the best weight to buy; be sure the hog is cornfed, not fatted on still-slops, as the pork to be hard must be fatted on corn. When pork is taken from the barrel, be careful that no part of the meat is left above the brine; if this happens, it will become wormy." (Haskell's Housekeeper's Encyclopedia, 1861, p. 362)

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

REBfrmNY
08-25-2006, 05:51 PM
Thank you very much for the recipe. The reason I thought that you needed to dry it out was because I tried making salt beef once and I guess I didn’t use enough salt in the brine and I didn’t keep the beef in the brine for more than a few days and the beef was bad by one day in my haversack. Thank you again and I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Daniel Harhangi

hanktrent
08-25-2006, 07:01 PM
I guess I didnít use enough salt in the brine and I didnít keep the beef in the brine for more than a few days and the beef was bad by one day in my haversack.

Ah, okay. Yes, you definitely need to use plenty of salt and leave it in long enough. Beef also doesn't tend to keep as well as pork for the long haul, and making dried beef (not jerky, more like the texture of dried beef at the deli, except saltier) was one solution to keep beef over the summer, and it did require hanging it to dry after taking it from the brine. Don't know how common it was for army rations though.

But I'd allow at least a couple weeks for any piece of pork more than an inch thick. You can speed up the process by stirring it every day and rubbing more salt on any places that are still pink and/or slicing it into thinner pieces. You want it to get a gray color all over and all the way through, and it just takes a certain amount of time to absorb the salt all the way to the center.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

westcoastcampaigner
08-25-2006, 09:10 PM
Daniel,

Attempting to make period salt pork is a time consuming and iffy process. Iffy in that you could quite possibly make yourself sick if not prepared properly. There is a modern product called "Salt pork" sold in most supermarkets, however, it is mostly fat in content and nothing like salt pork during the ACW. Don't buy this as it is very disagreable. My suggestion to you would be to go to your local butcher shop if you have one and buy slab bacon. This is as close as you can get to period salt pork. Slab bacon is smoked and salted but not nearly as salty as salt pork. Because it is smoked it will not spoil during a three day event so long as common sense is used and you don't allow it to sit under the sun all day long. Most slab bacon is lean and contains very little fat which makes for a good meal and it can be boiled, roasted or fried. Depending on the butcher shop, prices range from $2 to $4 a pound. Just cut it up into three pieces each weighing about a pound and your good to go. Hope this helps.

Best Regards,

Josh Sawyer

hanktrent
08-25-2006, 10:01 PM
Iffy in that you could quite possibly make yourself sick if not prepared properly.

I've made it dozens of times without a problem. What's iffy about it, especially if done in a refrigerator where the temperature is controlled until the salt preserves the meat? Since too much salt doesn't do any harm, it's easy to err on the side of too much rather than too little.


My suggestion to you would be to go to your local butcher shop if you have one and buy slab bacon. This is as close as you can get to period salt pork.

That's simply wrong. Slab bacon is an entirely different product than salt pork, and it was in the period, as well. Bacon is pork which has been soaked in brine, then smoked and is stored dry. Salt pork is never smoked or dried, so has no smoke flavor and is stored in its own brine.

To illustrate the difference, the same book I quoted above says about bacon, "Bacon is side pork; it may be cured and managed like ham." To cure hams, it says to pack them in brown sugar, salt and salt petre for ten days, then in brine for twenty days. "When the hams are cured, hang them in a cool place to drain; when a little dried, smoke them... They preserve all summer, if they are wrapped in paper and buried in wood ashes."

I have indeed eaten bacon that's been kept that way at room temperature all summer, and it's a little drier but just as good. But note the difference between that and salt pork.


Slab bacon is smoked and salted but not nearly as salty as salt pork.

The salt is important for preservation as well as the smoking, so you want to make sure you're getting the kind of bacon that does have enough salt so it can be kept indefinitely without refrigeration.

The secret to removing the salt from either bacon or salt pork is to parboil it (or soak it if you have time). It can be done even in a frying pan, slicing it thin and discarding one or two changes of water, before the final frying.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

REBfrmNY
08-25-2006, 10:28 PM
For the most part most of the guys in my unit myself included will bring about 1lb of slab bacon Iíve never had a problem with it going bad but I was looking for an alternative to slab bacon to bring to events.

Daniel Harhangi

3rdUSRedleg
08-26-2006, 10:32 AM
I am not trying to dodge the authenticity here..meerly explaining the smplicity of it since most men here reading will disreguard most that was said to the post replies with the "work" that is put into making this. (and its a da** shame at that).
Just go to your supermarket. buy a fatty pork roast, cut it in desired chunks, and then buy a bag of curring salt (morton I believe makes it) their are diffrent brands out their, they have your salt compound listed for poundage of your meats, and a simple way of rub curring it for you..take a week per pound i believe, and then your meat is ready for storage, or smoking. It's simple, rub it on your meat... wait a week or 2 and its done...

I personally do it all myself, bacon, salt pork, dried beef, hams, but then again i also do canning for my vegtables as well for sason to season, call me old fasion but i live in the middle of amish country, been doing it all my life..... to me it is fun, and Hank is dead on right... bacon is diffrent then salt pork, especially for the time period, they would just cut up a hog , feet and all, and preserve it in a barrel, aged with salt.

this site is great for old timing reading http://waltonfeed.com/old/index.html

hanktrent
08-26-2006, 01:07 PM
and then buy a bag of curring salt (morton I believe makes it)

That reminds me... something we haven't talked about yet is Morton's Tender Quick, which is a mixture of salt, plus chemicals that behave similarly to the salt petre that's called for in some period recipes. If you're wanting to salt beef or to follow a period recipe for beef or pork that includes salt and salt petre, it's easy to use, because it's already mixed in the proper proportions and will behave similarly. Unlike salt, too much salt petre is harmful. The salt petre's purpose was to help in preservation of the meat and also to keep it an appetizing pink color--more important with beef than pork.

Since salt petre wasn't absolutely necessary in the preservation of salt pork and would add to the cost, I'm betting that military salt pork was made with salt alone, but I defer to anyone with more specific information.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

REBfrmNY
08-26-2006, 01:32 PM
When I made my salt beef I used Morton’s tender quick I didn’t use the brine curing method I rubbed the tender quick on the surface and put it in a plastic bag for 4-8 hours just like it says on the package but it didn’t keep in the field. I think the Brine curing method is what I’m going to do it sounds like it was what a soldier in the field would have had eaten so ill give it a shot. Should I use fine or coarse crystal salt.

Daniel Harhangi

hanktrent
08-26-2006, 02:21 PM
Should I use fine or coarse crystal salt.

Finer salt will dissolve a little faster, having more surface area. I use Morton's pickling salt, which is about the consistency of table salt, and it works well.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

3rdUSRedleg
08-26-2006, 04:48 PM
I think the Brine curing method is what I’m going to do it sounds like it was what a soldier in the field would have had eaten so ill give it a shot. Should I use fine or coarse crystal salt.

I use pickling /canning salt always, or sea salt.
And BTW...if you throw in some brown sugar and let it in the brine for 15 days, let it hang for a day...then smoke it...you made yourself some pretty darn good dried beef, (not jerkey) better then store bought!

vmescher
08-26-2006, 06:57 PM
Daniel,

Slab bacon is smoked and salted but not nearly as salty as salt pork.
Josh Sawyer

As Hank as already said, slab bacon is not the same as salt pork. I've just written a comprehensive article on salt pork for the next issue of _The Watchdog_ but I'm not sure when it will be coming out. The article contains information on the different grades of salt pork, the differences between salt pork, bacon, and fat back, period recipes for making salt pork and preparing salt pork for meals. I'm hoping that the article will clarify the different terminology for everyone.

Button Whizzer
08-27-2006, 09:45 AM
Didn't someone just have a living history where they made and issued over 100 lbs of homemade salt pork? Maybe they would be willing to share how to make it.

Brandon