On my Instagram page I asked for suggestions for a my first recipe series, and the winner is PORK! Yeay! I received votes for a few different series options so it was a close call, but PORK won by a hair. The worlds most popular meat wins again! I love all things pork, and am excited to share my favorite pork recipes with everyone. Before we get started I wanted to share a few notes that I think everyone should know about pork’s most important siblings.
Pancetta vs. Prosciutto: I know these are both Italian meats and both start with the letter ‘P’, but while these meats have a lot of similarities, they are in fact very different. Prosciutto is the salt-cured hind leg of a pig, and can be eaten uncooked. It isn’t raw, but instead has been smoked for so long that it is no longer considered raw. Typically it is eaten wrapped around fruits and vegetables, or with cheese and crackers. I like to eat prosciutto with hard cheeses, some water crackers and a glass of red wine. But then again, I like everything with wine. Pancetta is salt-cured pork belly and at the end of the curing process is still considered raw. Pancetta is typically purchased in thin slices or cubes, and is served in cooked dishes such as Spaghetti Bolognese (Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese) or Risotto.
Bacon vs. Pork Belly: Simply put pork belly is very thick bacon slices, but its a little more complicated then that. Pork belly is a boneless cut of meat from the belly of a pig and is considered a delicacy by many. Pork belly is used in a variety of cultures, from Asian ramen and soup dishes all the way to Italian pasta dishes, as well as southern slow cooked vegetables. Pork Belly can literally be used in thousands of dishes. I love pork belly, so stay tuned for my favorite pork belly recipes to be included in this PORK series. Now for bacon…it is thinly sliced and occasionally also cut from the belly, however it is more typically cut from the back of the pig to produce a leaner cut of meat. Bacon also comes from a variety of proteins aside from pork, such as turkey, beef, lamb, chicken, and goat.
Bacon Fat: Now for one of my favorite pork siblings…bacon fat, also known as liquid gold. When I make bacon for breakfast, I strain the extra bacon fat and pour it into a glass jar that I store in the fridge. My mom used to keep a jar of grease on the kitchen cabinet growing up, and I remember thinking that was strange…now look at me. Bacon fat can be used in any dish that calls for bacon and will enhance the bacon flavor. Bacon fat can also be used to sauté meats and vegetables, and will provide a smoky depth of flavor to the dish. If you’re unsure if you should use it in your recipe, use it.