How to Cook Fatback

Fatback refers to the pork fat on a pig’s back that can be used like bacon to make ground meat recipes more succulent and flavorful.

Use it to make forcemeat-based dishes such as terrines, rillettes, sausages and galantines; stews and casseroles often include this ingredient too.


Fatback is a versatile ingredient, used in various dishes across a wide variety of cuisines. When cooked properly, fatback develops a light crisp texture and golden-brown color that make it appealing in salads, side dishes, main courses and main dish applications alike. Fatback can also be rendered down to produce lard – prized among bakers and potato roasters for its shortening qualities – or rendered down further to produce shortening (lard). Fatback may even be used to produce sausages pates and other forms of cured meat products from fatback!

Fatback can be easily cooked in the oven using this method; simply slice its skin into pieces that measure 1/3-inch wide, lay them out on a rimmed baking sheet, season them with salt and pepper and pop the pan into your oven – stirring every 10 minutes will get it there fast! Your fatback should be tender yet crispy within 35 minutes.

Fatback can also be cooked in a skillet by frying. To achieve even cooking and an airy, light texture, thin strips or cubes should be cut into thin strips or cubes to facilitate even cooking and avoid sticking to the skillet. To prevent them from doing this, lightly score their sides using a sharp knife in a crosshatch pattern for added safety.

Fry fatback over medium heat until its slices become light brown and crisp, but be careful not to overdo it or the fat will become rubbery and shrink back together again after being added back in. A hot skillet is essential since too little heat in your fat may cause it to reduce, leading to shrinkage if too many slices are added all at once.

Fatback can add juicy texture and rich flavor to burgers and meatloaf, soups, stews, forcemeat creations such as terrines or pates, as well as game birds or lean cuts of meat during their cooking processes – an process known as barding.

If you cannot find or don’t have enough fatback, other forms of pork fat may serve as suitable replacements. Pork belly, cured bacon and pancetta all make great substitutions in most recipes; in addition, thin slices of unsalted salt pork work perfectly as a liner that helps the terrine stay together as well as absorbs some of the heat generated in your oven.


Fatback is a piece of hard fat from a pig’s back used extensively in cooking, either whole or cut into small pieces. It is often rendered for use as lard, ground with lean pork for sausage making and pate making, added to dishes like beans or stews for added moisture and flavor, or even cured and sliced as an alternative to bacon as part of an entree or side dish.

Being a hard fat, coconut oil holds up well under high heat conditions and makes an excellent alternative to butter in dishes like corn muffins or biscuits. Due to its high smoking point and similar taste as bacon or ham, it’s often used for sauteing over medium-high heat as well as deep frying dishes due to its high burning point.

Fatback pork is made up of pure pork meat. Its primary use is for seasoning greens, beans, potatoes and soups and stews as well as making popular Italian all-fat salume lardo salumi charcuterie products like alligator salami. Fatback can even be deep fried into crunchy snack known as cracklings!

Before beginning to cook fatback, it is crucial that it is properly prepared. After washing with cold water to rid it of impurities and pat drying with paper towels to absorb any extra liquid, season the fatback with salt (kosher or sea), using whatever type you prefer; rub into its skin so as to completely coat it in seasonings.

If using salted fatback (salted pork or back bacon), be sure to rinse it before microwaving as this will prevent excess saltiness from ruining your dish. When used as part of vegetables dishes however, no need for pre-rinsing is necessary.

When it’s time to prepare fatback, first cut into strips before either frying or baking in an oven. To check that your fatback has been cooked thoroughly, insert a meat thermometer into its thickest part; its internal temperature must reach at least 145 F to ensure safe consumption of this dish.


Fatback can add moisture, flavor, and juiciness to any recipe, helping other meats remain juicy during cooking and improving textures of foods such as burgers, sausages and meatloaf. Furthermore, fatback gives foods an aesthetic enhancement and adds an irresistibly bacon-esque taste that complements other ingredients in recipes.

Raw fatback typically lasts only three to seven days in the refrigerator before it turns rancid; however, cooked and properly stored lard can last much longer.

Cooked fatback is an inexpensive and tasty source of protein, fatty acids and choline that has many applications beyond its longevity. It is frequently used in place of bacon as it has similar flavors while being less expensive; additionally, fatback can add dimension to dishes such as beans or stews.

Unrinsed salted fatback is an integral component of homemade sausages, imparting porky flavors while its salt content adds seasoning and texture to the final product. Sometimes even ground fatback is mixed in to form sausage.

Fatback was a staple of lower class cuisine due to its inexpensive nature and long shelf life, yet today remains an affordable accompaniment for meat dishes and vegetable sides; especially in Southern-style cooking it remains highly prized.

Fatback can provide meats with flavor and moisture while simultaneously helping them cook to perfection, by absorbing excess moisture and decreasing the need for additional cooking oil or seasoning. Sliced fatback cooked in the microwave can also provide an easy, fast, flavorful alternative to skillet or oven frying. Once cut and cooked, fatback can be served alone or combined with vegetables or other meats; its high water content may cause shrinkage when used as stuffing for roasts; to maximize flavour use minimal quantities when making recipes with meat-fatback combinations such as burgers or meatloafs containing fatback as its high water content could cause shrinkage as a result; as such only use minimal amounts when combined recipes combining both elements in order to maximize results from combined recipes combined.


Fatback is often found in dishes that take an extended period to cook, such as stews and soups. Additionally, it’s commonly added to ground meat preparations like sausages, hamburgers and meatloaf for increased moisture and its signature porky flavor. Fatback can also be found as an ingredient in traditional blue-collar comfort food like New England-style pork and beans or hoppin’ John (traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day to bring good luck), along with being used as an alternative to ham in pea soup recipes.

Fatback meat can be used in numerous applications. Fresh and salted varieties are both suitable as replacements for ham in dishes that take time to simmer. Salted fatback may be cut into strips and braised like bacon to achieve an irresistibly crunchy and flavorful result, known as “streaking the meat,” or “larding”.

Frozen fatback can be used in numerous dishes. It is an integral component of chili and other soups, and can even be combined with onions and garlic for an aromatic kick that gives this type of recipe its name: green chili or “chili verde.”

Pork can also be cut and fried to create crunchy, salty pork snacks known as pork rinds, scratchings, cracklings or chicharrones. To boost their flavor they are often seasoned with salt or other herbs and spices for extra crunchiness and crunchiness.

Microwaving fatback for one meal is an efficient and effortless way to ensure it reaches perfection, saving time. Use a meat thermometer when microwaving this food type as this ensures it has reached 145 degrees Fahrenheit internally for optimal cooking results and consider cooking smaller portions so they are easily chewed and digested; plus this method is less greasy than pan frying or roasting!

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