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9 Best Salt Pork Substitutes

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Salt pork is fat cut from a pig’s back or belly of a pig; it is then cured in salt for preservation. Salt pork has a rich, savory flavor, and when added to a dish, it gives it a meaty and salty flavor.

The fat rendered from salt pork can also be used as cooking fat. Although salt pork has a distinctive flavor, there are different salt pork substitutes you can use in place of salt pork and still achieve the same flavor and taste without significantly affecting your recipe.

Some of the best substitutes for salt pork are bacon, pancetta, smoked ham hock, smoked salmon, flavored olive oil, beef jerky, salted butter, fatback and cured vegetables.

Below, we talk about a few suitable alternatives to salt pork that you can use when you don’t have it in your kitchen.

Best Salt Pork Substitutes

Salt pork is quite a savory food flavor, and it is used in many recipes. If there’s no salt pork available or if you don’t want to consume pork, you don’t have to give up on your recipe; just use a salt pork substitute:

1. Bacon

Salt Pork Substitutes

Bacon is the closest substitute for salt pork as they have similar flavors. Most bacon found in the market is usually smoked and cured with lots of added sweet and sour flavorings, so when looking for a salt pork substitute, go for bacon with no additional flavorings.

Look for bacon that has been cut into plain shapes with no added sugars. When using bacon as a salt pork substitute, you do not need to soak the bacon. Bacon is readily available, making it the best and the most feasible alternative for salt pork.

2. Pancetta

Pancetta is Italian bacon that is very similar to salt pork; pancetta can be used in place of salt pork so efficiently because of its so many flavors resembling salt pork.

Pancetta does not go through any smoking process and is widely available, making it an easy alternative for salt pork.

Pancetta is available in the shape of rolls, and you only need the same amount as salt pork. However, it is recommended to only allow the pancetta to rest for 30 minutes before slicing and substituting.

3. Smoked Ham Hock

When a pork hock is smoked and cured in salt brine, it can be substituted for salt pork. Smoked ham hocks are quite similar to salt pork, although you will need to soak and simmer your pork hock for an hour before it can be used as a replacement for salt pork.

4. Smoked Salmon

Instead of having salt pork for breakfast, you can use a substitute of smoked salmon, which goes well with brotchen and a side of cheese.

Smoked salmon is a great substitute to make that tasty sandwich; it is also salty and highly flavorful; smoked salmon can be added to pasta, casseroles, and even stir-fried dishes.

If you do not like to consume pork, smoked salmon can be used in place of salt pork as well as bacon because it’s fatty, delicious, but healthy. If you don’t enjoy salmon, you can always use another variant of smoked fish in the market.

5. Flavored Olive Oil

If you are more about eating healthy or vegan or vegetarian, you can still achieve a flavorful dish without using salt pork; using flavored olive oil instead of the regular one is a healthier option.

There are different variants of flavored olive oil like garlic, chili, basil, rosemary, and lemon zest. These flavored olive oils provide lots of flavor and aroma to a dish.

When trying to keep up with a healthy lifestyle, stay away from animal products like pork is one of the first steps to take. You can substitute flavored olive oil for salt pork in your salad dressings, sauteing, stir-fried dishes, soups, and stews.

6. Salted Butter

Another great substitute for salt pork is salted butter; you can use either dairy or vegan salted butter, whichever you prefer.

This enables you to achieve the flavorful and fatty goodness of salt pork while sticking to your diet. It’s best to use salted butter instead of unsalted one.

This is because unsalted butter doesn’t offer many flavors aside from the aroma. If you can make baked beans with pork, more vegan-friendly by substituting a good amount of salted butter for salt pork.

To add a meaty texture to the dish, you can add some mushrooms or zucchini.

7. Beef Jerky

If you simply do not want to consume pork, but you don’t mind eating meat, then you can use beef jerky in place of salt pork. Beef jerky is a beef cut that has been smoked, salted, and cured, unlike salt pork.

This makes beef jerky a great chewy snack. It has a long shelf life, so it’s one of the best choices for stacking up some survival food.

Not only is beef jerky an excellent delicious snack, but it can also be used to replace salt pork in your favorite baked/stew beans, chowder, and you should be able to achieve a similar savory flavor.

Using beef jerky ensures that you do not miss out on that meaty texture that your favorite dish needs without pork.

8. Cured Vegetable

This is also a vegan or vegetarian-friendly alternative to salt pork. Curing vegetables is a lifelong practice, and it helps to preserve the vegetables for as long as possible.

Once vegetables are salted and cured, it becomes flavorful and aromatic. There are different vegetables that can be cured, like tomatoes, eggplants, garlic, onions, and potatoes.

You can tweak your favorite meat-based recipes into a vegan or vegetarian option by replacing salt pork with cured vegetables. Using cured vegetables instead of fresh ones provides additional flavor, smokiness, and aroma to the dish. 

Salt pork can be substituted for cured vegetables when making pasta sauces, lasagna, casseroles, and even stews. This makes the dish healthier, lower in calories but packed in minerals and vitamins.

9. Fatback

Fatback is a cut from the pig’s back, but fatback contains no meat, unlike salt pork. Fatback can be substituted for salt pork substitute in recipes that use salt pork for fat and flavor instead of a meat source.

However, fatback is not preserved in salt, so you will need to add more salt to the recipe if you want a saltier flavor. Remember to taste the dish before serving and adjust the salt as desired.


Salt pork has a savory and salty flavor which can be replicated with salt pork substitute if you do not want to consume pork.

You can use other meat products, or if you are health concerns, you can swap out the meat entirely and use healthier options like olive oil and butter.

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