Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media

Salt pork is cut from the belly, fatback or pork side of the pig. It can be meaty or consist entirely of fat. Unlike bacon, salt pork is not smoked, but rather is cured by being packed with salt. Over a course of a few months, the salt penetrates the meat and acts as a preservative. You can usually find salt pork near the ham at the grocery store. It comes as a solid slab or pre-sliced. We recommend the pre-sliced variety because it is easier to work with for this recipe.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media

Cover the beans with water and soak them overnight after sifting through them to check for small bits of debris that may have gotten mixed in during the harvesting process.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media

Drain the beans and put them in a pot. Cover with fresh water.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media

Peel and coarsely chop onions and your garlic cloves. Add them to the beans in the pot. Add the tsp. of thyme and 6 or 7 twists of fresh pepper from the grinder.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media

Use a very sharp knife to trim away the rind of the salt pork. The rind is the thick skin that's usually along one side of the piece. Rinse the pork and pat it dry.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media

Slice the salt pork if it is in a block and then slice the pieces lengthwise. Cut the pieces crosswise to dice them until you have 1/4 cup. How large the pieces are is a matter of personal preference. Add to the beans in the pot.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media

Bring the beans to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot loosely and let the beans cook for an hour, stirring occasionally. Add water as necessary.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media

Check the beans to see if they are done and continue to cook them until they're as tender as you want. This may take 2 hours. Correct the seasoning if necessary by adding more garlic, thyme and pepper.

Tip

Add carrots and celery along with the onions and garlic. Experiment with other herbs and spices like cayenne, sage and marjoram.

Instead of soaking the beans overnight, bring them to a boil in a pot filled with water. Boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat and let sit for an hour. Rinse and finish as above.

For easy pork and beans, dump a couple of cans of barbecue beans in a casserole. Fry diced salt pork and add to the casserole. Stir in 1/2 cup brown sugar and bake until bubbly.

Warning

Don't add extra salt during the cooking process.

About the Author

Meg Jernigan

Meg Jernigan has been writing for more than 30 years. She specializes in travel, cooking and interior decorating. Her offline credits include copy editing full-length books and creating marketing copy for nonprofit organizations. Jernigan attended George Washington University, majoring in speech and drama.