How to Cook Fatback to Eat

Fatback is an inexpensive pork product that is sometimes sold salted. The cut comes from the back of the pig. Even if you think fatback is too fatty and salty to eat as a main dish, it has a strong flavor that makes it useful for flavoring other foods, such as beans and pate. You may need to see a butcher to get your hands on fatback; it is not available in many supermarkets.

Nicely caramelized thick strips of pork fatback on a cutting board. (Image: Azurita/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Freeze fatback if you've purchased a thick slab and need to cut it into thinner slices. This makes cutting easier.

Step 2

Blanch cured fatback by boiling it in water for several minutes before using it to cook with if you want to reduce the salty flavor.

Step 3

Cook fatback in a single layer, on medium heat, in a large pan or skillet. Because the fat content of fatback is so high, there is no need to add additional oil to the pan.

Step 4

Flip the fatback if the edges curl to ensure even cooking. Remove from heat once the meat darkens and becomes crispy, usually about five or six minutes into cooking.

Step 5

Place the cooked slices on a paper towel while they are cooling to absorb any excess oil. Serve warm.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife

  • Large pot

  • Large skillet

  • Paper towels


Wrap thin layers of fatback around lean roasts to add moisture and flavor when cooking. Also, use fatback to line the bottom of a pan when cooking to flavor vegetable and meat dishes.

Cut up fatback and slow cook it in a pot with black eyed peas to create a traditional Southern dish served on New Year's Eve.

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