Southern Food and Fatback
If you’re at all familiar with Southern food, you’ve probably run across the term, “fatback.” What is fatback? Fatback is really just what it sounds like – fat that usually comes from the back of a pig or hog. A lot of folks not familiar with processing pork get fatback, bacon, and salt pork confused. One big difference is that while salt pork and bacon are cured in some manner, fatback isn’t. also, fatback is all fat, unlike bacon, which includes both meat and fat.
Fatback has a tough layer of skin on one side, which might or might not be removed. In Southern cooking, fatback is often used to season vegetables, especially turnip greens, mustard greens, and collard greens. Fatback is sometimes used to season green beans, butter beans, and field peas, too. It can also be fried into pork rinds. Sometimes the fatback is sliced, battered, and fried. In the Deep South, we usually refer to this dish as “heart attack on a plate.”