Pancetta Vs Salt Pork: What’s The Difference?

salt pork vs pancetta

Salt pork and pancetta are both products of cured pork belly, but they differ in many ways.

If you are wondering which one to opt for this weekend salt pork and pancetta, this article will help you unravel all the misconceptions and point out the popular uses of each.

What is salt pork?

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Salt pork is a type of bacon that has been cured with salt.

It was a staple for colonial Americans who didn’t have access to fresh meat all the time, as it does not spoil easily.

Salt pork was originally made by curing a whole side of bacon with rock salt, then hanging up to dry before slicing off as needed.

Modern-day versions are usually made from just the visible fat on the outside of a slab of leaner meat such as belly or fatback.

This cured pork can be used in dishes like chowders or beans, but some people use it just for flavor on top of toast or in sandwiches.

What is pancetta?

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Pancetta is a type of meat that originated in Italian cuisine.

It is also known as a type of Italian bacon.

Pancetta is made from the pork belly and has been cured with salt, sugar, black pepper, garlic, and other spices.

The curing process can take up to two weeks depending on the thickness of the cut.

It also needs to be kept refrigerated while being enjoyed.

Pancetta often becomes crumbly when it’s cooked- this texture makes it perfect for use on pizzas or as an ingredient in pasta dishes.

The word pancetta is derived from the Italian word “panza”, meaning “belly.” Pancetta is a type of unsmoked bacon that can be found in many European countries.

In Italy, it has been served as an antipasti dish since Roman times and it is usually used to flavor soups or other dishes.

What are the differences between salt pork vs pancetta?

Salt pork and pancetta have some key differences, and you can easily find out what is special about each of these popular ingredients in the comparison table below:

 Salt porkPancetta
OriginThe United StatesItaly
AppearanceWhiter in color and usually flat
Sold in thin slices
Has a more reddish hue and is usually rolled Come as a thick cubed or slab shape
Curing processThe meat is normally cured with saltPork is cured with salt and other spices, such as sugar, garlic, pepper,
UseUsually needs to be cooked before eatingCan be eaten raw or cooked
PriceCheaperMore expensive because pancetta requires more time and ingredients to prepare

What are the similarities between salt pork vs pancetta?

Despite some differences between salt pork and pancetta, they have a lot in common.

Here are some:

1. Salt pork and pancetta are mainly made from pork belly

As mentioned above, the main ingredient used to make salt pork and pancetta is pork, specifically, it is the pork belly.

You can also catch other versions that are made from fatback.

2. Salt pork and pancetta are high in sodium

Salt pork and pancetta are made by curing the pork meat with salt.

Therefore, there is a high amount of sodium found in these pork products.

Although salt helps pork last longer, it makes the meat less healthy because it increases the risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Therefore, these shouldn’t appear in your regular diet.

3. Salt pork and pancetta have the same taste

Due to the same main ingredients and preparation, salt pork and pancetta have a similarity in their tastes.

Generally, they are salty and have an intense pork flavor.

They are likely to resemble the taste of bacon, but without the smokiness.

If you are not a picky person, you can use these three ingredients (salt pork, pancetta, and bacon) interchangeably in many delicious recipes.

Which one is better?

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There are many misconceptions about salt pork and pancetta, but here we have highlighted the most popular distinctions and special features of these two kinds of processed meat.

If you’re still not sure which one you will opt for to treat your family, know that both products of cured pork belly can be tasty when used in a dish.

If you want to eat more like an Italian, you better stick with pancetta.

However, keep in mind that salt pork and pancetta are not healthy options in the long term.

Eventually, choosing which product for your weekend will all depend on your family’s preference.