Salt Meat is salt-cured pork.
It will be a cut from the front leg or shoulder, and is often a salt cured picnic ham.
It is sold raw, and must be cooked.
You can buy it already sliced up, or buy a large piece, slice it up and freeze what you don't need right away.
It is used as a flavouring in bean, vegetable and cooked "greens" dishes, and soups.
Not the same as "salt pork", which is salted fat.
It used to be really and truly salted to preserve it without refrigeration. Now, it is much more lightly salted, so it must be refrigerated or frozen.
Some feel that the word "zydeco" owes its origin to salt meat. Bean dishes were salted by adding salt meat to them. In French, there was a proverb for hard times which was "les haricots sont pas salés" ("the beans aren't salted"), meaning in effect that there wasn't even enough money to buy salt meat to flavour the beans.
The first words of the proverb, "les haricots", according to this theory, were shortened down in pronounciation to "zydeco."
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