Are you a fan of English-style ham, but confused about the difference between pickled pork and gammon?
You’re not alone. While these two cuts of meat may seem similar, they have distinct differences that can affect the taste and texture of your dish.
In this article, we’ll explore the nuances of pickled pork and gammon, and help you understand which one is right for your recipe.
So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn about these delicious cuts of meat.
Is Pickled Pork The Same As Gammon?
The short answer is no, pickled pork is not the same as gammon.
Gammon is a cured but uncooked ham, typically made from the hind leg of a pig. It is salted, brined, or smoked to preserve it and develop its flavor. Once cooked, gammon becomes ham and can be eaten immediately.
On the other hand, pickled pork is a cut of meat that has been soaked in a vinegar-based solution to preserve it. It is similar to corned beef or salt pork and is often used in Southern cuisine.
While both gammon and pickled pork are cuts of pork that have been preserved, they have different flavors and textures. Gammon has a distinct smoky flavor and a tender texture, while pickled pork has a tangy, acidic flavor and can be quite tough if not cooked properly.
What Is Pickled Pork?
Pickled pork, also known as pickle meat, is a type of cured meat that is made by soaking pork in a brine solution. The brine typically consists of salt, sugar, vinegar, and various seasonings. This process of pickling pork dates back to a time before refrigeration, when meat needed to be preserved to prevent spoilage.
Pickled pork is a popular ingredient in Southern cuisine, particularly in Louisiana where it is often served with red beans and rice. It adds a unique tangy flavor to dishes and can be used in a variety of recipes such as white beans or smothered cabbage.
To make pickled pork, fresh pork is cut into chunks and then soaked in the brine solution for several hours or even days. The meat is then cooked before being added to dishes. Pickled pork has a distinct vinegar flavor that cannot be replicated by any other method.
How Is Pickled Pork Prepared?
To prepare pickled pork, you will need a 2-quart nonreactive saucepan, garlic cloves, crushed red pepper or cayenne, onion, black peppercorns, and very fresh pork. First, combine all the ingredients except the ice and the pork in the saucepan and bring them to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add ice while stirring.
Next, place the pork into a 1-gallon zip top bag and add the cooled pickling liquid. Remove as much air as possible, seal the bag, and place it in the refrigerator for at least 3 days, turning the bag occasionally. This allows the pork to absorb all the flavors of the pickling liquid. You can use the pickled pork within two weeks or remove it from the brine and freeze it for later use.
Another way to prepare pickled pork is by using a slow cooker. Simply place the pork, vinegar, bay leaves, peppercorns, sugar, and enough water to barely cover the pork in a 4.5-liter slow cooker. Cook it covered on low for 8 hours. This method results in tender and flavorful pickled pork that can be used in various dishes like beans, vegetables, red beans and rice, and more.
What Is Gammon?
Gammon is a specific type of cured pork that is taken from the hind leg of a pig. It is similar to bacon in that it is cured through the use of salt, brine, or smoke. However, gammon is not fully cooked and must be cooked before it can be eaten. Once cooked, gammon becomes ham and can be enjoyed immediately.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, gammon is a popular choice for Christmas dinner, often served as a joint or sliced into steaks. It can be found in most supermarkets and butcher shops, either smoked or unsmoked, and on or off the bone.
The term “gammon” is derived from the Middle English word for “ham,” and it has been enjoyed for thousands of years. Gammon is a versatile cut of pork that can be used in a variety of recipes, including stews, casseroles, and sandwiches. Its smoky flavor and tender texture make it a favorite among meat lovers.
How Is Gammon Prepared?
Gammon is typically prepared by boiling or simmering it in a seasoned liquid. To start, you will need a large pot that can fit the entire joint with enough room to cover it completely with liquid. You can use water, fruit juice, cider, or any other liquid of your choice, along with fresh herbs to add flavor.
Before cooking, you should soak the gammon in water for 24 hours to remove any excess salt from the joint. Then, drain and rinse it with clean water. Gammon usually comes encased in a netting, which should not be removed as it helps the gammon retain its shape during the cooking process.
Once the gammon is ready, place it in the pot with the stock vegetables and cover it with water. Bring the pot to a boil and then let it simmer for 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the joint. As a general rule of thumb, allow 20 minutes per 450g of meat plus an additional 20 minutes.
After simmering, remove the gammon from the pot and score the skin and fat. Mix together ingredients for a glaze and spoon it over the skin. Place a trivet of vegetables on the base of a roasting tin and place the gammon on top. Cook it in the oven for 1 1/2 – 2 hours at 180°C/gas mark 4, glazing it every 15 minutes or so.
The cooking time will vary depending on the weight of your meat. To calculate the cooking time of your gammon joint, weigh it beforehand. A boneless gammon joint typically requires about 40 minutes of cooking for every kg plus an extra 30 minutes. For example, a 1.5kg gammon joint will require around 1 hour and 30 minutes of cooking time in total.
Which One Should You Choose For Your Recipe?
When deciding which meat to use in your recipe, it’s important to consider the flavors and textures you want to achieve. If you’re looking for a smoky flavor and tender texture, gammon is the way to go. It’s perfect for dishes like ham sandwiches or a classic ham and pineapple pizza.
However, if you want a tangy, acidic flavor and don’t mind a tougher texture, pickled pork might be the better choice. It’s great for adding depth of flavor to dishes like red beans and rice or smothered cabbage.
It’s also important to note that pickled pork is often used as a seasoning meat rather than a main dish, while gammon can stand alone as the star of the meal.
Ultimately, the choice between gammon and pickled pork depends on your personal taste preferences and the specific recipe you’re making. Both cuts of meat are delicious in their own way and can add unique flavors to any dish.