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Pork substitutes

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi everybody, I'm hoping someone can help me out here - I've been looking all over the web for hours now, but it seems no one has an answer to my question.

I often cook for people who cannot eat any pork (an pork products) for various reasons. The problem is, many yummy recipes call for bacon, pancetta, proscuito or simply the basic ground pork.

I wanted to know, does anyone have any substitutes that could come fairly close in simulating the taste, and possibly even the texture, of pork products?

Thanks in advance for any help ot hints you may be able to give me!
post #2 of 21
There is no perfect replacement but, depending on what you need the pork for you can get a similar texture note a few ways.

Bacon: There is commercially available "Turkey Bacon." I've never used it so I can't comment beyond the fact it exists. If you need something like bacon bits for a sald or such I would use duck cracklings.

Dry cured (like proscuito): In MTL you should have no problem getting dry cured game meats. There is an excellet producer of these sorts of products from Quebec (the name escapes me right now, its Maison, uh, something). They have duck, bison, wapati, and even lamb. All are excellent and much milder that you might think.

Ground: Again, this depends on the dish you are making. My first thought would be a mixture of ground chicken and turkey. Ground veal should also work pretty well. You may need to watch out for the fat content however. These meats will be leaner and may give you a dryer finished product.

Just remember that you will never get an exact duplication, so don't worry about it. Enjoy your result for what it is, and have fun.

--Al
post #3 of 21

Another Thought

If these people don't eat pork, then they don't know what it's supposed to taste like.

I'm not being facicious. If you have a recipe based on pork meatballs, and you use ground turkey instead, and it tastes good, they'll have no negative comments.

You should be able to adapt the recipes, using other proteins, in ways that are appealing.

Game is often a good substitute (although if they can't eat pork for religeous dietary reasons, game is often taboo as well). But lamb and veal are possibilities.

Chicken and duck fat (and, as Allan notes, their cracklings) provide a deeper flavor component than veggie oils, and make good subs.

None of the various bacons and hams can be actually replicated, in terms of flavor. But you can experiment with other cold cuts to devise variations on the theme. For instance, instead of wrapping, say, melon in procieutto, you might try using dried beef, soaked, if necessary, to remove some of the salt.

At base, you want to think "variation on the theme" rather than "substitution." And just think how the need for this can unleash your creative juices.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 21
Allô MaiCar,

(I hope you know this) If one of the reason is religious, substituting the meat is not your only problem. All your ingredients will need to be either Kosher certified or Halal to avoid introducing pork by-products (like gelatin is a good example).

(I concur with Allan) for ground meat I would go for Quebec raised lamb (milder taste), veal, turkey and chicken (or a combination). Add fat and I concur with KY that the best would be duck.

Corn beef or Smokemeat (Montreal style) shredded could substitute the salted/cure taste of pancetta and procuitto but the spice profile of this meat will easily wreck havoc in a recipe so go easy to start.

vegetarian bacon bit will help adding smoky notes to replace bacon (Smokemeat is not actually smoked so will not contribute any smoke notes)

You will need to experiment but some things could turn out surprisingly great!

KY is right ... think variation rather then substitution.

Luc
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
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post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your suggestions :D I wasn't looking for something that was 100% the same, but as close to the original taste as possible (as a start, I'll get creative from there). When trying new recipes or recipes that I am not too attached to, then I don't mind if it doesn't taste 100% (or even 75%) like the original (with pork) recipe. But one recipe I want to try and get as close to the original as possible is my grandmother's meatball stew (which does contain pork).

Thankfully (for me), the main non-pork eater I cook for is not picky about the food being killed the right way (according to his religion). He's basically content with the "no pork please" as he knows that in my culture, eating pork on a regular basis is normal (I don't really like pork so giving it up for me is not a big thing anyway). Also the fact that I am on a tight student budget makes the whole certified Halal thing a bit harder to adhere to (although I am not certain how big of a price difference it would be).

But thank you all again for your suggestions, I will be noting them down in my cooking books. I hope to try a substitute very soon and I'll probably keep people posted on my findings as I'm sure other people have the same dilemma as me.
post #7 of 21
fear of failure;one of those things that fulfills itself with depressing regularity :cool:
post #8 of 21

Hi,

 

I see that you were looking into finding pork substitutes sometime back and I was wondering if you found what you were looking for. I have been looking for exactly this for some time now as I am planning to open a restaurant soon and realize that many dishes require ingredients such as bacon/pancetta .

 

So far (as far as bacon goes) I founds substitutes like lamb, turkey, or beef bacon. I'm not sure how they rank against pork bacon as I do not eat pork myself, but for what it's worth I liked them although my opinion may be moot.

 

As far as ham goes I have tried turkey ham but am not really sure how they can make it even remotely like pork ham.

 

The good thing is that certain ingredients (particularly cured/dry aged meats) like salami, for example, although may be most commonly made from pork, also have beef, lamb or other non-pork versions.

 

Currently, I am still looking for substitutes/variations of pork products including bacon/pancetta, capicola, pepperoni, etc.

 

I guess my biggest issue is that having never tried pork products, I have nothing to judge against so I must rely heavily on the opinion of others who have had it.

 

Thanks!

post #9 of 21

Well in my country we are allowed to use Javali , which is basically like a savage piglet found in the forests of the amazon and around europe. 

Now obviously i doubt you will import them but lets see...

 

Aside from things like tofu , or soy based products there are a series of meats that you could use..

 

i probably think of mutton , lamb , goat or rabbit , things that i can find around here. 

Or go even more exotic and use ostrich lol ( just kidding ). 

 

Also my opinion would be that there is never a perfect pork replacement , you may come close to imitating it , but may never be 100% the same. 

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Dr.Seuss

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Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

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post #10 of 21

http://www.mealmaster.com/recipes/r650.htm

 

http://www.applegate.com/products/natural-turkey-bacon/

 

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/126935/turkey-bacon-help

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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #11 of 21

Turkey bacon tastes just like turkey pastrami which tastes just like turkey ham which tastes ...   nothing at all like pork.

 

mjb.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #12 of 21

lol , i remember watching some farmers channel once when i was a vegetarian. 

The farmer literally fed the piglets bottles , and played with them at the end he goes and says ~ this little sucker is gonna make some great bacon ~ 

 

eek.gif i couldnt believe he said that , while playing and cuddling the piglet 


Edited by KaiqueKuisine - 2/14/14 at 1:01pm

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanMcPherson View Post

There is no perfect replacement but, depending on what you need the pork for you can get a similar texture note a few ways.

Bacon: There is commercially available "Turkey Bacon." I've never used it so I can't comment beyond the fact it exists. If you need something like bacon bits for a sald or such I would use duck cracklings.

Dry cured (like proscuito): In MTL you should have no problem getting dry cured game meats. There is an excellet producer of these sorts of products from Quebec (the name escapes me right now, its Maison, uh, something). They have duck, bison, wapati, and even lamb. All are excellent and much milder that you might think.

Ground: Again, this depends on the dish you are making. My first thought would be a mixture of ground chicken and turkey. Ground veal should also work pretty well. You may need to watch out for the fat content however. These meats will be leaner and may give you a dryer finished product.

Just remember that you will never get an exact duplication, so don't worry about it. Enjoy your result for what it is, and have fun.

--Al

Just use alittle evoo in the mix to prevent drying out..simple

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by teamfat View Post

Turkey bacon tastes just like turkey pastrami which tastes just like turkey ham which tastes ...   nothing at all like pork.

 

mjb.

lol so true...could try adding some liquied smoke (?)

post #15 of 21
Hi ! Im Johnny Bohan. I dont have any formal lessons when it comes to cooking. I just love food. Anyway, really nice thread you have here. Wish to get to know each and everyone of you better.
post #16 of 21

A replacement for prosciutto could be bresaola, however it's not cheap.  But neither is prosciutto.  It has the dried quality, slightly salty, but is made with beef.  However it still depends on the rules the person is following - the beef is soaked in red wine, i believe.  not good for halal.  And if someone had never had prosciutto they might enjoy bresaola and figs for instance, or bresaola and melon, instead of prosciutto with figs or melon

 

A moroccan friend told me that she gets beef salame made in middle eastern countries and she likes it, same for sausages, but we are very close to the middle east here in italy.  . 

 

turkey ham and pork ham (the cooked kind, not prosciutto) taste more the same than different to me. 

 

Turkey or chicken in ground meat form are not at all anything like pork and I find them pretty awful.  But perhaps duck would be better, the flavor is stronger and duck is fattier.  Duck prosciutto would also be closer than some sort of chicken based prosciutto. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #17 of 21

I have similar dilemma as a chef.who has chosen not to prepare pork. I like to think of it as I am offering healthier options. Culinary school was almost nightmarish when it came to following recipes that called for pork products and derivatives, I have no religious obligation yet I have chosen not to eat pork for health reasons. I was instructed then to find adequate substitutions and have my versions compared to someone who had made the "traditional recipe"  I have found that many options such as beef bacon (Best's Beef Co. Newark NJ) bresaola (Italian air dryed salted beef) duck prosciutto and turkey ham while not meeting the exact flavor profile as their porky counter parts offer a nuance of flavor which may be just as/or even more exciting to the palate. These substitutes tend to have flavor that is developed enough to stand on its own. I have put together dishes that tend to score very highly even impressing most of my pork loving fellow chefs. I would only add that culinary artistry is very self styled  and traditional recipes tend to be starting points or simply building blocks the main ingredients should always be your loving influence to your dish and I'm sure you will be fine.

post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by isaborn View Post
 

I have similar dilemma as a chef.who has chosen not to prepare pork. I like to think of it as I am offering healthier options. Culinary school was almost nightmarish when it came to following recipes that called for pork products and derivatives, I have no religious obligation yet I have chosen not to eat pork for health reasons.

 

I have no problem with this, you can cook and eat what you want.  Labeling PORK as unhealthy makes no sense.  There are cuts of pork that are quite lean and offer similar fat contents to chicken.  As a matter of fact, pork tenderloin has less fat  than skinless chicken thigh.  Nobody should feel obligated to cook something they don't like, but labeling an entire animal as unhealthy is illogical at best.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #19 of 21

My general position here is that I accept anyone who would like to avoid any particular ingredient whatsover. Their choice. But why would I want to look for substitutes? With all the wealth of cuisines all over the world, on all of which we can access information with just a click of the mouse these days, it should be easy to find a recipe that accomodates them. Using substitutes to try to approximate dishes tends to lead to dishes which are not what they aim to be. 

post #20 of 21

In reply I dont mean to offend so to be fair, I should start by saying I have never eaten pork. My parents of christian and Islamic descent always taught me it was unhealthy to consume because pigs only have a very simple digestive process and no sweat glands in their body. Any poisons or other unsavory things in the body could only be excreted through their feet and anus.  Also I should add that my personal diet is largely a plant based diet.That being said not eating pork for religious, Christian, Jewish, Islamic obligation, or personal choice is simply a life style choice. I dont have a problem with people who dont eat pork I choose not to. As a professional cook I'm sure I may very well eat, or at least have tried things you may not eat. I realize there are many taboos in the culinary world and will try to keep an open mind. I  think the best way to end this is to quote Chef Andrew Zimmerman "If it looks good eat it!" Best wishes to you Sir or Madame. Eat what you will and please enjoy.

post #21 of 21

Same to you - all I wanted to say is that there really is no scientific point to not eat pork, but that does not even matter - if you do not want or like pork, why not look into the vast amount of great pork-free cuisines? The substitutes, in my personal opinion, do not work well - but there are so many cuisines that do not require substitutes.

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