I grew up on dried beef, and knew very well how it was made
and how it tasted. In spite of this, until recently, I thought all salt pork was
in a liquid brine. The re-enactors at Fort Abercrombie set me straight. One of
the soldier’s wives brought samples of hardtack and salted pork. To my
surprise, the pork was like dried beef, rolled in thick layers of salt, and set
aside to dry. The salt prevented spoilage. To use, the salt was scraped off and
the meat cooked in a soup pot to reconstitute. Brined salt pork was
inconvenient to carry, and so the dried salt pork was used to outfit the
soldiers. It flavored beans, barley, peas, or whatever the soldier found to
The hardtack was hard as a rock and impossible to eat
without mixing it into a mush in coffee or other liquid. Yum—not!
I’ll be at Aber Days this coming Saturday, August 5th. I believe the reenactors will be there, also.
#Civil War #Re-enactment #Union Soldiers