Appalachian Food

Streak-ed Meat

Cornbread, green onions, and streak-ed meat

streaked bacon, streaked meat, streaked middling, streaky lean noun Same as striped meat.

A variant form of two syllables: streak-ed.
B Salt pork, bacon.
1928 (in 1952) Mathes Tall Tales (68) Birdeye Collins was the first to sling across his shoulders his snack of corn dodger, streaked middling and home-ground coffee, rolled in an old blanket tied at the ends with leather thongs. 1940 Farr More Tenn Expressions 448 streaked meat = bacon. “City folks eat streaked meat.” 1960 Burnett My Valley 26 As a precaution, a slab of streaked bacon was added. 1973 Pederson et al. LAGS streaked meat (Cocke Co TN). 1989 Smith Flyin’ Bullets 234 “All there was in it.” said Delozier, “was a piece of streak-ed meat and a butcher knife!” 1990 Oliver Cooking Hazel Creek 13 When a settler wanted a mess of them during the winter they were unstrung, broken up, washed & put to soak for a while, and then cooked like fresh green beans with fatback or streaky lean for seasoning.

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

I grew up eating streak-ed meat and The Deer Hunter and I still eat it today. Although it may look like bacon, it has a totally different flavor. Some folk say the meat is way too salty for them and they soak it in water before frying it. We never soak ours in water.

We typically eat fried streak-ed meat with soup beans and cornbread and we also use it to season beans as the dictionary entry describes.

Granny and Pap sometimes called the meat fat back. I’ve also heard folks in this area call it streak-a-lean or streak-o-lean.


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  • Reply
    William Thomas
    May 11, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    The saltier the better, but I cant eat it anymore☹️

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 27, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    One more thang…Fatback chunks had no lean, just plain white salted fatback…and was mostly used for seasoning beans or rendered out to season peas, etc…Streaked meat had some lean running through it…used to add a touch of fat and lean to green beans…

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 27, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    If Dad called before coming home and Mom didn’t have any meat cooked…maybe just beans n’ greens for instance..He would stop at the store and have his good friend the butcher cut him off a chunk of streaked meat…He would fry it up crispy like…salt and all..He had to have meat at every meal…He would relish that piece of streaked meat with his cornbread and beans….Oh and a piece of fresh cut onion..sweet or hot or fresh pulled out of his little onion patch.
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…Dad cut his streaked meat kinda thick to fry it to his liken!

  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    August 21, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    My grandparents and parents butchered a hog every year. Girls were not allowed near the actual butchering. Once I got old enough I cut lard, that isI cut the fat into chunks to be rendered. Lard was used in all areas needing fat, frying, baking, etc.

    The streak-ed meat is, I think, what we called side meat, it was not cooked until it was cured. It was on the table nearly every day. It was swimming in fat on the platter, no one thought about draining it on paper towels or old newspapers.

    We always are tenderloin on butchering day. It was a feast.

  • Reply
    Fay Pitts
    July 13, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    My folks had a meat box and Daddy covered every thing in a layer of salt. There were 9 in our family so we didn’t eat fat back and streak o lean every day. The night before, Mama soaked the meat in a bowl of buttermilk, then for breakfast she battered and fried it and made biscuits and white gravy to go with it. What a feast we had and what good memories shared here today.

  • Reply
    Woody Woodall
    May 2, 2018 at 10:15 am

    KCook thes streak o lean really slow, serve with milk gravy and biscuits. Just no better way to start the day!

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    May 1, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    Brings back lots of memories Tipper. When hog killing day rolled around we eat high on the hog. Lol

  • Reply
    Pat Young
    May 1, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    In the east NC, we call it “streak -o-lean, streak-o-fat”. It’s salted down to remove the moisture. Fat back is fat only and is also salted. Both are great fried or used unfried as seasoning. YUM!

  • Reply
    Yecedrah Higman
    May 1, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    My momma floured and fried it when I was a youngster. We loved it then and my family loves it now. Momma would fix a big platter to take to church on pot luck supper night and it would be gone before I could even get close to it. It is still pretty yummy!!

  • Reply
    Annette Hensley
    May 1, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Streak-ed meat was a staple in our kitchen when growing up. I loved it with cornbread and almost anything else. It was and is absolutely the perfect seasoning for green beans. My mouth is watering just by thinking of it. I can’t find good streak-ed meat here in Michigan.

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    May 1, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Haven’t heard those words since I was a kid. I remember my mother talking about streaked middling and streak-o-lean used in all my grandmother’s cooking beans or peas. My grandparents raised their own pigs and butchered them on a really cold day in late fall. I think my mother used fatback when they moved north and I think that green beans and black eyed peas cooked with that beats any lobster, steak, etc., for a meal. I still love the vegetables cooked like that with cornbread, fresh tomatoes and an onion. Yum, Yum!!

  • Reply
    Ed Mauney
    May 1, 2018 at 8:01 am

    All this talk brings back memories of the 1940s when I was a kid growing up. There were 14 of us 11 lived 3 were premature and didnt. I had 7 sisters and 3 brothers. When we killed a hog we used everything but the squeal. My dad would pick the coldest day to kill the hog. My older b brother and I had the chore of pouring boiling water on the hog so dad could scrape the hair off it. You never forget that smell. Those cold freezing feet and hands wow. But the thought of what we would have for supper would make all of this hard work worth it. My mother would have the old wood stove puffing late evening and fixing those cat head biscuits. Dad would cut that tende!on out of the hog and mother would slice a huge slabs into the frying pan then make a huge pot of rice heavens to Betsey how good it was. Back to steaked meat which comes in second to tendelon . Dad would salt what we called side meat after putting brown sugar and salt on it and let it cure. When mother would fri e this you could hear the neighbors lips smacking just from the smell . These days you don’t forget. Shady Rest N.C.

  • Reply
    April 30, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    That last quote sounded like someone cooking leather britches?
    I would like to know more about cuts of meat, as I think it varies a lot from place to place. I follow some bloggers from the UK, and I think their typical cuts of pork used in cooking might be the same as yours, though maybe by a different name.

  • Reply
    William Buntin
    April 30, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Tip, hope everything is ok. Didn’t get a post for today and just wanted to let you know!
    God bless,

    • Reply
      April 30, 2018 at 3:46 pm

      Bill-as you can see I posted LOL! For some reason my service didn’t send it out though. I’m investigating to see what happened. I’m glad you knew how to find me anyway 🙂

  • Reply
    April 30, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    I never did like streak-ed meat, thought it was too salty. But I did like it in beans, green beans, and I even liked it in Milk Gravy. All my folks just loved streak-ed lean in biscuits, but not me. I recon I was just weird or something.

    I didn’t get an e-mail today with the Blind Pig, so I looked on yesterday’s post and found it under Recent Posts. …Ken

  • Reply
    Papaw Ammons
    April 30, 2018 at 11:27 am

    I always thought that fatback came from the back of the hog and streaked meat came from the belly. They are different kinds of fat. Bacon is just cured streaked meat. Bacon nowdays gets a lot of its flavor from the stuff they put on it, some of which is very bad for you. Streaked meat is packed in salt or frozen. Salted fatback and streaked meat left in a cool dry area will form a hard crust that has to be trimmed off before it is used. That is where most of the salt stays. The salt draws a lot of the moisture from throughout the meat which along with the lower temperature prevents bacteria from growing. The fat left after the trimming shouldn’t have an overbearing salt taste especially when it is used as a seasoning.
    Bacon and some fatback found in stores has been injected with a salt solution and other preservatives to make it shelf stable even without refrigeration. That meat will be salty all the way through.

    That is my two cents worth. I wonder how much two cents worth is really worth these days.

  • Reply
    April 30, 2018 at 9:02 am

    It was a rather sad day when I had to give up my “fat back” and “streak a lean.” Now they are saying the substitute is worse for you. I still occasionally use that food for the kings if I want my green beans to be really tasty. Instead of bacon, growing up we would sometimes have a pan of fried fat back with breakfast. It was wonderful on a biscuit. Also, if we slaughtered a hog, there was the best fried meat I ever tasted. It was possibly tenderloin? I think the secret is staying as busy as our forefathers did, and you burn off all those fats and sweets we Appalachians love so well.
    Later, my friends from the city introduced me to streak a lean. I then seasoned all cooked greens and green beans with this. During a time I lived in the city, I had to search really hard to find these favorites. Matter of fact, some of my family from the north would load up on our Appalachian pinto beans and fat back when they visited WV. They said they could not find in their state. Others can have their prime rib, as I would rather have a pot of soup beans and cornbread with a little fried fat back on the side any day. Of course, there needs to be green onions which are planted in every small dab of soil I can find.
    The reason I love to follow your blog is nobody anymore talks about those wonderful things so unique to Appalachia. I cannot figure if it is a “tetch” of snobbery or times are changing. I have such a special group of family and friends, as most don’t look at me like I am speaking in a foreign tongue when I mention fatback or leather britches. My friends are well chosen, and my family grew up just like I did.

  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    April 30, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Always use it in my beans and peas. Bacon can’t touch the flavor that streak-ed meat gives ’em.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 30, 2018 at 7:47 am

    I remember it well, Tip. We ate it sliced and fried or in chunks in dried beans. We called it fat back if there was only fat and no streak of lean. We called it streak-ed meat if there was a streak of lean. The fatback was cheaper than the streaked met. I loved them both fried or in beans. I loved the salty greasy crispness of the fried meat. To call it meat is a bit of an exaggeration. There was little meat and mostly fat.
    Spring of the year it went with spring lettuce green onions and cornbread.
    Mighty fine eat’n!

  • Reply
    April 30, 2018 at 6:57 am

    My family called it fatback and used it to season green beans cooked all day long on the stove. Possibly also in soup beans, but I don’t specifically remember that. I’ve never heard it called streaked meat and never eaten it fried either. Its too salty for me now, and that’s a sad thing because I’ve never learned to like green beans cooked any other way!

  • Reply
    Betty "JO" Eason Benedict
    April 30, 2018 at 6:10 am

    Haven’t had that in years. I remember my Mom flouring it and frying crispy……..but Granny would put a big seasoning chunk in her beans. That was the way I remember my Dad liking it………slice off a piece of the seasoning meat and smear a little mustard on it. Need to refresh my taste buds…….next grocery trip!!!!! 🙂

  • Reply
    April 30, 2018 at 5:28 am

    Mighty good eaten. Mama used to cook it a lot when I lived at home, we don’t eat it much, just regular bacon, my wife saves the drippens to flavor some of her cooking tho.

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