Tasso is a unique meat variety that is added to various dishes. It is unlikely for people to eat it on its own like they do other meat varieties.
The ham has a spicy and smoky flavor. Most people use it to add flavor to dishes or season for soups.
Tasso ham is famous in Louisiana. It is a common ingredient in several Louisiana dishes. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to find outside Louisiana.
The good news is that you can easily substitute it with other ingredients. Ideal Tasso ham substitutes are; smoked ham, Canadian bacon, spicy chorizo, andouille sausage, andouillette, Portuguese chorizo, and Mexican chorizo.
This article discusses the Tasso ham substitutes mentioned above in detail, but first, let us look at what Tasso ham is.
What is Tasso ham?
Tasso ham is spiced, cured, and smoked meat manufacturers make from pork shoulder. They first marinate the pork and then smoke it.
The most common curing agents they use are brown sugar, kosher salt, onion powder, allspice, bay leaves, and cloves.
Afterward, the pork is rinsed and rubbed with a mixture of spices. The most common spices manufacturers use are; filé powder, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder.
They then smoke the meat for 48 hours, resulting in a spicy, smoky, and slightly tangy Tasso ham.
Tasso ham contains more fat than other meat varieties and has a rich flavor. Since Tasso ham is spicy and salty, it works well when added to dishes in small amounts.
You can add it to soups, rice, gravy, and gumbo. You can also add it to dishes that need a kick of flavor.
You can use Tasso whole, but if your application requires smaller chunks, you should chop or dice it.
Here are a few substitutes you can use in place of Tasso ham.
Smoked ham is arguably the best substitute for Tasso ham. Like Tasso ham, smoked ham has a smoky flavor.
Manufacturers make smoked ham from pork leg and cure it with spices and salt. They cook it steadily with a kiln to give it a smoky taste.
Smoked ham may not be as spicy as Tasso ham. If you find the spice levels too low, you can add seasoning to enhance its flavor.
This substitute is readily available. You can buy it in a supermarket near you, and there are several varieties to choose from. I prefer German smoked harm because its sweet and smoky flavor mimics the flavor of Tasso ham. Try using it the next time you need a Tasso ham substitute.
Bacon’s flavor and texture are very similar to Tasso ham. Manufacturers make it by curing and smoking pork loin.
Canadian bacon is pre-cooked and pre-sliced. Like Tasso ham, it has a smoky flavor. Although it is not as spicy as Tasso ham, Canadian bacon is a suitable dish replacement.
You can enhance the flavor of this substitute by sautéing it with onions, garlic, and pepper before adding it to your dish.
Canadian bacon is arguably the healthiest Tasso ham substitute. Therefore, it is a good option for those on a diet.
Chorizo is a Spanish sausage that is fermented, cured, and smoked. You can slice and eat it without cooking or chop it up and add it to your dish to make it more flavorful.
Although it is not necessary to cook chorizo before eating or adding to your dishes, most recipes require you to.
Spicy chorizo is an excellent replacement for Tasso ham. For the best results, chop the chorizo and season with smoked paprika or salt before adding it to your dish.
Alternatively, you can use Portuguese chorizo. Its flavor closely resembles Tasso ham.
Andouille is a pork, grained, and smoked sausage with a rough texture. It is common in Louisiana cuisine and is commonly referred to as Cajun sausage.
The most common ingredients used in andouille sausage are garlic, pepper, wine, onion, and other spices. Consequently, they are pretty spicy.
Buy the French or German varieties if you want a less spicy version. They are less spicy in comparison.
You can use this substitute in recipes that call for Tasso ham.
Manufacturers make andouillete by combining pork with wine, onion, pepper, and chitterlings.
Andouillette is a grained, coarse sausage with a distinct aroma. If you get grossed out by intense aromas, Andouillete may not be the best substitute for you.
Andouillete is a suitable replacement for Tasso ham. If you are keen on the smoky taste, you can adjust the seasoning in your recipes to mimic Tasso ham’s smoky flavor.
You can use andouillette in any dish that calls for Tasso ham.
Portuguese chorizo is very similar to Spanish chorizo. It has a mild, spicy flavor and a robustly smoky flavor.
You can eat Portuguese chorizo as it is or add it to dishes that call for Tasso ham.
I highly recommend eating it raw on a charcuterie plate together with other sausage varieties.
Mexican chorizo is an excellent Tasso ham substitute. It is arguably the most flavorful sausage available.
This sausage is made from a mixture of pork and beef or ground pork. It is a common ingredient in Mexican recipes because it gives them a rich flavor and distinct aroma.
Since Mexican chorizo is uncured, you must cook it before eating or adding it to your dishes. This way, it won’t expose you to any bacteria.
You can buy Mexican chorizo on the meat aisle of any supermarket or grocery store near you.
Tasso ham has a distinct spicy and smoky flavor. It is an excellent addition to small dishes since it adds a rich flavor and pleasant aroma.
Tasso ham is not too famous outside Louisiana, so it may be challenging to find. Luckily, it is not too tricky to substitute. There are several alternatives whose flavor closely resembles Tasso ham.
My go-to Tasso ham substitutes are smoked ham, spicy chorizo, and Canadian bacon. However, all the other alternatives work well in recipes.
If you find any of the alternatives too mild for your liking, add your preferred spices to make them spicier or smokier.