This is a top notch recipe for Hoppin' John and well worh the extra work it takes. When I can't find fatback in the stores, I just use bacon and that seems to work out well. I often crumble the reserved bacon into the rice at the end once I have mixed the rice and peas together. I serve this once a year on New Year's Day with Esau's Collard Greens recipe and Ham. Old Southern wive's tail passed down from my grandmother says that this is the GOOD LUCK meal for the new year. Happy 2009 to everyone!