Bringin’ Home the Bacon

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Beef tenderloin or New York strip steak it isn’t.

Nor a tender lamb chop,

…or a veal scallopini.

It doesn’t even get “top billing” on its home animal (a pig).

That honor would go to ham, baby back ribs, or perhaps the ever-popular pork loin.

For a piece of meat that comes from an unlikely animal and from an unlikely place, BACON sure gets its due.

Its love is universal, and its allure goes beyond just meat.

Bacon is something greater–something more than meat. It’s addictive, inspirational, and dare I say, spiritual?

It must be!

Why else would SO many sane people come up with SO many ways (other than the obvious) to use bacon?

It’s obvious that they’re in “Hog Heaven.”

To many meat lovers, bacon is “Meat Candy.”

So besides bacon and eggs, what else can you use bacon in?

How about:

Bacon sundaes, bacon vodka, bacon cookies, Kevin Bacon (Oops? How did he get in here?), bacon soda, chocolate-covered bacon, bacon coffee, popcorn, lollipops, peanut brittle, toothpaste, mints…

Bacon mints? Just try and explain that one to your firm’s human resources director when you lose that important account…

And the list goes on…

And just how do these “Baconoholics” profess their love for their favorite meat?

Well, you’ve got your cookbooks, t-shirts, bacon scarves, bacon Band-Aids, and bacon home air-fresheners. (And to think, all this time you’ve been running the vent above your stove?) Or they join a “Bacon of the Month Club” or even swear allegiance to any number of bacon-friendly website groups, such as:

www.baconunwrapped.com
www.baconfreak.com
www.republicofbacon.com
www.bacontoday.com
www.baconbaconsf.com
www.bacon.alltop.com
www.thepignextdoor.com
www.baconnaise.com
www.bacn.com

The term bacon on its own refers generically to strip bacon from the belly meat of the pig, which is the most popular type of bacon sold in the U.S. The word bacon is said to have derived from the Old High German “bacho,” meaning buttock or side. It can be eaten smoked, boiled, fried, baked, or grilled, or you can use it as a minor ingredient to flavor dishes. It’s also used for barding and larding roasts and other meats. You can even use it to wrap seafood, such as scallops or shrimp.

Bacon comes in many forms, flavors, and styles. It can come from the cheeks, backs, and bellies (pork belly being the most common you see in the market); it can be cured or uncured, smoked or unsmoked (and the smoke can come from many different types of wood, each with its own distinct smell and flavor). Additional flavors can be added, such as maple, honey, or spices, which add to a particular brand’s appeal.

Basic Bacon Factoids:

  • Good bacon is more than ½ fat, which gives the bacon most of its true flavor.
  • A typical pound of bacon has 16 to 20 slices.
  • Rendered bacon grease is often used as a cooking fat, especially in Southern U.S. Cuisine.
  • Cracklings are the name for the bits of fried bacon rind.
  • 1 slice of bacon = 1 TBSP Bacon Bits once fried.
  • In the U.K., unsmoked bacon is called green bacon.
  • A side of un-sliced bacon was once known as a flitch; it’s now known as a slab.

There are many bacon brands, and they all have their followers, which is why we carry so many different name brands and styles at Nino’s. For instance, we carry:

Nino’s

  • Homemade, Thick Cut Amish
  • Maple Bacon
  • Pepper Bacon
  • Pea Meal Bacon

Niman Ranch

  • Uncured Apple Wood Smoked
  • Uncured Maple Bacon

Applegate Naturals

  • “Sunday Bacon”

Kolozsvari

  • Hungarian, Smoked Bacon

Boar’s Head

  • Naturally Smoked
  • Fully Cooked, Naturally Smkd Canadian Bacon

Indiana Kitchens

  • DiBi’s Naturally Hardwood Smoked

Dearborn

  • Hardwood Smoked, Honey Cured, Thick Slice
  • Canadian Bacon

Alexander & Hornung

  • Canadian Style Bacon

Butterball

  • Turkey Bacon

Nueske’s

  • Uncured, Wild Cherry Wood Smoked Bacon
  • Smoked Bacon
  • Canadian Style Bacon

Other types of bacon include:

  • Pancetta, which is an Italian-type bacon from the belly area. It’s rolled up into a cylinder after curing.
  • Canadian or back bacon, which is actually pork loin that has been cured and smoked similar to ham.
  • Cottage bacon, which is thinly sliced lean pork meat from a shoulder cut that’s typically oval shaped and meaty. It is cured and then sliced into round pieces for baking or frying.
  • Jowl bacon is cured and smoked cheeks of pork.
  • Pea Meal bacon, which is back bacon, brined and coated in fine cornmeal.

By now, you just might be getting hungry for a little bacon yourself? Well, at Nino’s, we haven’t “hogged” all the best bacon recipes for ourselves-

Twice Baked Yukon Gold Potato Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. Bacon Fat or Butter
1 cup Sour Cream
2 large Vidalia Onions, cut in 1” pieces
½ cup Green Onions, cut ¼” pieces
¼ tsp. Ground Black Pepper
½ lb. Bacon, cut ¼”, cooked crisp
3 cups Chicken Stock, strong
As Desired Additional Sour Cream for Garnish
4 large Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut in 1” pieces
To Taste Salt & Pepper
1 cup Half & Half
Optional Garnish Yukon Gold Potatoes, diced & fried

Method:

  1. Cut bacon into ¼ inch strips and fry until crisp. Reserve crisp bacon for garnish and use 3 Tbsp. of rendered bacon fat or butter to sauté onion over medium heat until tender but not browned.
  2. Add chicken stock and potatoes and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Remove potatoes with stock from heat and add half and half.
  4. Simmer 15 minutes, then remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
  5. Place mixture in blender. Blend until smooth then strain soup mixture if desired, otherwise, return soup to a soup pot and reheat.
  6. Finish soup with ½ cup sour cream then season soup with salt & pepper to taste.
  7. To serve, portion soup in bowls or cups and finish with an additional dollop of sour cream, crispy bacon and green onions.