Beef tenderloin or New York strip steak, it isn’t. Nor is it a lamb chop or a veal scaloppini. It doesn’t even get top billing on its home animal (namely a pig). That honor would more than likely go to a ham, baby back ribs or a 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 both addictive and inspirational. Dare we say it’s even 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, you say? How about:
• Bacon sundaes
• Bacon vodka
• Bacon cookies
• Kevin Bacon (Oops! How did he get in here?)
• Bacon soda
• Chocolate-covered bacon
• Bacon coffee
• Peanut brittle
• Mints… Bacon Mints? Just try and explain that one to your human resources director when you lose that important account.
And the list goes on and on… How do these baconoholics profess their love for their favorite meat?
Well, you’ve got your cookbooks, t-shirts, bacon scarves, bacon bandages, and bacon air-fresheners (and to think, all this time you’ve been running the vent above your stove?). Then there’s the Bacon of the Month Club, and you can swear allegiance to any number of bacon-friendly website groups, including the following:
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, and 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). Other 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.
• Bits of fried bacon rind are called crackling.
• 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:
Thick Cut Amish
Pea Meal Bacon
Uncured Apple Wood Smoked
Uncured Maple Bacon
Applegate Naturals “Sunday Bacon” & Turkey Bacon
Kowalski Hardwood Smoked
Boar’s Head Naturally Smoked and Thick Cut
Fully Cooked, Naturally Smoked Canadian Bacon
Indiana Kitchen’s Naturally Hardwood Smoked
Dearborn Hardwood Smoked, Honey Cured, Thick Slice
Canadian Bacon & Apple Wood Smoked Bacon
Alexander & Hornung Canadian-Style Bacon
Butterball Turkey Bacon
Nueske’s Uncured, Wild Cherry Wood Smoked Bacon
Other types of bacon include:
• Pancetta, which is an Italian type of 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 is 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. Well, at Nino’s, we haven’t hogged all the best bacon recipes for ourselves. We’ve added a number of them to our website recipes for you to enjoy too.
• Nino’s Cheezy Cheddar Bacon Spread/Dip
• Roasted Cod with Maple Bacon
• Roasted Acorn Squash with Bacon, Sour Cream & Green Onions
• Twice Baked Potato Salad
• B.L.T. Salad with an Attitude!
• Hushpuppies with Bacon, Onions and Corn
• Audrey’s Baked Beans
• Wilted Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
• Bacon Wrapped Red & Gold Fingerling Potatoes