It came to my attention a couple weeks ago that I committed a heinous and nearly unforgivable omission of a particular celebration. This is something that I’m actually STUNNED about because it is a celebration that such a large number of people would happily get into, and still do any day of the week, not just when it’s a celebrated day. So today I am going to make up for it with this special edition post celebrating . . . .
I know – how is it possible that I could have missed this most amazing of meats to honor? I have no idea, but I offer this to you today, to make up for it. An entire page on just bacon!
Bacon is wildly popular, especially lately it seems. Don’t get me wrong, bacon has been a loved part of our breakfasts, sandwiches and as toppings for many, many years. The smoky, salty goodness of a great slice of bacon just can’t be beat. Lately though bacon is everywhere. It’s in our desserts, in alcoholic beverages, and even the scent is in body lotions and lip balms! (OK, now I love bacon, but that’s just gross). There are websites set up in honor of bacon, and entire cookbooks dedicated to the versatility and wonder that is bacon.
So what exactly IS bacon? I know most of us know it is usually from pigs, but let’s get a little more technical . . . Bacon is a meat product prepared from a pig, and usually cured. Large quantities of salt, either in a brine or in dry packing, are used to cure it. The result of this curing is “fresh Bacon” (also called “green bacon”) . It can be further dried for weeks or months in cold air, or perhaps boiled or smoked. Fresh and dried bacon is typically cooked before it is eaten. Boiled bacon is ready to eat, and so is some smoked bacon, but both can be cooked further before eating. I can honestly say boiled bacon sounds slimy, but to each his/her own! Bacon is prepared from several different cuts of meat. Usually it is made from the sides and back cuts of the pork, except in the United States, where it is almost always made from the pork belly. This is actually referred to as “American Style” bacon outside of the United States or Canada. The side cut has more meat and less fat than the belly. Bacon can also be made from two distinct back cuts: fatback – almost pure fat, and loin – very lean. Bacon-cured pork loin is also called back bacon! I’ve heard that term before, but had no clue what it really was! So now that we know WHAT bacon is, let’s look at some creative recipes and pictures of it.
Bacon for breakfast – most of us can identify with slices of fried bacon alongside our eggs and toast for breakfast, or with our pancakes/waffles! You get the salty/sweet contrast that just can’t be beat. But what about the other uses of bacon – maybe in with a quiche, or in a muffin, or scrambled in with eggs? There’s no end to what we can do with bacon at breakfast. Now, I don’t fry mine any more – unless we are camping of course. I actually put a cookie cooling rack into a jelly roll pan, and line bacon up on the cooling rack. The fat drips through to the pan, and the bacon stays flat during the cooking process. This works best with thick cut bacon, but in our house, there isn’t any other kind.
Bacon for lunch is also wonderful – bacon cheeseburgers, BLT’s, bacon crumbled onto salads, or in baked potatoes or on soups! It just contributes a wonderful flavor to all of them! Just be sure that no matter how you are having your bacon at lunch time, that you are GENEROUS with the portions! No wimpy slice or two on a sandwich. No, pile it on. Mmmm . . . delicious every single time.
Bacon translates to the dinner menu with ease, as the fats, salts and crispy goodness goes with everything. You can eat it on pizza, again on burgers and sandwiches, wrapped around steaks, or any other meat. I know that when my Dad makes meatloaf he always puts bacon over it, and as it bakes the bacon gets crispy, while dripping its juices into the burger and giving it a really smoky, wonderful flavor. It enhances everything it touches, every single time.
Now we can’t overlook the way that bacon can be included in our appetizers in many ways. One of my recent very favorites is bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers. YUM! My hubby bought me a popper stand to put onto the grill . . . we take jalapeno peppers and hollow them out, fill them with a spicy sweet cream cheese mixture, wrap them up tightly with bacon and put them on the grill. Oh my goodness, they are absolutely delicious. But don’t stop there! You can chop up crisp bacon and use them in a filling for stuffed mushrooms, put them on mini quiches, You can wrap just about anything in them . . . dates, scallops, shrimp, figs . . . the list goes on and on.
Bacon has found its way into many desserts – from chocolate chip cookies, sprinkled onto cupcakes and even dipped in chocolate! Have you seen the bacon topped maple bars??? OH MY GOSH! Yum! The salty and sweet combination has always been one that so many can identify with as being a favorite from the time they were old enough to start choosing their own food. It really isn’t so far fetched to combine bacon with our sweet endings to our meals . . . take a look!
Bacon has found its way into our beverages. My daughter is a bartender and makes Bloody Mary’s with bacon vodka and a bacon slice . I had no idea until she said something that they had bacon flavored vodka. We picked up a bottle of bacon flavored wine at a winery not long ago – but we’re saving it for a special day.
Last, but not least, bacon can be used in creative artistic food sculptures! Some of the pictures I’ve found are AMAZING!
hahaha Bacon gravy “boat”
Turkey wrapped in bacon! I HAVE to try this!
Tower of Bacon!
What are your favorite meals with bacon in them? I’d really like to know! Honestly, I’ve never met a bacon dish that wasn’t worthy of giving a try. Whether baked in the oven, fried on the stove, or cooked in the woods over an open fire, there’s something universally loved about bacon. God Bless You and I’ll see you next time!