Beef bacon. It just sounds weird to say. Bacon as most of us know it comes from pigs and there's never really been a reason to question that. Before now, beef bacon has only been available through Halal Butchers (for the most part), although it's slowly creeping onto your local grocery store shelves. We took it for a test run this morning and as you might expect there are some differences! For our morning test run we used not only beef bacon, but uncured beef bacon. This style of bacon hasn't gone through the curing process, where meat sits for 3 days in a brine of water and sugar and is then smoked. Because it hasn't gone through these steps, the bacon is less sweet and still retains its natural moisture. Normally this isn't really something to write home about, but cured beef bacon tends to be a little on the dry (although less fatty) and lackluster side (think thinner jerky without spices). It's advertised as a healthier alternative to pork bacon with grassfed beef bacon being almost 90% lean. But like most things that are 90% lean, it can also be lean on taste as well. Although cured beef bacon is delicious in its own right (and still has less fat than pork due to the cut it's made from), if we're going to deviate from pork bacon (for other than health reasons), we stand by the idea of uncured vs. cured. We cooked this morning's meat treat on the stove top, although next time we will be baking it instead. Since it still has all of its yummy fats and juices it can "spit" a little more than we prefer. Putting it on a cookie sheet in a pan with sides would have yielded perfect results for sure! It cooks up short and fat instead of long and skinny, but still had a good ratio of soft bits to crunchy, tasty bits! The texture is more "meaty" than your average pork bacon. It feels like the main protien in a dish and doesn't really feel like something you would top a hamburger with, although we can see it used in combination with a lighter protein such as chicken or seafood. It would make killer BLT's however, which is where our morning left overs will be used up this afternoon. We picked ours up at the local Whole
Paycheck Foods, but we've seen it around other grocers as well. It didn't run us anymore than pork bacon of the same quality. Next time you feel like trying something new, give beef bacon a whirl! Oh, and don't forget to use the drippings for your next salad!
Here's a few great recipes to give it a try in:
Herbed Lentils with Bacon
Bacon and Eggs Appetizer
Bacon-Sage Meatballs with Buttermilk Gravy
Broccoli with Hot Bacon Dressing