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deltadoc

Bacon Ends and Pieces

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I have a chance to buy a 30-lb box of Niman Ranch Applewood Bacon Ends and Pieces at on $1.99/lb. This is originally destined for a professional kitchen. What can I reasonably expect to get? Do I surmise that these are the trimmings off of bacon slabs that get packaged up as bacon strips and therefore are grisly and mostly fat?

Don't want to get something that can only be used in limited circumstances. Bacon is chancy as it is sometimes when the ends are grisly and you can't chew them.

On the other hand Niman Ranch is supposed to be a top brand.

Any feedback is appreciated!

doc

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I love bacon ends. I don't think you'll be disappointed; I never have been, but then again, I've never purchased them from Niman, just from local meat markets.

But, 30 pounds is a lot. Will they come frozen? If so, I'd slightly thaw and portion them out into baggies or vacuum seal into reasonable sized portions, or see if a friend wants to go in on this with you. Keep in mind as you portion them out, some pieces will be fattier, some leaner.

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:blink: 30 POUNDS of bacon ends! Yikes! I do like the idea of portioning those into smaller more manageable packets and keeping them frozen.

I see lots of brussel sprouts, green beans, collard greens and pasta dishes like Carbonara in your future. At least that's what I'd do with it. Do report back on your adventures in bacon end uses...

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I bought bacon ends from my local butcher thinking I was going to save myself a tonne of time for dishes just like KatieLoeb mentions...salad and pasta and potato toppings. That was not the case for me. The irregular size (hard to cook), the gristle, and what seemed like more than normal saltiness, just made it a giant pain in my bottom. I didn't do it again. On the other hand, mine didn't come from Nimans... :biggrin: Maybe that'll make as big a difference in the ends as it does in the bacon.


Edited by pax (log)

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the gristle just made it a giant pain in my bottom. I didn't do it again.

That's exactly what I'm worried about.

What I was intending to do was render the bacon fat and save it for cooking. My wife's farm family did this when they were growing up and the fat stayed in the basement and lasted the whole year.

The resultant crispy pieces I intended to portion out in vaccum sealed Foodsaver bags and freeze for use as needed. We've done this with regular bacon strips which we cut up first into smaller pieces and rendered, drained the fat, and fryed the rest slowly until perfectly crispy. They shrivel up and it works great for adding into recipes that call for chopped crisp bacon.

Someone supplied me a web site for Niman Ranch so I decided to ask them what to expect.

Thanks for your replies!

doc

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I prefer bacon ends to normal bacon and buy it when I can get it. The variance in size and shapes means you get a mix of crispy and soft in the same dish and I think it adds an interesting variance.

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I have purchased ends and pieces in bulk, but never 30 pounds - I think 15-20 pounds was the most and mine was from a local butcher who buys slabs and slices it himself for sale in his store.

I separated out the nicer bits and cut them into bite-sized pieces and cooked them to the point I wanted, drained (saving the drippings) and then vacuum-packaged in 1-cup portions and froze them. Cooked bacon keeps extremely well in the freezer.

The remainder, gristly bits and rind I put through my meat grinder then rendered it down to drippings. I store the drippings in a crock in my pantry, which remains cool, even during summer heat and it keeps very well. You can also jar it up in quart or pint canning jars if you aren't going to use it within a few months.

The rendering process is much like that used to render lard. Start it out with water and one ends up with perfect cooking fat, and the BCBs can be skimmed off, drained and gently dried in the oven and stored in the freezer for seasoning.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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I would buy all 30 lbs!

In addition to what Andie says, I also use ends and pieces to season beans, greens, and other dishes with the better pieces.

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You can also jar it up in quart or pint canning jars if you aren't going to use it within a few months.

The rendering process is much like that used to render lard.  Start it out with water and one ends up with perfect cooking fat, and the BCBs can be skimmed off, drained and gently dried in the oven and stored in the freezer for seasoning.

I like the ends & pieces, too, but 30#?? If you have the freezer room, go for it.

Knowing that jar of bacon fat is in the fridge is a comfort. Saveur's Jan issue was the 100 greatest things -- and bacon fat was one of them! I love Saveur. :wink:

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Speaking of freezers, we haven't gotten the 30-lb bacon delivery yet, but found 10 lbs of sliced bacon packages. So I cut them up, and rendered them. Got two full quart jars and 52 oz of cooked bacon bits. So I vacuum packed about 5 oz per package (representing 1 lb of cooked bacon), and those 10 little packages take up a whole lot less room than the original 10 lbs of uncooked!

So, me thinks that 30 lbs will probably give me about 6 quarts of fat, and about 9-10 lbs of cooked bacon. Is there a lot of grisly parts in bacon ends? I found just a few in the slices that just weren't edible.

doc

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I just bought a couple pounds of bacon ends tonight. I thought to use them (or some of them) for making black bean soup. Do the bacon ends need any special preparation, such as soaking? Would they be added to a soup cooked or raw? I'm thinking maybe not raw as the unrendered bacon ends would add a lot of fat to the soup.

Any suggestions?

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Partially render the fat off in a pan of water - simmering - until the water is almost gone, then skim out the bacon solids, turn off the heat, wait about 20-30 minutes and skim off the fat that should be floating on top of the water.

You can then finish cooking the water away, toss the solid pieces of bacon back into the pan to SLIGHTLY crisp up, then cool and store in the fridge. The cooked pieces will keep 3-4 weeks in the fridge, if they last than long.

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Never done THAT kind of poundage, but do buy ends at supermarket on occasion. Sometimes fairly consistent slices other times not so much. I usually chunk it up and render till crispy... REAL bacon "bits" and bacon grease... only thing my grandmother ever used for her crab cakes. Next time, gonna coarse grind FIRST with KA attachment my sister gave me.

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Trader Joe's sells a sealed vacuum package of 'bacon ends'

its only about a lbs. I use it for odds and ends. chopped fine browed for veg etc

30 lbs might be over the top. if you separate and freeze make sure you method of freezing does not give you freezer burn and freezer flavor.

this might take some time to eat. being frugal is not always the same as being cheap.

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