Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Interesting Bacon Products


Fat Guy
 Share

Recommended Posts

I saw a couple of interesting bacon products at the supermarket today. I don't usually stop at the bacon section, because I'm both a member of the Bacon of the Month Club (www.gratefulpalate.com) and a consumer of mostly high-end artisanal bacon. But I love bacon in all its forms and was especially pleased to see some of the clever new schemes that have been devised for bringing the maximum possible amount of bacon into every American home.

The first item I noticed was Hormel's pre-cooked bacon strips. These look incredibly useful, and though I haven't tasted them I see no reason to think they wouldn't just taste like cooked Hormel bacon. The packages are a bit skimpy, but they do contain the equivalent of a cooked-and-drained pound of bacon for about $3.50. They appear to require no refrigeration.

The other item I noticed, out of the corner of my eye as I was preparing to depart the bacon aisle, was microwave-ready bacon. Well, all bacon is microwave-ready by definition, but this bacon came neatly wrapped in absorbent material so you could go direct from package to microwave with no intermediate paper-towel-wrapping step. Very convenient indeed.

Has anybody else witnessed interesting bacon technology lately that I have perhaps overlooked?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another question, one that looks backwards rather than forwards: Can you recommend a local purveyor of worthwhile preservative-free bacon?  I've got a spot in my freezer reserved for it.

"To Serve Man"

-- Favorite Twilight Zone cookbook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Check with the guys at Kurowycky, 124 First Ave. They smoke their own bacon on premises. I'm not positive it's nitrite free, but it probably is. Also the guy at the Union Square Greenmarket is great, and his stuff is all natural. The place in the Grand Central Marketplace is excellent, but I think most of that fancy Euro-style stuff must have preservatives.

Note: I know AHR is in New York City, which is why I'm answering the way I am, even though this is a non-regional board.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh no, Mr. Moderator, please don't delete my post.

The one time that I visited Kurowycky, the older gentleman behind the counter flirted with a lady customer who had already paid while I smiled, cleared my throat, and almost flailed my arms for ten minutes before leaving, porkless.  I know that everybody loves the place, so it must just be me.

Is that the wild boar guy at the Greenmarket?  If not, then name and/or day(s) and/or approximate coordinates, please?

Thanks again.

"To Serve Man"

-- Favorite Twilight Zone cookbook

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And you'd have behaved differently in his position?

The Greenmarket is so unstable I couldn't say where the bacon guy is right now. There are actually two such guys, I think. Liza will know.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first item I noticed was Hormel's pre-cooked bacon strips. These look incredibly useful, and though I haven't tasted them I see no reason to think they wouldn't just taste like cooked Hormel bacon. The packages are a bit skimpy, but they do contain the equivalent of a cooked-and-drained pound of bacon for about $3.50. They appear to require no refrigeration.

I really love bacon.   A couple of months ago I bought a large box (I think it comes in a dbl pkg) of precooked bacon from Costco (I forget the brand name).  It's a bacon that doesn't need refrigeration and sits on the shelf, and sounds like what you are describing.  I thought...what a great idea.  Anyway, it wasn't very good.  In fact it was really awful.  I would not recommend it.  We ate 2 slices and either threw the rest out or gave it away.  ps.. glad to see the site back up again  :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you're talking about the guy who's usually at the 17th Street end of the market. I've had his smoked sausage, but not his bacon. I'm pretty sure it's made without nitrates.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Blue Heron, tell me more. What was the trouble with the precooked bacon? Do you think it was lousy bacon to begin with, that would have inevitably yielded bad bacon even if cooked to order? Or do you suspect it's an inherent flaw in the precooking process?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was such a bad experience that I've pretty much blocked the memory, but as I recall the problem was that it had an artificial (chemical) taste to it and didn't taste like normal bacon (maybe similar to the difference between real popcorn and microwave pop corn, although I will eat microwave popcorn on occasion).  I think it's a problem in the processing of it.  It didn't have the right mouth feel to it either.  I remember wondering to myself if I could maybe salvage the rest of the package(s) by using it in BLT sandwiches, and then deciding that the BLT would not disguise the artificial flavor to my satisfaction.  I would be interested to hear if anyone else has tried this product and their thoughts...maybe it's just me (and hubby) that didn't like it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you heat the precooked bacon, or did you eat it just out of the package? This is fascinating to me. If at all possible, try to remember as much as you can.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the early 1970s I worked on a microwave cooked bacon product called Reddi-bacon.  It was a based on a technology owned at that time by the Reddi-whip people (Hunt-Wesson) and licensed to Sugardale Foods in Canton, Ohio.  We (Grey Advertising) conducted research on the product.  It was packed in toast-sized packs each containing five strips of perfectly cooked premium bacon.  Four or five packs were in each box (20-25 strips total).  To heat, you popped a pack in the toaster.  In two or three minutes up popped ready to eat bacon.  A small absorbent pad at the bottom of the pack took up any residual grease.  The product was delicious. Our research showed that the product was so good that bacon consumption increased from a weekend treat to a nightly snack or meal accompanyment.  Mothers reported having to hide the packages from their kids.  The product was too much of a good thing!  Another problem with the business at that time was that Sugardale wanted to price it like a packaged food--the same all the time.  Pork belly prices fluctuated so much that they could not keep a steady shelf price.  The product never made to to the market.  Maybe Hormel solved these problems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You see, we gourmets are so out of it. The real decisionmaking out there in the world has nothing to do with the stuff we talk about here on eGullet. Thanks for administering that dose of reality to us.

I'm strongly in favor of a good precooked bacon product that doesn't require refrigeration. If somebody can invent it and get it to market in the next week or so, I'll take a carton with me on my cross-country drive and I'll never be hungry.

If I cook a bunch of bacon, and I save some in a Zip-Loc in the fridge, it's quite serviceable over the next few days as BLT bacon. So I see no theoretical reason why precooked bacon can't be delicious.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ted Blew, of High Hope Hogs / Oak Grove Plantation is currently at the Union Square greenmarket on Saturdays only. His organically-raised Berkshire hogs yield excellent bacon and all other pork products. (also, his heirloom-variety cornmeal is exceptional and makes terrific polenta, but that's another thread). Look for the green and white striped tent, across from the Barnes and Noble on 17th Street.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you heat the precooked bacon, or did you eat it just out of the package? This is fascinating to me. If at all possible, try to remember as much as you can.

I just called Costco to refresh my memory.  The brand name was Ready Crisp fully cooked bacon (so there is still hope that Hormel will be ok).    I heated it up according to pkg directions (I forget if I microwaved it or pan fried, it was actually more like last summer when I tried this) and served it for b-fast with fried eggs and toast.  I'm a real bacon lover normally....thin, thick, crispy, limp, maple, smoked, peppered, I've even eaten turkey bacon in the past.  I've also eaten hospital cafeteria bacon, and bacon bits from the jar.  Ready Crisp bacon might be the worst of any bacon product I've tried.  The off tasting chemical flavor was perhaps their version of smokiness?  If you try some, let us know how you like it!  As an alternative snack for travelling, you could also try beef jerkey, or landjaeger.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess at some point I'll buy uncooked and precooked Hormel bacon, cook the uncooked, and compare. Hormel isn't great bacon, but it's not terrible either, and if the precooked is similar to the uncooked-when-cooked, I'll be happy with the product. Don't let the guys at the Bacon of the Month Club hear me talk like this; they might expel me.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve, as you know, we're often slaves to convenience with our 4 children.  The 3 older ones are now going through a bacon phase where they want bacon with everything.  We've succumbed to the convenience of Hormel pre-cooked bacon, and it isn't as terrible as Blue Heron described it.  It ain't great, but it does a decent job in a club sandwich, cooked in grits, salad topping, and other quick preparations.  The bacon has so little grease remaining that it loses a lot of its flavor.  It also has a sort of cardboard consistency, but it's not too bad.  Think of eating bacon that you made the day before (have you ever had leftover bacon?).

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...