*This is being used with out specific permission. I am still learning the “rules” so please forgive me if it’s yours.
Good Morning Tribe!
Today I bring you BACON. It’s way better than that ridiculous “wheel” thing Grog brought around the other day and you can eat it. Yep! On Paleo you can most definitely eat bacon . What’s that? Oh, you can sign up in the lower right hand corner. I’m sure many people will have their opinions on the pros & cons of bacon. I found this little cartoon* on Pinterest; it was enough to convince me. Bacon gets a bad reputation because of the other foods that are typically eaten along with it., pancakes, english muffins, and fast food bacon isn’t even a real thing; it’s a paradox.
As a note: I have absolutely no medical or health background ; I only have my deep, abiding LOVE for bacon and the dedication to maneuver all things in my life to fit bacon into my lifestyle. I guess at the end of the day you really just have to take some time to determine where you stand in your beliefs regarding bacon.
Bacon. The gods really knew what they were doing when they gave mankind this delicacy. What an amazing food! The aroma alone is so intoxicating, that prior to being Paleo(-ish) I wouldn’t even cook it at home because I just wanted to buy and eat more and more when I smelled it. Bacon is more than just a piece of meat though. For me, it is a crucial cooking staple in various forms. I use it as cooking lard, a salad booster (I simply LOVE texture in my salads), a veggie flavor enhancer (works wonders with kids), and least of all as a breakfast food.
I buy my bacon by the pound at the meat counter and then I take it home and process it myself.
*Did you know that you could do that? Process your own food. If you’re eating the right food, processing doesn’t have to be a bad word. It simply means that you are changing it from the state at which it once was. Chopping, dicing, slicing, grating, flavor manipulation, and cooking are all forms of processing. So are mechanically separating your food (hot dogs), freeze drying, pre-cooking, and adding artificial flavors. You get to decide which you prefer.*
I typically buy it at my local The Fresh Market (they do BOGO sales on certain Tuesdays) or Marianos that keeps it at a fair price (for fresh). Fresh and natural, or at least as fresh (and natural) as you can find it is definitely the way to go; it makes all the difference in the taste I promise. When I purchase my bacon, I clear my schedule for the evening so that we [bacon & I] can have some alone time.
The time I spend prepping my bacon varies from 30 mins to an hour and a half depending upon my preference for presentation, which is really only for me since my husband doesn’t eat crunchy meats. I have implemented various time-saving methods that do not affect the taste or use so I will share them with you below.
Before starting any cooking it’s important that you have all of your supplies ready ahead of time. Here is what I use in the processing and manufacturing of my bacon:
Bacon Shears: It may be pretty difficult for the common man to find this unique kitchen tool. Notice the ergonomic handles and the Kryptonite enhanced blades; it can through bacon and . . . paper with ease.
A Large Pan: I initially used a walled pan but, I found that collecting the lard was easier if the edges were rounded instead
A Cutting Board: I use this larger one because I don’t want to have to batch dice my cooked bacon and it has a dipped border that collects grease rather nicely. I use it for everything except raw meat.
A Collection Jar: I always have canning jars on hand because they too are versatile and essential to my kitchen. They now have plastic screw on lids for the smaller mouthed jars with makes them even more awesome.
Adversity: This is the modern equivalent of the stressors that would have been involved with the Pre-Hisotric Hunter-Gatherer living conditions. It encompasses all the unpredictability of the natural elements and the danger of say . . . a saber tooth cat.
If you’re fortunate enough to not have any distractions when cooking then take the time to breathe that in. No matter how hard I try, I can never give my bacon the full and undivided attention it deserves. She is usually why. Your adversity could be work, a unsuppotive family, cats, dogs, general lack of cooking skills, no motivation, laziness; we all have something. Move and live or sit and be devoured by your adversity.
Other essentials include:
- Paper towels: not to be used for the bacon just for splatter clean ups
- A glass dish (plate, bakeware, Pyrex)
- Pepper or other desired spices
- A Wooden Spoon
- A Metal Spatula
- The Bacon – duh.
To begin, I start by holding 2-3 slices of bacon together in my hand over the pan, then I take my Bacon Shears and make 1″ cuts until it is more. Repeat until your entire pound of bacon is cut up. I frequently use disposable gloves when I am cooking messy foods because I have to sling my baby on and off of my hip throughout the entire cooking process so it’s easier than washing my hands over and over again or washing cold lard out of my apron.
When cooking, I set the temperature on my pan to medium-low because it is a temp that is manageable with a toddler so that my bacon doesn’t burn. I typically do other kitchen related prep work or duties while it’s cooking unless my little Luna[tic] decides that all of our cabinets need to be emptied RIGHT NOW!!!!
Once your bacon starts to brown, you can move it offsides to begin the reaping of your sweet fatty nectar. I use my metal spatula at this point to scrape the grit from the sides of the pan so it mixes with the grease. At this point, I will usually season my bacon so that the flavor transfers with my lard into the jar. Unless you already have a steady hand I recommend doing this over a foil lined cookie sheet with heat proof gloves, safety goggles, and one of those anti-radiation apron from the hospital because spilling happens and bacon grease is so hot it burns you through to your soul!
Also, it can pop violently when you mix cold lard and hot grease, just as a FYI. The danger involved makes the relationship I have with bacon so exciting.
Typically there are 2 reaping sessions (I’ll show you how to get 2 separate flavors out of these later) per pound of bacon. Once I’ve cleared as much lard as I can from the pan, I transfer the hot bacon to my glass dish either for storing or one of the following purposes. I don’t know what the shelf life is for it in the fridge because it never last more than a few days at our house. I keep the lard in my fridge for weeks (and even months) at a time and I can’t say it’s ever gone bad.
For bacon bits, I place it in the glass dish and let it cool before I diced it into smaller pieces for my salads.
For veggies and mixing with my on-the-go breakfast (later), I leave the bacon more fatty so it adds more flavor when it is rendered.
For my breakfast, I typically dice it with onions, mushrooms, and broccoli then add it to my eggs.
The nice thing about lard is that it is a really nice “oil” to cook with; from eggs and paleo pancakes to salads and desserts, it just makes everything taste better. The benefit to flavoring your lard is to be able to adapt your flavors to your dish whatever it may be.
THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS! I have seen a bacon milkshake, people.
What do you do with your bacon? Spill your stories below.