Bacon is a serious subject around here. Any weekend that starts off with the smell of bacon coming upstairs is a better weekend for my kids. Including the one I married. We have been buying family farmed and locally smoked bacon ends for the past year or so. I’ve mentioned this before in Pancake Days. We buy the bacon ends, because it’s a bargain at $2.99 instead of $4.99 a pound, and because I believed my dear ones preferred to use a fork to pick up their diced bacon rather than pick up a rasher with their fingers. My youngest son PJ has corrected me on this matter. Not only would he rather use his fingers whenever possible, he likes his in slices. Oh well.
It’s easy to get smug about being able to give your kids choices about things like better bacon, diced or sliced. Not everyone has the option of buying meat that is gently raised and smoked within a few miles of your home. We were doing our routine stop and drool run at the Trader Joe’s when Grumpy noticed that they also sold bacon ends. Not only that, but they were at the same price as Blood Farm (oh yes I said that! The butcher is named after the Blood family, so as bizarre as it sounds it is just a coincidence). Anyway- The bacon ends actually looked pretty good. Except one little thing- they’re uncured. No nitrates or nitrites. That’s good right? Well, it’s healthier. I’ve bought uncured bacon before, however, and it was…not bacon. I don’t care what they put on the package, it had a nasty and weird flavor that didn’t say bacon in my mouth. Grumpy was so keen on this stuff though, that I thought it was worth a try. We grabbed a pound and determined to give it a try.
I diced it up into smallish chunks. The bits that were all/mostly fat I cut into tiny bits to render out the grease. It’s uncured, so it has no bright pinkness. The fat isn’t that different in color from the meat. This photo shows it as pinker and lighter- but those chunks that appear to be big and pale? That’s just my lack of skill with the camera. Those are solid meat. Now to fry it up.
The finished product looked the same as Blood’s. It smelled delicious. Grumpy and the others did the taste testing. The comments were that it was a bit fattier than our usual bacon; but far, far leaner than usual store or butcher bacon. The flavor was a bit smokier, and a tiny bit sweeter. The overall flavor actually was a winner with everyone. Maybe even better than our usual. There was absolutely no nasty “uncured, nitrate/nitrite free” flavor. Absolutely delicious.
The bottom line: If you can get to a Trader Joe’s then RUN, don’t walk, to the bacon section and stock up. You’d better make some space in that freezer. Because if I get there before you there won’t be any “uncured bacon ends and pieces” left at all. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
(And here’s Grumpy sneaking in to steal another bite!)