Delicious bacon: 23 irresistible recipes

Oh, how we love bacon. Here's our guide to the best in the West and a slide show of our favorite recipes

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Let’s face it: The breakfast bacon we know and love ― American-style pork-belly bacon, crisp and juicy ― has a fair amount fat: 3 grams per 8-gram strip (70% of its total calories).

That’s the same amount of fat as in:

1 scant tsp. chunky peanut butter
1.3 tablespoons Haagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream
6 tbsp. whole milk
1/3 ounce Cheddar cheese (a very thin slice)
3 cups of salad with 1 scant tbsp. of salad dressing
3 slices whole-wheat bread

If you’re worried about eating too much fat:

Have 3 pieces of bacon with your eggs and skip the peanut-butter chocolate ice cream shake you were thinking about having after lunch. And, if you’re really worried, have salad for lunch, with a piece of toast on the side, hold the cheese.

Consider this, too:

Bacon is high in cholesterol and sodium and is often preserved with nitrates and nitrites (which can produce potentially carcinogenic compounds when cooked). You might not want to eat it every day. But that’s between you and your bacon.

Great Western bacons

We’ll happily eat regular supermarket bacon, but the bacon we love most is the the old-fashioned, dry-cured stuff.

Here’s the difference: many mass-produced bacons begin with a frozen thawed pork belly that is injected with a quick “cure” (water, salt, sugar, sodium phosphate, and sodium nitrite) to plump it up. Liquid smoke is added for a smoky flavor, and sometimes sprayed over the surface of the meat, too. The bellies are heated to kill bacteria, then chilled and machine-pressed into standardized shapes and sizes.

A small-batch bacon starts with fresh meat, rubbed with salt, sugar, sometimes herbs, and sodium nitrate or saltpeter. It’s left to air-cure for up to a month, and then slow-smoked over aromatic woods. The result is an intensely porky, smoky, meaty bacon that tends not to shrivel when it’s cooked.

Next: The West's best bacon



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