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

Here are some recommendations. Please write to us with yours!

Carlton Farms dry-cured bacon

Very meaty, with a sweet suppleness; from Carlton Farms, founded in 1956 in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range.

Also, try their dry-cured, alder-smoked Canadian-style bacon―it’s tender, smoky, and delicious. 503/852-7166 or www.carltonfarms.com; prices subject to change, but when we last checked, the dry-cured was about $15/lb. and the Canadian $13/lb., plus shipping.

Hobbs Applewood Smoked Bacon

Smoked for 16 hours over applewood chips; a favorite of chefs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for decades.

The bacon is made at the Hobbs smokehouse in El Cerrito, but is sold and distributed through Bryan’s Meats, San Francisco (order by phone: 415/752-3430; ask for Peter or Albert). A 1-lb. package is $8.50, plus shipping.

Mahogany Bacon

Slow-smoked to a rich, deep brown, just as it was back in 1922, when Mahogany Smoked Meats first fired up its smokehouse in Bishop, CA, in the High Sierras. 2 lbs. for $16.95, plus shipping; half slab (4 lbs.) for $27.95; great Canadian bacon, too ($11.95/lb., plus shipping). Ships within California only; 888/624-6426.

Niman Ranch Applewood-Smoked Bacon

Available both cured and uncured. From humanely raised Iowa hogs; the uncured has no added nitrates or nitrites (it’s cured with celery juice).

Very meaty, smoky, and flavorful. 12-oz package for $6.98, plus shipping; order through the Niman Ranch partner, Buckhead Beef, 888/206-3327.

Niman Ranch bacon is also available at Trader Joe’s and (in a sampler package) on Amazon.com.

The Grateful Palate

Through this bacon-laden food and wine mail-order catalogue, based in Fairfield, CA, you’ll get some of the best bacon you’ve ever tasted, including some of the other bacons on this list.

Owner Dan Philips dedicates himself to unearthing handcrafted bacons from all over the country, including the West (he once estimated he’s tried 600 different bacons).

A bacon sampler of four types is $42.95; you can also order single bacons (prices begin at $7.95/lb.). Or, go whole hog and join his Bacon of the Month club for porcine prizes like Summerfield Farms bacon, a four-pound slab out of Virginia cured with salt, brown sugar, and molasses that is so meaty it’s almost like brisket.

$190 for 6 monthly deliveries of bacon, including shipping, handling, and some great free kitsch (like a bacon comic strip and a strap-on pig nose); $315 for 12 months. 888/472-5283 or gratefulpalate.com.

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    23 ways to love bacon

    Find new reasons to love the salty-smoky-sweet taste of bacon in our collection of irresistible recipes

  • Coffee Brown Sugar Bacon

    23 ways to love bacon

    Find new reasons to love the salty-smoky-sweet taste of bacon in our collection of irresistible recipes

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