“Raw” Bacon

July 18, 2011 · 7 comments

in atlanta, cooking at Home, misc food

When most people think of bacon, they’re thinking of the thin sliced, wet and slippery bacon of the Hormel, Wright, Tyson, etc varietal to be found at the grocery store. It’s often fried to a crisp and is super salty, maybe a little smoky, and usually satisfying. It’s bacon.

But American bacon is just cured (and often smoked) pork belly, which is a loose description that involves techniques that can be applied in many ways. Wet or dry cure? Wet is more popular in commercial production. How long is it cured? Is it smoked, and for how long? And is it dried? The longer the dry, the more moisture is lost and it doesn’t result in pieces ideal for frying (in my opinion).

But when it’s been cured, smoked, and sufficiently dried, it effectively becomes charcuterie. You can eat it “raw” (it’s also called fresh or green bacon), and it’s safe to eat and can be cut thin like you would prosciutto, without having a slithery unappealing character. A friend recently offered some up with a simple dressing of thyme, lemon, and pepper and it was fantastic. A new experience, and a different way of thinking of “bacon”. The possibilities are so much greater than what can be found at the store, and it’s so easy to do at home.

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  • Chloe

    I have very rarely eaten bacon outside of the house because it’s always overcooked (what people call “crispy”) everywhere else. Growing up, we were only fed (as my dad would call it) “half-cooked” bacon — bacon that’s been tossed in a pan for exactly 2 minutes, just enough to heat each strip through, and curl a little bit. We then drizzle a small amount of sugar over it. So yummy and a far cry from the hard version everyone has been accustomed to.

  • Jack

    I heard Mr. Benton prefers non-crispy bacon too

  • Lorenzo

    I was going to say “well isn’t that basically pancetta?” but I clicked the link before posting.  Yup.  I still wouldn’t think to eat pancetta raw, though.  But why not.

  • Nikkibrown22

    This is a totally interesting take on bacon.  I will have to try it soon!

  • I haven’t tried eating raw pork though.  I can try it with raw bacon…

  • Fred

    I have been eating ‘raw’ bacon right out of the package all my life. Todaze sweeter brands like maple-cured, are extremely delicious when eaten uncooked. I just purchased a 3lb package of hickory-smoked, thick-sliced bacon and have been eating four or more slices daily, right out of the package and refrigerator. I do not worry about trichinosis, as this has been wiped out of the USA and Canada. Thick-sliced is the best, chewing on this reminds me of chewing whale blubber when I lived in Japan. Although I don’t mind partially cooked bacon, I far prefer it cold and raw.

  • Korakaris .

    Same here. Eating raw cured bacon all my life. Actually if it is cured, it is not “raw” at all. :)

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