You know bacon is subject to our whims nowadays. We all have this love hate relationship with it, sure it's so good, but it’s not good for you. Well, that’s the thing, with Paleo and with Pete’s Paleo bacon it is good for you.
Most bacon is made from pigs that have been fed horrible diets and led really rough lives right up to harvest. At Pete’s Paleo we use only pork belly that comes from Salmon Creek Farms. A family owned company that works with Menonite ranchers to raise the pigs naturally in very relaxed environments. They’re fed good diets, no hormones or antibiotics and when we get the belly the only thing we add is smoke, salt, herbs and love. That’s it. No “hydrogenated” anything, no preservatives, just nitrates naturally found in food. So our bacon, really is good for you.
So with that said, here are five tips to make it more a part of your life.
- Bacon lardons, or little matchsticks. Made by cutting 1/4” thick slices of the belly then again, slicing by 1/4” thick slices to make the matchsticks. Toss these into a cold cast iron and turn to medium heat. Let render until they are about 3/4 of the way done and turn off heat. Finish crisping in the pan, drain fat and keep crispy bacon matchsticks to top on salads for the week.
- Bacon fat in emulsions, aka vinaigrettes and mayos. Yeah, so that fat you just drained from the lardons for your salad topping…use it as your fat for a vinaigrette. Start with some red wine vinegar and shallots, pinch of salt and pepper, puree then slowly drizzle in bacon fat. Boom, bacon fat vinaigrette. Or use half bacon fat and half avocado oil for your typical home made mayo recipe. And now you’ve made bacon mayo.
- Cooking fat. Bacon fat in general is just a great cooking fat, but bacon fat from good bacon is a very good cooking fat. Without any bad oils or chemicals used in our processes you know that you can be cooking with this luscious bacon fat without any bad side effects. Plus it’s just so darn delicious and has a very high smoke point, making it very versatile.
- Cut the belly into 1” thick slices and braise for 4 hours at 225F. Use whatever liquid you would like, some lemongrass and sriarcha add a nice base for an asian style pork belly. The belly will fall apart and you will have braised, smoky goodness for dinner.
- Scramble starter. Take 1/4 # of bacon and cut into lardons. Render out in the cast iron, when half cooked add chopped or left over veggies and sautee in the bacon fat with some salt. When veggies and bacon are good and crispy, add a couple eggs and there is breakfast. This is how we use the bacon most often. It uses the fat and flavor from the bacon in the best and quickest way in my opinion.
Have fun with it, don’t be scared. It’s done right, so it’s good for you!