Question from a bacon newb

First of all, I would really like to thank all of you for helping me with my transition towards carnivorousness :slight_smile:

I really want to try bacon, but I have a question:

Is there anything I should look out for in terms of additives, preservatives, etc? Are bacon pigs often fed antibiotics and such? Is there any brand that seems more “pure” than others, with fewer additives?


If you want bacon done with as few additives as possible, look at the nitrate-free varieties.

This one is one of my absolute favorites.

Seriously? We’re talking fried bacon here. The single most awful-for-your-health (not cite, reputation only) food regularly consumed in the US. And you want to know about “better for you” bacon? I’m sure it’s out there, but…really??..Good luck with all that.

If you’re looking for “good for you” bacon, you could try turkey bacon, which is slightly less bad for you than pork bacon. Either way, I personally prefer it extra crispy and don’t you dare dab off the extra grease.

Mmmmmmm… Bacon.

I suggest eating it in moderation is more significant decision than avoiding any particular additive and whatnot, barring some particular allergy or sensitivity.

I love Applegate Farms bacon. Antibiotic-free organic humanely-raised pork aside, it tastes freakin’ delicious–I think in a recent Cook’s Illustrated taste-test, it was one of the highest-scoring bacons. You pay for the privilege: it’s about twice as much as other brands. But it’s totally worth it for the flavor alone, especially if you don’t eat that much (we probably buy 8 oz. every three weeks or so).

I like to make it even worse for you by sprinkling brown sugar on it about 5-10 minutes before it’s done cooking (roasted in oven).

Have to agree to this. People are way too concerned about little piddly stuff. I see people riding bikes in traffic towing kids in little trailers, and what they worry about is whether the eggs their kids eat are organic.

Bacon is just a cut of pig. So “bacon” pigs are fed the same as “pork chop” pigs - because it’s the same pig.

I can’t help you with brands, because I get my bacon from a CSA, but I’ve had Applegate Farms (as suggested by Left Hand of Dorkness) cold cuts from time to time and really liked them.

I would stay clear of Jimmy Dean. It’s WAY over-salted and even rinsing it first doesn’t help much. We bought some on sale: never again. For a good generic bacon, you can do worse than Farmland or even Oscar Mayer.

Blah. Nitrites are what make bacon IMO. Most nitrite-free meats are cured with celery juice powder instead. Which just so happens to be really high in nitrites.

Suuuure, Motorgirl… a wonderful magical pig…

I’ve heard that a relatively large proportion of pigs are still raised on small family farms, not factory-farmed, so that’s probably a good sign on the antibiotics front.


I also heard we can get pulled pork from the same pig.

Thick cut is better.

Nah, the flavoring is in the salting and the smoking. I’ve made nitrite-free bacon at home, and it tasted perfectly like bacon–the only difference is those made without nitrite don’t have the appealing pink color and are usually a good bit more salty because more salt is required to prevent microbial activity.

However, I’m not sure what commercial versions of nitrite-free bacons taste like.

If you can find Neuske bacon in your neck of the woods, that’d be my choice.

Thanks guys! I think my local Kroger sells Applegate so I’ll try to check it out tonight.

When you cook the bacon, pour off the fat into a container and refrigerate it for later use as a shortening.

You can fry eggs in it, put it on baked potatoes, use it in biscuit or muffin recipes … lots of uses!

I’ve wondered about this. I see “uncured” bacon in the store. Isn’t that just salt pork?

No. Salt pork isn’t smoked.