One of the best parts of a pig is the Bacon – and this is a critical selection time on your cut list. Much like your hams, deciding on smoked or not, as well as size is a big decision and something to think about.
I go for thick cut and smoked because we enjoy the texture of the bacon and it is almost like ham slices with that smoky flavor and rich texture.
For comparison, much of the bacon you buy in the store is mostly fat and thin enough to see through in most cases. I am including photos here from tonight’s dinner to show the difference in farm bacon, cut by a butcher to request. Note the thickness of the final cooked product and also the meat to fat ratio. Not to get too technical and over the top with this, but bacon is serious business! When you order your cuts, I do suggest trying at least a portion of it thick cut – it will take longer to cook but due to the meat / fat ratio you may end up with less fat / drippings than your thinner store bacon.
The decision to smoke it is really a preference thing but again, I suggest you try at least a portion of your bacon that way to see what you think.
Now, what I am going to say next may be bordering on sacrilege to purists, but there are ways to cook bacon beyond the classic cast iron fry pan. We have had success in the microwave though for that, I will tell you that you do NOT need to invest in all the gadgets for microwave bacon – simply put it between layers of paper towel and zap it for around a minute or 2 for 1-3 slices. Another easy and low mess approach is in an oven at 450 – optionally to improve this one, you can drape the bacon on cookie racks over cookie sheets but that is not a requirement and I generally don’t bother if I am doing this approach.
If you are really adventurous, try grilling bacon. It is out of this world but you have to watch it carefully, keep it high and avoid the fire / flame ups. Last but not least by any means – deep frying. I worked at a deli many years ago and learned this trick – toss a few slices in the deep fryer while you fry your eggs and toast your role – heavenly if you have a fryer at your finger tips. (or you have a friend who is willing to share. I love my neighborhood)