Gourmet bacon? Is there really such a thing? Believe it or not, there IS such a thing as gourmet bacon and the difference between it and the bacon you will find in the grocery store is as surprising as learning that gourmet bacon is an actual thing.
1. It’s expensive (but you get what you pay for).
There’s $2.99 bacon you find at the gas station all the way up to gourmet bacon that costs anywhere from $15-25 per pound (online). Look, I’m not going to beat around the bush here, gourmet bacon is expensive bacon.
You see this likewise with other products too, such as a Rolex is an expensive watch, a BMW is an expensive car, and a house on waterfront property is an expensive dwelling.
But for each of these things there is something distinctive about it that sets it apart from their less expensive counterparts, and the same can be said about gourmet bacon as you’ll see below.
2. Gourmet bacon contains less fat content than store bought bacon.
In order for a bacon to be considered gourmet, it has to pass a thorough examination and taste sampling. One of the key elements of grading bacon for the “gourmet” classification is the fat-to-meat ratio.
All bacon contains fat, and the fat is part of what gives bacon its irresistible flavor. However, it has to be in the right proportion to the meat, otherwise it is a waste of money.
I recently conducted a review of five leading grocery store bacon brands and found that most of them are rather fatty compared with gourmet bacon, and that the packaging these brands use is deceptive in making it appear meatier than it it really is.
Gourmet bacon doesn’t have to pretend to be something it isn’t because it simply is as fantastic as its name implies.
3. It shrinks less when you cook it than store bought bacon.
All bacon shrinks some amount when cooking, but another key distinction of gourmet bacon is that the amount it shrinks is significantly less than its store bought counterparts.
The reason for this is that large manufacturers of bacon pump lots of water into the meat to inflate its weight. When cooking, that moisture is released and evaporates into thin air.
In addition to the release of moisture, the fat of the bacon begins to melt or render when cooking. Couple the extra moisture with fattier bacon and you have the perfect recipe for a lot of shrinking and shriveling, sometimes up to 50% of its original size!
Gourmet bacon doesn’t shrink like this and in our tests we have found that gourmet bacon shrinks no more than 25% of it’s pre-cooked length.
4. Gourmet bacon spends much more time in the smokehouse.
Not only does gourmet bacon have more meat and shrink less, it also spends more time in the smokehouse than store bought bacon.
Different butchers will smoke their bacon for different amounts of time to give it its distinct favor, but manufacturers of store bought bacon speed their bacon through the process quickly, giving it the minimal amount necessary to call it “smoked” while ensuring maximum profits from processing high volumes of meat.
Butchers who make gourmet bacon smoke their meats anywhere from 8 to 12 hours using real wood smoke. Some of those other bacon brands use artificial liquid smoke which pales in comparison to the real deal.
5. It is made in small batches and not mass produced.
If you’re like me, you like to enjoy a craft beer, small batch salsa, or some other amazing food that was created in a small batch. The same goes for gourmet bacon. It is made in smaller batches using time-tested recipes typically handed down from generation to generation in family-owned meat markets.
These aren’t the recipes that you’ll find the likes of Oscar Mayer, Hormel, and Farmland using. The large meat processing plants are designed to do one thing: process a high volume of meat as quickly and efficiently as possible. The trade off? Bland, mediocre products.
On the other hand, the people that make gourmet smoked meats carefully source their pork from farms that take great care in raising their hogs. Then they take the time to craft each batch of meat, carefully trimming it, smoking it just right, and rubbing it with the right flavors, so that it is nothing short of outstanding once it lands in your mouth.
6. Gourmet bacon clearly tastes better.
For all of the reasons listed above, it is clear to understand what makes a bacon truly “gourmet.” When you put all of these different elements together, fat to meat ratio, smokiness, and shrinkage, you have a product that cooks and tastes superior to any common brand of bacon, which is the hallmark of authentic gourmet bacon.
7. You can’t buy it in grocery stores.
This is one of the most challenging aspects of gourmet bacon – it’s so hard to find! You’ll only find it in small, family owned meat markets scattered across America’s small towns, made by people whose number one goal is to have happy returning customers. These are people that go the extra mile to put people first.
Gourmet bacon is rare and only available in limited quantities. Fortunately, we know just where to find the best gourmet bacon.
8. Professional, high end chefs prefer it.
Through Bacon Scouts I have had numerous requests to supply fine restaurants with smoked meats. Expert chefs use gourmet bacon because the flavor is so distinctive over store bought, regular bacon.
f you like to cook, and if you like to make a dish with bacon, then there is no other substitute for gourmet bacon in your meals.
9. It makes the perfect gift for someone you know who loves bacon.
If you don’t love bacon yourself, I bet you know someone who does, and what better way to show your appreciation for a bacon lover than to buy him or her the finest bacon available.
Gourmet bacon is the perfect gift for bacon lovers and even for significant others because bacon absolutely makes a better gift than flowers.
10. Once you try it, you become a believer.
OK, not to sound too cultish, but once you try a strip of gourmet meat candy, your mind and soul are awakened to its greatness and you’ll never want to go back.
Time after time, when I give samples of gourmet bacon to friends and family members, they know exactly what I have been talking about for all these years.
One bite is all it takes to convince someone of how much better tasting and enjoyable a thick slice of gourmet bacon is. Once you try it, you’ll never want to go back to buying grocery store bacon ever again.