Slab bacon is simply a cured and usually smoked pork belly which has not yet been sliced.
It is sold as a whole chunk or wedge, and has not yet been cut into strips. It has the same flavor as regular sliced bacon, cured with spices like red pepper, brown sugar, and molasses and smoked, salted, and aged for a few months.
It is a wonderfully versatile ingredient to use in the kitchen since it can be cut in a number of ways, and not limited to the thin strips grocery store bacon usually comes in. It can be cut into smaller chunks, wedges, cubes, or thick strips. It can also be cut thinner than regular streaky bacon. Slab bacon is typically sold with the skin or rind on, which can be removed before cooking. Sometimes it is sold without the rind which allows more of the flavor from the spices to penetrate the meat, making for a fuller flavor once you cook and consume it.
To cook a slab of bacon, if necessary, remove the rind with the use of sharp knife. Slice thinly, cutting through the edge of the rind, pushing the blade of the knife while you pull out the rind. Cut the slab to the desired size and level of thickness in the lengthwise fashion.
A popular use for slab bacon is as lardons, added to stews or soups, or used as a grease for stir-frying vegetables, seafood or meat. To make lardons, dice the slab of bacon into large chunks.
Chances are, you won’t be able to finish the slab of bacon with on use or cooking. Wrap the remaining slab of bacon with a cloth or paper. Plastic wrap is not recommended as this may sour the bacon. Use a string to wrap the bacon properly.
Sauté the cut bacon in a cast iron frying pan over medium heat for about five minutes on one side and another two minutes on the other side. Don’t leave the bacon unattended and cook it according to the doneness you desire.
With a fork remove the bacon and lay it on paper towels to absorb the grease. Use the grease in the pan for cooking and flavoring stir-fried dishes.
Where can you find the best slab bacon?
As a Bacon Scout I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you the best slab bacon I’ve ever tried. There’s a little shop in the middle of Wisconsin called Nolechek’s Meats. Their signature bacon recipe, honey cured bacon, has won dozens of awards and was even crowned the number one bacon in all of Wisconsin in 2015. They use this same, award-winning recipe, passed down for three generations, for their five pound slab bacon. One bite will simply blow your mind.
Below are the top reasons why I like it so much.