We all rush to the kitchen table on weekend mornings when we smell bacon cooking.
That salt-cured pork is a favorite side dish option at breakfast. You can make BLTs with it or chop it up for a salad ingredient, or wrap it around your ground chuck meatloaf for added flavoring. You can also purchase bacon made from other meats like turkey.
A couple of pros of eating bacon are that it contains protein and it doesn't contain carbs. A couple of cons are that it contains saturated fat and has a high content of salt so you don't want to consume an excessive amount on a daily basis.
In all seriousness, bacon contains some nutritional value, including high-quality protein, and high levels of essential nutrients and vitamins including thiamin, vitamin B12, magnesium, iron, zinc, niacin, and selenium. One of the dietary benefits of bacon is that it has a high protein to fat ratio, making it a good source of animal protein. (Source.)
Bake your bacon!
If you don't like the way grease pops all over your stove when you're frying it, consider cooking it in the oven. Line an edged cookie sheet with parchment paper. Lay your bacon on the paper and drizzle it with rosemary and some maple syrup (yes!).
You want an edged baking sheet because of the excess grease that will come off the bacon. When you check it to turn the bacon over, drain some of that grease into a container. I’ve been baking bacon for years so I don’t have the greasy mess from frying to clean up anymore, and there’s less after-smell in the house.
The bacon cheeseburger
If you go to any fast food restaurant now, there's usually a bacon cheeseburger option on the menu.
Allegedly, the first bacon cheeseburger showed up on a menu in Lansing, Michigan at an A&W Root Beer Restaurant in 1963.
In 2019, A&W celebrated its 100th anniversary. The first A&W opened in California, and it was named after Roy Allen and Frank Wright.
What causes that great bacon aroma?
Approximately 35% of the volatile organic compounds in the vapor released by bacon consist of hydrocarbons. Another 31% are aldehydes, with 18% alcohols, 10% ketones, and the balance made up of nitrogen-containing aromatics, oxygen-containing aromatics, and other organic compounds. Scientists believe the meaty smell of bacon is due to pyrazines, pyridines, and furans. (Source.)
When we smell bacon cooking, we're probably not thinking about the scientific reasons behind the cause of what we're smelling. We're thinking about "when is it going to be ready to eat?"
The texture and the crunch are so inviting on a plate dressed up with scrambled eggs, toast, and maybe some buttered grits on the side. It also makes for a tasty BLT sandwich.
Bacon grease has been saved to add some flavor to meals. I even remember growing up having fried zucchini or eggplant cooked in bacon grease. It was pretty tasty back then, but probably wasn't the healthiest way to eat those veggies.
Americans eat 70 percent of their bacon with breakfast, but the crispy, salty meat also stars as a sandwich ingredient and a favorite of chefs in fine dining establishments— causing bacon shortages and price hikes at times. (Source.)
The USDA page of Bacon and Food Safety has put together a list of questions and answers associated with bacon. Click here to read more about it.
For Missourians, did you know that in 2021, Swift Prepared Foods opened its sixth facility in Moberly, Missouri? It was announced in the spring of 2021 that "this facility will produce fully-cooked bacon and employ approximately 200 workers."
Thanks for reading!
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