Why You Should Try Switching To Beef Bacon At Least Once

Pork bacon is great — no one is saying that it isn't — but there are also other delicious options when you want a little variety. Beef bacon yields a distinct, but adaptable flavor profile, and it is just as versatile as pork bacon. You get the benefit of the meaty chew and crispy fat, but a deeper, more savory flavor profile thanks to the beef.

If you are tired of the porky flavor, or you're preparing a meal for someone who does not consume pork for personal or religious reasons, beef bacon is your best substitute. Unlike some of the other bacon stand-ins that require a lot of processing and magic tricks, beef bacon is made by curing and smoking the belly of the animal just like pork bacon. Turkey bacon, on the other hand, is made by grinding up turkey, seasoning it to mimic the taste, and pressing it into strips. Vegetarian bacon can be made similarly with some sort of plant-based protein instead or by marinating and crisping up something like carrots, coconut, mushrooms, tempeh, or even rice paper. While these imitations can be tasty, they don't quite scratch the bacon itch like beef bacon can. You may even fall in love with the decadent flavor and texture of beef bacon.

How to prepare beef bacon?

During cooking, beef bacon behaves like pork bacon, so it can be treated pretty much exactly the same. It may be a little more challenging to find, but many supermarkets and specialty butchers will have a couple of options. You can also purchase it online. Overall, the taste and level of richness between the two are comparable, but beef bacon can be a bit more chewy, so it is best to buy very thin slices.

You can prepare it in a skillet on the stove or a sheet pan in the oven, and it can be substituted in most recipes with a one-to-one ratio. That means you can use it in sandwiches, salads, pasta, and breakfast spreads or to wrap a protein or vegetable — beef bacon jalapeño poppers anyone? You can render bacon fat for use in a whole variety of preparations. Just make sure to strain it and store it in the fridge to extend the shelf life as much as possible.

Which ingredients go well with beef bacon?

Beef bacon will be somewhat more savory and rich than pork bacon, which tends to read as lighter, milder, and sweeter. Beef bacon is a little more meaty while pork bacon is a bit more crisp. When thinking through how to make beef bacon shine, consider what ingredients go well with a steak or burger. Beef bacon has a concentrated beef flavor.

Try using beef bacon as a topping on a Cobb salad. Meaty tomatoes, funky blue cheese, and creamy egg will complement it well. Make a show-stopping riff on a BLT with thick-cut heirloom tomatoes, and substitute the lettuce for a bitter green like arugula or radish tops — the beef bacon will balance it out. If you are into grinding your own meat for burgers or meatloaf, add beef bacon to your custom burger blends for flavor and fat.

Dice the raw beef bacon, saute it, remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon, and then cook aromatics like carrots, onion, celery, and tomato paste to make a super flavorful base for short ribs, pot roast, or any kind of dried bean. You can also use the rendered fat to make a warm dressing for cabbage slaw or to roast hearty vegetables like potatoes, turnips, or winter squash. Basically, you can use beef bacon anywhere you would use pork bacon as a way to switch things up.