Guide To Bacon
What are the different types of bacon?
Shoulder is the most economical cut of bacon and therefore tends to be used as an ingredient in dishes. It is quite a meaty piece of bacon and generally has less fat than middle bacon. Use in pies, quiches, pasta dishes, risottos.
Middle is the most versatile cut of bacon, and comprises the 'eye' of the loin as well as the 'streaky' tail. Middle bacon is great for breakfasts and when the bacon is the star of the dish. Use in cooked breakfasts, Eggs Benedict, with sweet corn fritters and pancakes.
Streaky is the tail end of the middle rasher. It has more fat which many people think make it the tastiest cut of bacon. Use for wrapping fish, chicken or prunes, or crisp up and chop to top off a salad.
Eye / shortcut is the meaty eye part of the middle rasher and, if short cut, may include a small amount of the tail. Eye bacon is a great alternative to middle bacon for people who don't want as much fat; eye bacon is about 30% lower in fat than middle.
Why Is New Zealand Bacon better?
- New Zealand will be the third country in the world to ban sow stalls from 2015 and many farmers are eliminating sow stalls well ahead of this deadline.
- The New Zealand pork industry uses no growth hormones and use of antibiotics is strictly controlled.
- All bacon with the 100% NZ Pork logo on the pack has been independently welfare approved.
- Many meat processing companies import pork because it is cheaper.
- All products branded Kiwi are guaranteed 100% NZ Farmed meat.
- To identify whether a product is New Zealand or imported meat, look for the NZ Pork Board logo on front of pack. This also provides reassurance that the farm has passed an independent animal welfare audit.
What is Free Farmed Bacon?
Free farmed refers to the sows (female pig) being farmed outdoors in paddocks, with shelter provided to protect the sows from the elements and special huts for farrowing (breeding). The sows can move from their shelters to the paddock freely and without restriction. Pigs are raised under shelter to protect the pigs from the elements. Importantly for many people, no sow stalls or farrowing crates are used.
Kiwi Heritage Bacon is made from free farmed meat sourced from Patoa Farms in North Canterbury, NZ.
Things you might be interested to know about bacon
The history of bacon
Until well into the sixteenth century, bacon or "bacoun" was a Middle English term used to refer to all pork in general. You are probably familiar with the phrase "bring home the bacon." In the twelfth century, a church in the English town of Dunmow promised a side of bacon to any married man who could swear before the congregation and God that he had not quarreled with his wife for a year and a day. A husband who could bring home the bacon was held in high esteem by the community for his forbearance.
How is bacon made?
The meat is firstly cured in a brine solution which helps to preserve the meat as well as boosting flavour and helping to tenderise the product. The meat may then be massaged to help the brine soak in, and then smoked using traditional smoking methods. Smoking adds colour and flavour and also aids in preservation. The bacon is finally frozen so that it can be sliced and packed.
How should I store bacon?
If sealed in an air tight container as soon as opened most bacon should last in your fridge for up to 5 days. Bacon can be frozen for up to 6 months.
Why does some bacon look pale like ham?
MAF regulations require that bacon imported from many countries be cooked to specified temperatures (to eradicate viruses), and when the bacon has been cooked it does look more pale in colour.
What should I look for in a quality bacon?
The key indicator of quality is lack of water in the pack - if there is 'purge' (excess water) in the pack it suggests that the bacon has been pumped with a lot of brine (and therefore contains less 'real' meat). Inspect the bacon to get the amount of fat that you like. Check that the product bears the 100% NZ Pork logo. Also remember to check the expiry date on pack.
What is the best way to cook bacon?
- Take the bacon out of the refrigerator thirty minutes before cooking. The slices should separate easily.
- When frying bacon, it's important to keep a close eye on it and turn it frequently.
- If you prefer very crispy bacon, choose thinner slices to fry up over a medium to low heat. Pour off the fat as it accumulates in the pan. Cook slowly, turning often, to render out the most fat and help reduce shrinkage. Pricking with a fork will help alleviate any curling problems. Drain breakfast bacon on paper towels.
- Bacon can also be grilled or baked in the oven for crispy, flat bacon.