As I talked about in my bullet-proof coffee post, there are some Holy Grails of the Ketogenic lifestyle. These are foods and drinks that everyone on keto is crazy about. For today, I am going to talk about one of my favorites: bacon.
Bacon is amazing. It makes so many things better. Bacon can be paired with all sorts of meats and veggies. Bacon is also delectable all by itself. Bacon is even used in some desserts. You can (and should) save the bacon fat to make other things better. I am in danger of drooling on my keyboard right now.
One of the reasons bacon is so popular in the keto community is not only because it is delicious, but because it is high in saturated fat. Bacon’s content is about 50/50 on fat and protein, so it is a good way to get more fat in the diet.
Bacon is easy to find, but keto-friendly versions can be trickier. Pretty much all bacon is going to have sugar as an ingredient because that is part of the curing process, but do not freak out. It is still keto. Just look at the nutrition information to make sure that it has lists <1g and it should not kick you out of ketosis. Also, avoid ones that are Maple-flavored. They will have sugar added that sticks around after curing. Also, look for dextrose as an ingredient. It’s a more chemical-ee type of sugar, so avoid that if you can.
What I like to do is go to the butcher counter instead of getting prepackaged for my bacon. It is usually so much better than the prepackaged stuff. I am a classic introvert, so if I am willing to ask a person for bacon instead of grabbing a package that requires no human interaction, then you KNOW fresh from the butcher’s counter has got to be worth it.
My first choice in bacon, the Cadillac of bacon if you will, is from a little butcher shop called Falatic Meat Market in Sawyer, Michigan. It is the definition of “a hole in the wall” type place, but their bacon is to die for. I have a friend who owns a nearby vacation cottage and when I go with her I get five pounds of bacon at a time. She goes up to get the cottage ready for guests and brings back bacon for various people because it is worth the trouble. I am afraid to try anything else from Falatics because one addiction is enough. I know that this may not seem too helpful, but if you find yourself anywhere near Chicago then you might want to make the hour drive over to Sawyer. You will not be sorry, unless you count the sorry you will feel when you run out of bacon.
A respectable second in bacon hall of fame is from Fresh Thyme Market. This is a bit more accessible since it is a chain that is expanding throughout the Midwest. I like their applewood smoked bacon and thick-cut bacon from their butcher counter.
My favorite way to prepare bacon is to bake it. There are three reasons I prefer baking bacon.
- The bacon does not shrivel up to a quarter of its original size. I am not saying
you don’t lose some volume, but it does not shrink as much and it does not turn into an impossible to manage curly-q that makes you wonder if bacon comes from the pig’s tail.
- No death by splattering. Bacon does not always go into that good night peacefully. Some times it likes to spit white-hot oil at you as it cooks. Baking leaves you protected from splatters on your skin. Bonus: it also cannot splatter on your clothes, then everyone is hovering around you asking if you’ve got bacon because you smell from being sprayed with grease.
- Bacon grease. Nuff said. When you bake bacon, you are left with a treasure trove of bacon grease. This versatile and delicious fat can be added to all sorts of dishes to to give it that extra kick of bliss.
Baking bacon is super simple.
I take a baking pan and line the bacon in a single layer. The important part is that it has sides. No cookie sheets! I am not positive, but I think that would result in a waterfall of flaming fat in your oven.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once heated, bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes or to desired crispness. I like my bacon chewy. I refer to it as floppy bacon because I have a way with words. You will want to go for longer if you want crispier.
Once your remove your bacon (to your mouth or storage container, depending on your level of self-control), pour the bacon grease through a fine wire mesh sieve into a container for storage. I put mine in the fridge with a lid on it because I have pets that cannot be trusted, but I have heard of lots of people who store theirs by the stove. Pouring it through the mesh should remove any solid meat bits that could spoil.
Enough talking. I need to go get me some bacon!