Bacon has ends?

Oh, man. I’m a terrible food blogger. Terrible. I had this vague recollection that I’d made an “ingredients” category here on MetaCookbook, with the intent of getting into discussions about, well, ingredients. I didn’t recall how many posts I’d put in the category, or the topics. I’m terrible.

Why? Well, because there’s a whopping ONE post in that category right now. And? It’s on bacon ends. Which is what this post is about. However, that post doesn’t have photos, and this one does, so it’s better. Also, having that post means I can say a little bit less about the cost and such, and talk a little bit more about how I made them this time, and my continuing impressions.

Also, it’ll remind me to have some opinions on some other ingredient or two, sometime. Oops.

So, this is what bacon ends tend to look like, cooking up in the pan. They range in shape and size from basically crumbles you might otherwise toss to almost perfect slices of bacon. There’s super meaty bits and super fatty bits. It’s a mish-mosh of bacony goodness.

I suggest you actually click through to that photo, and take a good look at it, specifically. If you hover your cursor over the photo, you’ll see some boxes pop up. Hovering over those boxes includes some commentary.

I actually found cooking the bacon ends to be a little easier than cooking normal bacon, but I suspect this is largely because I get very particular about bacon in a way that’s impossible with bacon ends, since they simply cook up at different rates. I also enjoyed cooking the bacon ends, because many pieces swelled up like balloons, for no reason I can fathom. It was cool to watch.

I want to be extremely clear that bacon ends are definitely an ingredient, and probably not something you want to eat straight. Outside of a little snitching from the plate, of course! I mean, let’s not talk crazy talk here.

One, many bits have that rind that shows above. It’s good, but kind of chewy, and I think it’s best chopped up into single-bite pieces and stirred into something.

Two, some of these really are pure fat or pure meat. This isn’t the lovely combination of both that typical bacon (belly bacon, in particular) has, and so it’s a bit of a lottery in what you get in any bite. For me, that’s not a huge problem, as I like both fat and meat, but many people really hate having nothing but one or the other (particularly pure fat). And, to be frank, when the chunks of meat are huge, they get kind of bland and stringy and chewy.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I suspect the bellies are cured whole and then trimmed down. Partially because, duh, this stuff tastes like bacon & not raw belly. But, really? It’s the fact that some bits, if eaten straight, taste like someone dropped a salt bomb on your tongue. DAMN. So disgusting. But mixed into other dishes, such as the mac & cheese we did with this batch, that also evens out.

So, really, go to your local hog farmer and ask if they sell bacon ends. Everybody wins!