For those that don’t know, bacon rind is the delicious outer skin of the hog where the bacon comes from. Bacon with rind is only rarely found in USA supermarkets, as consumers prefer picking up regular bacon instead.
Bacon rinds are famous for their taste and consistency. I didn’t know about it myself, but when I finally became acquainted with it, I never looked back! With this experience behind me, I can safely say I’m done with regular bacon now that I know how crispy and delicious the rinds are.
Use this in different recipes; you can be assured it will add an extra touch to any of your dishes.
Hungry yet? I sure am!
Let’s find out what bacon rind is, how to cook it and prepare it, and where to find the best quality for your recipes.
What Is Bacon Rind?
Bacon rind is often quite overlooked due to a lack of knowledge of the differences in consistency and taste compared to regular bacon.
Bacon rind is the fatty skin coating your bacon slices.
Nowadays, the bacon most easily found in supermarkets and stores has the skin removed. It all
ows for a leaner and easier-to-cook ingredient. This has made it more popular than bacon with skin — but this does not mean that it is a better or tastier option!
The rind, or skin, can be cooked separately from the bacon for a crunchy snack or party food that will leave everyone wanting more.
On the other hand, when cooking the bacon with the rind attached, you’ll notice an improved level of crispiness of your meat, as the fat releases its juices during cooking.
It’s quite easy to find bacon rind in unsliced bacon, especially if you’re buying in bulk. Often the skin is left on to maintain the flavor of the meat underneath. Moreover, eating the rind will reduce your food waste and help you save money.
Lastly, there is no bacon lover who does not like pork cracklings. Next time, keep your bacon rind and try to make your own homemade crackling.
As you can see, bacon rinds can be used in a number of ways, and they don’t contain any additives or preservatives. You decide how to cook them!
Make Lardons Out of Bacon Rind!
Bacon rind can easily be confused with lardon. They are not too dissimilar, and you can use them for the same recipes. The main difference is in their origin.
Bacon lardon is a small cube or stripe of fatty pork meat, like bacon. It originally comes from French cuisine, and it can be used to improve the taste of salads, omelettes, quiches, and beef bourguignon dishes.
This trend has then developed, and lardon is now a commonly-used ingredient in America. The lardons can be made out of different cuts of pork, like the belly and fat. However, the most common recipe includes cured meats, such as bacon and salt pork.
In America, the most common trend is to smoke the bacon to increase its flavor. When preparing the lardons, it is suggested to avoid the smoking process and salt-cure the meat instead. It helps to bring out the richer taste of the meat.
After preparing the meat, the process requires you to cut the result into thin strips or cubes, which can be blanched or fried. Pancetta and ham are also suggested as substitutes.
Notice the Difference with Regular Bacon Strips
Lardons can also be made out of bacon rind, and I promise you will notice the difference! Using the skin allows the lardons to have a juicier but crispier consistency, without lacking the salty taste of regular bacon. Contrary to popular expectation, the rind will not contract and become too small.
Bacon lardon can be taken to an entirely new level just by using the rind. It keeps its shape while the fat creates cushions between the meat. When pan-fried, it will end up crispy on the outside, but meaty on the inside.
To prepare strips for bacon lardon, slice the bacon with rind into ¼” strips. It’s recommended to simmer the strips over medium heat. Keep them on the heat until the fat has become juicy and the meat has taken the taste of it.
Where to Buy It?
Bacon rind can be found in large quantities when you are purchasing unsliced bacon. However, if you are only preparing a single meal, it can be difficult to find rind on sliced bacon.
The best way to find sliced bacon rind is to ask your local butcher to do a personalized cut of the meat. It’s usually not more expensive than regular bacon, which your butcher will have to take the fat out from.
However, if the price is based on the quantity, it can come out slightly pricier. Today, the skin is often removed from most bacon, so you will find it difficult to buy it in usual supermarkets, as modern consumers prefer a leaner cut of meat.
If you’re old-fashioned and prefer to taste all the juiciness of the fat, then speak directly with a local butcher. Moreover, you’re more likely to buy a product that was sustainably sourced and low in preservatives and other chemicals.
Purchasing meat locally will improve the taste of your meals, and since the meat has not been treated and only lightly processed, you can safely incorporate it into a healthy diet.
How to Prepare It?
If you would like to cook bacon rind but you have never done it before, don’t worry. We’ve all been there. However, there are a couple of ways for you to cook it in no time and without having to learn advanced culinary skills.
· Pan-Fry the Bacon with Rind
This is arguably the easiest way to cook bacon rind, as it is very similar to regular bacon. You can add spices to your liking, but be aware that the fat will add a salty note to the meat, so don’t go crazy with the salt and pepper.
Cooking times can vary slightly as the consistency of regular bacon and bacon rind are different. Time preparing can also vary depending on the thickness of the cut, and how crispy you would like it to be.
Generally, you’ll want to look for a crispy and curled outside layer, but don’t forget that the inside should be chewy and juicy.
· Fry the Bites
Alternatively, you can create small lardons out of the rind and deep-fry them. They can be cubes or stripes (I prefer cubes as they add a better internal consistency) and only gently deep-fried.
In this case, you should first cook the meat in some way. For example, grill the meat until it is safe to eat, and then add flavor by deep-frying it.
What Recipes Can You Cook with It?
You can add this in many different recipes. Sometimes you can even add them twice in the same dish to enhance the flavor. A good rule is to leave the fat to sauté ingredients such as vegetables and add flavor to them, while the crispy meat can be a topping for a salad to add more flavor.
· French Cooking
If you like to experiment with new dishes in the kitchen, you’ve probably come across some French recipes. Beef bourguignon, omelettes, and Coq au vin are relatively easy recipes which benefit from the addition of bacon rind.
The addition of bacon rind is welcome especially in stews; increase the overall flavor by adding the fatty skin of the pork rather than just bacon cubes.
Lastly, if you are a cheese lover like me, you can’t miss out on the opportunity to add these bites to your cheese and crackers plate!
· Quick Meals
If you’re not a fan of cooking but you like to eat well, you have found the best ingredients on the market!
You can have it as regular bacon (only takes a few minutes) or you can add it in a Club or BLT sandwiches for a quick lunch.
If you’re on a stricter diet, cut the bacon rind in cubes, pan-fry them (I prefer to grill them, as it uses less oil), and add them to your vegetable salad.
Bacon rind isn’t one of the best-known ingredients in the kitchen for casual cooking. However, that can change in an instant.
Start by speaking directly with your butcher to find the freshest cuts of meat for your recipes! You’ll see the difference straight away, and you’ll be able to add a fancy touch to your meals in no time.
Have you been using bacon rind in your recipes? Where do you buy it from? Are you happy with it? Let us know by leaving a comment below!