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Breakfast

Meat-Lovers Rejoice! Smoky Beef Bacon Is Here to Satisfy All Your Carnivore Cravings

Bacon is no longer limited to pork. In fact, the breakfast staple can be customized to suit almost any palate these days. Like lean meats? Choose turkey bacon. Prefer meatless? Try coconut bacon. Want a smokier, meatier version? Enter beef bacon. This bacon can be fried or baked to crispy, extra-rich perfection, which makes it an easy addition to any breakfast spread. Keep reading to learn about the process of making beef bacon and how it’s different from the pork and turkey types.

What is beef bacon?

This type of bacon is made using the beef navel (sometimes called “beef belly”). Beef navel is a boneless cut from the plate primal of a steer, which gives the meat layers of fat and meat you can’t find on pork or turkey bacon. Still, the steps for making beef bacon — including curing and smoking the meat — do resemble the process for other varieties.

“Like traditional pork bacon, which is made using the entire boneless pork belly rather than just the upper navel, there are many different ways to season and prepare beef bacon,” Jason Savard, head butcher at Walden Local’s South End Butcher Shop, explains to FIRST for Women. “At its most simple, you’re using a salt and sugar rub that cures the navel, chemically altering its muscle fibers, and adding deep flavor [before the smoking process].”

The result of turning beef navel into bacon is rich, salty, and smoky meat slices that aren’t too lean or fatty. These flavor qualities make this bacon a favorite among those who don’t consume pork — whether as a dietary preference or for religious reasons. 

Is beef bacon healthier than other types?

The nutritional value for each type of bacon varies. Here’s an approximate breakdown of how one slice of beef bacon compares to a slice of pork and turkey:

  • Beef bacon – Calories: 29, Total Fat: 2.2 grams, and Sodium: 98 milligrams (mg)
  • Pork bacon – Calories: 37, Total Fat: 2.8 grams, and Sodium: 135 mg
  • Turkey bacon – Calories: 29, Total Fat: 2.1 grams, and Sodium: 162 mg

Essentially, it shares similar calorie and total fat content as the turkey variety — but contains less sodium. Based on these specific nutrition facts, eating beef bacon in moderation could be a healthier choice than the other two.

Where can I buy beef bacon?

Unlike turkey or pork bacon, beef varieties are limited at most grocery stores. According to Uncle Marv’s Beef Bacon Company, beef bacon was actually a staple at small butcher shops across the US in the early 1900s. However, this changed in the 1950s when large industrial pork producers began pushing pork bacon products to consumers. Also, those butcheries that carried beef bacon gradually faded away due to the rise of modern supermarkets. This caused pork bacon to overshadow the beef kind for decades — although some companies have continued to produce the pork version, despite this.

Check out brands such as Devanco Foods Beef Bacon (Buy from Walmart, $7.18) or Godshall’s Beef Bacon (Buy from Instacart, $10.39). The best part about these brands is that they include directions for pan-frying, baking, or air frying the slices until they’re crispy. Alternatively, some home cooks are making their own beef bacon so they always have some on hand, a process that Savard notes is time-consuming — but fun — and involves curing the beef belly for up to two weeks in the fridge. (Only prepare it this way if you’ve got plenty of time on your hands and no upcoming spring vacations!)

Whether you go the store-bought or DIY route, there’s a good chance this meat will become your new go-to.

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