Bacon Salt Mania seems to be sweeping tha nation. A simple google search yields 428,000 hits. I first heard about about bacon salt on OnMilwaukee.com and I was instantly intrigued so I ran out to Pick n’ Save and grabbed a bottle of the “Original” flavor. It also comes in Hickory and Peppered. It runs about 4 bucks a bottle. I tasted it and indeed it tasted pretty similar to bacon. I decided to try it on a variety of things before I posted about it.
First off i sprinkled it on some fried eggs which I had with some Morning Star breakfast links (I figured fake bacon flavor would go with fake sausage). They added a great flavor to the eggs and turned them the color of paprika. It wasn’t the prettiest egg I have ever made, but they were delicious. It was like frying an egg in bacon grease but not as unhealthy. The same cannot be said for Morningstar Farms breakfast links, which are just about the most disgusting thing I have eaten in years. It was like eating sausage flavored paste that looked like that white dog poop from the 70s.
Next I decided to replace smoked paprika (or chipotle powder) with bacon salt in this Rachel Ray marinade for flank steak. Though I am not a huge Rachel Ray fan, this recipe is one of my favorite flank steak marinades. The results were excellent. The bacon salt added not only the smoky taste that the paprika added, but it gave a nice but subtle bacony flavor to the meat.
The third experiment was a recipe I sort of made up. I had some leftover Japanese Udon noodles but wasn’t in the mood for any Asian flavors so I hunted around the freezer and found some smoked Chorizo and a vacuum sealed bag of clams I picked up from Empire Fish. I decided to make a Spanish style chorizo and clams pasta. I used bacon salt instead of kosher and the result was excellent. The sauce (almost a broth) had a great depth of flavor and the bacon and smoked chorizo really gave the dish a monster smoky taste.
One of my favorite pork tenderloin recipes is from the book The Fearless Chef by Joe Yonan and Any Husbands of Boston. I found it at Half Price Books in the bargain section for 3 dollars and it has become one of my favorite cookbooks. Its full of bold, flavorful dishes that borrow from just about every cuisine imaginable from southern BBQ to Tibetan momos. Anyhow the recipe is for Basil Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Bacon Corn Relish. You just take a cup of fresh basil, 2 tbs. each of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and some salt and puree it. Marinade the tenderloins with that mixture overnight, grill to 145 degrees, and let rest. While resting mix up some corn, real bits of bacon (cut up and fry until crispy), roasted red peppers olive oil, lemon, chopped parsley and olives. Slice the tenderloin and top with the relish.
Here I decided to see if bacon salt could make up for laziness. I was hungry and didn’t feel like thawing out some bacon, cutting it up, and frying it into bacon bits. The corn relish turned out pretty good. While it will never be as good as it is when real bacon is used, it still had a decent bacon flavor and saved me at least 15 minutes.
After spending a couple months using it, my verdict is that Bacon Salt adds a decent bacony flavor to things. I think it works best when not really used as a substitute for bacon but as a substitute for salt or other spices. I have used it on burgers and on skirt steak for tacos and it works awesome, it also makes a nice addition to homemade salad dressings.. It will add a new, interesting dimension to rubs and marinades. It also lets you put bacon flavors in places that were previously not possible, like on an ear of corn, on popcorn, and maybe on the rim of a glass with a Bloody Mary in it.
If you are a vegetarian it can deliver that bacon taste that I am sure you have been missing ever since you made the silly decision not to eat meat anymore. Maybe it will even make you realize what you have been missing and lead you back to eating the real thing.