Can You Eat Bacon Rind? Everything You Need To Know

Bacon is a beloved breakfast staple that has been enjoyed for generations. However, many people are unaware of the potential culinary treasure that lies in the bacon rind.

Often overlooked and discarded, the fatty skin coating your bacon slices can actually be cooked separately for a crunchy snack or left on during cooking to enhance the crispiness of your meat.

But can you eat bacon rind?

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and risks of consuming bacon rind and provide tips on how to prepare it for maximum flavor and enjoyment.

So, let’s dive into the world of bacon rind and discover its delicious potential!

Can You Eat Bacon Rind?

The short answer is yes, you can eat bacon rind. In fact, it can be a delicious addition to your meals and snacks.

Bacon rind is the fatty skin that coats your bacon slices. While most bacon sold in supermarkets and stores has the skin removed, unsliced bacon often still has the skin intact. The skin can be cooked separately for a crunchy snack or left on during cooking to enhance the crispiness of your meat.

However, it’s important to note that eating raw bacon, including the rind, can increase your risk of foodborne illnesses such as toxoplasmosis, trichinosis, and tapeworms. Therefore, it’s unsafe to eat raw bacon.

To reduce your risk of food poisoning, it’s crucial to cook bacon properly. When cooking bacon with the rind attached, you’ll notice an improved level of crispiness as the fat releases its juices during cooking. You can also cook the rind separately for a crunchy snack or party food that will leave everyone wanting more.

What Is Bacon Rind?

Bacon rind is the tough outer skin of pork or bacon that coats the bacon slices. It is often overlooked due to a lack of knowledge of the differences in consistency and taste compared to regular bacon. The rind is typically removed from bacon sold in supermarkets and stores, as it allows for a leaner and easier-to-cook ingredient. However, the rind can be left on during cooking to enhance the crispiness of your meat. It can also be cooked separately for a crunchy snack or party food that will leave everyone wanting more. Eating the rind can reduce food waste and help save money, and there are no additives or preservatives in it. However, it’s important to note that eating raw bacon, including the rind, can increase your risk of foodborne illnesses. Therefore, it’s crucial to cook bacon properly to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

Nutritional Value Of Bacon Rind

While bacon rind is primarily made up of fat, it still contains some nutritional value. A single serving of Ashfield Smoked Middle Bacon Rind On (1 serving) contains 1g total carbs, 1g net carbs, 13g fat, 8g protein, and 147 calories.

The fat content in bacon rind is mostly made up of monounsaturated and saturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are known to help lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood, while saturated fats can increase bad cholesterol levels if consumed in excess.

Bacon rind also contains a decent amount of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscle tissues. However, it’s important to remember that bacon rind should not be relied upon as a primary source of protein.

It’s worth noting that the nutritional value of bacon rind can vary depending on the brand and type of bacon you purchase. It’s always a good idea to check the nutrition label before consuming any food to ensure that it aligns with your dietary needs and goals.

Health Risks Of Eating Bacon Rind

While bacon rind can be a tasty addition to your meals, it’s important to be aware of the potential health risks associated with consuming it.

Firstly, bacon rind is a highly processed food that tends to be high in fat, sugar, and salt. Studies have shown that consuming too many processed snack foods, like pork rinds, can contribute to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure. Pork rinds are also high in sodium, with a 2-ounce bag containing up to 50% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for sodium. A high sodium diet can increase blood pressure, which can contribute to heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

In addition to being high in sodium, pork rinds are also high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Consuming too much saturated fat and cholesterol can raise your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, which is the “bad” kind of cholesterol. This unhealthy combination can contribute to heart disease.

However, it’s not all bad news for bacon rind lovers. Bacon rinds are a good source of protein and monounsaturated fat, which can be beneficial for those following a keto or paleo diet. Additionally, half an ounce of pork rinds contains about 5-7 grams of collagen protein, which is essential for cellular communication, immune response, and tissue repair.

How To Cook Bacon Rind

Cooking bacon rind is simple and can be done in a variety of ways. Here are a few methods to try:

1. Pan-frying: Cut the bacon with rind into 1/4″ strips and simmer them over medium heat. Keep them on the heat until the fat has become juicy and the meat has taken on its flavor. This will result in crispy, meaty lardons that are perfect for adding to salads, soups, and other dishes.

2. Oven-baking: Set up a dipping and coating station with beaten egg and pork rind crumbs. Dip the bacon in the egg, then in the pork rinds, and place the coated bacon slices on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat. Roast for 10 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time. Transfer the bacon to a wire rack set over the baking sheet and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the bacon is cooked to your liking.

3. Boiling: Boil water in a pot sized to accommodate your skin squares. Add skins carefully once water is boiling. Let the skins boil for about one hour. This method will result in tender, flavorful bacon rind that can be used in stews or casseroles.

4. Microwaving: Arrange your raw rinds on a microwave-proof dish and cook on high for about three and a half minutes. Check them and give them a turn a couple of times during the cooking for even crispiness.

No matter which method you choose, make sure to cook bacon rind thoroughly to reduce your risk of food poisoning. Once cooked, enjoy it as a snack or add it to your favorite dishes for an extra burst of flavor and texture.

Delicious Recipes Using Bacon Rind

If you’re looking for new ways to use bacon rind in your cooking, here are a few delicious recipes to try:

1. Pork Rind Crusted Bacon: This recipe uses crushed pork rinds to coat bacon slices, resulting in a crunchy and low-carb snack. Simply cut the rind off the bacon with a sharp knife, leaving just a thin layer of fat. Then, coat the bacon in crushed pork rinds and bake in the oven until crispy.

2. Barded Pork Roast: Barding is a technique of wrapping meat in fat to keep it juicy and add flavor. In this recipe, a pork loin roast is wrapped in applewood smoked bacon rind and tied with kitchen twine before being roasted in the oven with vegetables like Brussels sprouts, carrots, onions, and garlic.

3. Bacon Lardons: Lardons are small strips of bacon used to flavor dishes like salads and soups. Using the rind allows the lardons to have a juicier but crispier consistency without lacking the salty taste of regular bacon. To prepare strips for bacon lardon, slice the bacon with rind into 1/4” strips and simmer over medium heat until the fat has become juicy and the meat has taken on its flavor.

4. Pork Rind Snacks: Boil pork rinds in salted water, then dry them in a cool cellar for a month before frying them in oil for super crispy and tasty snacks. Serve them as starters with bread and vegetables for a delicious and crunchy treat.

Incorporating bacon rind into your cooking can add a new level of flavor and texture to your dishes. Just be sure to cook it properly to avoid any risk of foodborne illness.

Alternative Uses For Bacon Rind

Aside from being a tasty addition to your meals, bacon rind can also be used in alternative ways. Here are some creative uses for bacon rind:

1. Flavoring: Bacon rind can be used to add a smoky, savory flavor to soups, stews, and casseroles. Simply add a piece of bacon rind to your pot or skillet and let it simmer for a few minutes.

2. Composting: Bacon rind can be added to your compost pile as a source of carbon. It will break down over time and help enrich your soil.

3. Dog Treats: If you have a furry friend at home, they may enjoy a crunchy bacon rind as a treat. Just make sure it’s cooked properly and doesn’t contain any seasoning or spices that could be harmful to dogs.

4. Bird Feeder: Similar to suet, bacon rind can be used as a high-fat treat for birds during the winter months. Simply hang the rind from a tree or bird feeder and watch as the birds flock to it.

5. Flavoring Oil: Bacon rind can also be used to infuse oil with a smoky bacon flavor. Simply cook the rind in oil over low heat until it’s crispy and the fat has rendered out. Strain the oil and use it in your cooking for added flavor.

While bacon rind may not be suitable for everyone’s taste buds, it’s clear that it can be used in a variety of ways beyond just being eaten on its own. So next time you cook up some bacon, don’t throw away the rind – get creative with it!