Are you a fan of bacon but looking for a healthier alternative? Or maybe you just want to switch things up and try something new?
Whatever your reason may be, you’ll be happy to know that it’s possible to make ham taste like bacon! With the right techniques and ingredients, you can achieve that smoky, savory flavor that we all love about bacon.
In this article, we’ll explore different methods for making ham taste like bacon, from stovetop cooking to smoking in the oven. So, let’s get started and discover how to transform your ham into a delicious bacon substitute!
How To Make Ham Taste Like Bacon?
There are several ways to make ham taste like bacon, and it all comes down to the technique and ingredients used. Here are some methods to try:
1. Stovetop Cooking: One way to make ham taste like bacon is by cooking it on the stovetop. Start by using a heavy-bottomed pan, such as a cast iron skillet or stainless steel pan, over medium heat with a bit of unsalted butter. Once the pan is hot enough, add your sliced ham and let it cook for a few minutes on each side until crispy and golden brown. Keep an eye on the heat to make sure it doesn’t burn.
2. Liquid Smoke: Another way to add that smoky flavor to your ham is by using liquid smoke. Simply brush or spray the liquid smoke onto your ham before cooking it in the oven or on the stovetop.
3. Smoking in the Oven: If you have access to an oven or smoker, you can smoke your ham to give it that bacon-like flavor. Set your oven or smoker to 110°C and cook your ham until it reaches an internal temperature of 65°C. You can also add wood chips, such as apple, maple, cherry, or hickory, for extra smokiness.
4. Brining: Brining your ham can also help give it that bacon-like flavor. Mix together water, salt, sugar, and any other desired seasonings and soak your ham in the mixture for several hours or overnight before cooking.
5. Seasonings: Finally, adding certain seasonings can help give your ham that bacon flavor. Smoked paprika and onion powder are two highly suggested additions that can add that smoky umami flavor.
Why Make Ham Taste Like Bacon?
One may wonder why anyone would want to make ham taste like bacon. The answer is simple: bacon is a beloved and versatile ingredient in many dishes, and its smoky, salty flavor can enhance the taste of many foods. By making ham taste like bacon, you can enjoy the same delicious flavor in a different form. Additionally, if you have dietary restrictions or preferences that prevent you from eating bacon, making ham taste like bacon can be a great alternative. It allows you to enjoy the flavor without compromising your dietary needs. Overall, making ham taste like bacon is a fun and tasty experiment that can add a new dimension to your culinary creations.
The Science Behind The Flavor Of Bacon
The unique and intense flavor of bacon is due to the chemical reactions that occur during cooking. When bacon is cooked, it undergoes the Maillard Reaction, which causes sugars to react with amino acids and gives cooked food its flavor and brown color. The compounds produced from this reaction, combined with the thermal degradation of bacon fat, form aroma compounds such as pyridines, pyrazines, and furans. These compounds are known to impart meaty flavors and contribute to the savory aroma of bacon.
Fatty acids found in the cell membranes of muscle tissue also play a significant role in the flavor of bacon. When cooked, these fatty acids break down into organic compounds such as aldehydes, furans, and ketones. Alone, these molecules have distinct tastes or smells – furans have a sweet, nutty, caramel-like note; aldehydes have a green, grassy note; and ketones tend to be buttery. However, when combined, they create the unique bacon taste that people love.
The diet and breed of the pig also affect the flavor of bacon. The fats in the membranes of muscle cells are traceable to different species of pigs and can contribute to differences in taste. Curing salts and smoking processes also create flavor reactions that contribute to the overall taste of bacon.
The Ingredients You’ll Need
To make ham taste like bacon, you’ll need the following ingredients:
– Ham slices: Choose cured ham slices that are not too thick or too thin, and preferably with some fat for added flavor.
– Unsalted butter: This will be used to cook the ham slices on the stovetop.
– Liquid smoke: If you choose to use liquid smoke, make sure to get a vegan and gluten-free option, such as Colgin Liquid Smoke.
– Wood chips: If you plan to smoke your ham in the oven or smoker, you’ll need wood chips of your choice, such as apple, maple, cherry, or hickory.
– Brine ingredients: If you choose to brine your ham, you’ll need water, salt, sugar, and any other desired seasonings.
– Seasonings: Smoked paprika and onion powder are two highly suggested additions that can add that smoky umami flavor to your ham. Other seasonings you can try include garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, or brown sugar.
Stovetop Method: How To Cook Ham Like Bacon
If you want to cook ham like bacon on the stovetop, there are a few steps to follow. First, cut your ham slices into 3-inch pieces and remove any bones. You can leave some fat on for extra flavor.
If you’re using salt-cured ham, place the slices in a large cast iron pan and add enough water to cover them completely. Cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, turning the ham occasionally to remove excess salt from the meat. Remove the ham slices and wipe the skillet clean with a dishcloth.
Next, return the skillet to medium heat and add some oil. Lay your ham slices in a single layer in the pan, making sure not to overcrowd them. Cook for about 10-20 minutes until browned, turning occasionally. Drain your ham on paper towels.
If you’re using leftover baked ham instead of salt-cured ham, simply skip the water step and place your ham slices directly in the skillet with some oil. Cook for about 10-20 minutes until browned, turning occasionally.
You can also add seasonings like smoked paprika or onion powder to give your ham that bacon-like flavor. Serve your cooked ham with scrambled eggs for a delicious breakfast or brunch dish.
Oven Method: How To Smoke Ham Like Bacon
If you have access to an oven or smoker, smoking your ham is a great way to give it that bacon-like flavor. Here’s how to do it:
1. Preheat your oven to 110°C.
2. Rinse your ham and pat it dry. Score the surface of the ham in a criss-cross pattern.
3. Place the ham on a wire rack in a roasting pan, with the fat side facing up.
4. Add wood chips, such as apple, maple, cherry, or hickory, to a smoker box or wrap them in foil and poke holes in the top. Place the smoker box or foil packet directly on the bottom of the oven.
5. Place the roasting pan with the ham on the middle rack of the oven.
6. Cook the ham until it reaches an internal temperature of 65°C, which should take about 3-4 hours depending on the size of your ham.
7. Baste the ham with a mixture of maple syrup and Dijon mustard every 30 minutes during cooking.
8. Once the ham has reached an internal temperature of 65°C, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to smoke your ham like bacon and enjoy that delicious smoky flavor that everyone loves.
Other Ways To Use Ham That Tastes Like Bacon
If you have successfully made your ham taste like bacon using one of the methods above, there are several other ways to use it in your cooking:
1. BLT Sandwiches: Swap out the traditional bacon for your homemade bacon-flavored ham in a classic BLT sandwich. Add some avocado or mayo for extra creaminess.
2. Breakfast Dishes: Use your bacon-flavored ham in breakfast dishes such as omelets, frittatas, or breakfast burritos.
3. Salads: Add some crunch and flavor to your salads by using your bacon-flavored ham as a topping. It pairs well with spinach, arugula, or mixed greens.
4. Pasta Dishes: Incorporate your bacon-flavored ham into pasta dishes such as carbonara or spaghetti alla amatriciana for a smoky twist.
5. Appetizers: Use your bacon-flavored ham as a topping for crostini, bruschetta, or mini quiches for an easy and tasty appetizer option.
With these ideas, you can make the most out of your bacon-flavored ham and impress your guests with unique and delicious dishes.