Are you a fan of bacon but looking for a healthier alternative?
Uncured turkey bacon might be the answer for you. But wait, is it raw or cooked?
The answer might surprise you. In this article, we’ll explore the difference between cured and uncured turkey bacon, whether or not it needs to be cooked, and how to handle it safely.
So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of turkey bacon.
Is Uncured Turkey Bacon Raw?
When it comes to uncured turkey bacon, the answer is not a simple yes or no.
First, let’s define what we mean by “raw.” Raw meat is meat that has not been cooked or processed in any way that would make it safe for consumption.
Uncured turkey bacon, on the other hand, has gone through a process of curing and smoking before it is sold. This means that it is technically not raw in the same way that a piece of uncooked chicken or beef would be.
However, it is important to note that uncured turkey bacon is not fully cooked either. It is considered a pre-cooked product that only needs to be heated up before consumption.
So, to answer the question: no, uncured turkey bacon is not raw in the traditional sense, but it is also not fully cooked and should be heated up before eating.
What Is Uncured Turkey Bacon?
Uncured turkey bacon is a type of bacon that is made from turkey instead of pork. It is called “uncured” because it is not processed with synthetic nitrates or nitrites, which are commonly used in the curing process of traditional bacon. Instead, uncured turkey bacon is cured with natural nitrates found in vegetables like celery and beets, along with sea salt and other natural flavorings.
The process of making uncured turkey bacon involves injecting the turkey meat with a brine solution made of salt, sugar, and natural curing agents like cultured celery powder. This solution is left to soak into the meat for 12-24 hours, allowing the flavors to develop and the meat to become resistant to bacteria. The meat is then smoked over real wood, giving it a smoky flavor that is similar to traditional bacon.
Uncured turkey bacon is a healthier alternative to traditional bacon because it contains less saturated fat and sodium. It is also a good option for people who cannot eat pork or who choose not to eat pork for dietary or religious reasons.
When purchasing uncured turkey bacon, it is important to look for products that are labeled as “sodium nitrate-free” to ensure that no synthetic nitrates have been added. It should also be noted that while uncured turkey bacon may be a healthier option, it should still be consumed in moderation due to its high sodium content.
Cured Vs. Uncured: What’s The Difference?
When it comes to bacon, there are two main types: cured and uncured. Both types of bacon undergo a curing process, but the difference lies in the ingredients used for curing. Cured bacon is preserved with a commercial preparation of salt and sodium nitrites, while uncured bacon doesn’t contain added nitrates or nitrites. Instead, it relies on natural ingredients such as cultured celery powder and sea salt during the curing process.
While both types of bacon are technically cured, the use of nitrites and nitrates in cured bacon has raised concerns about their potential health risks. Studies have shown that these chemical additives may turn into nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic and can lead to the development of cancer. Uncured bacon, on the other hand, uses natural ingredients that are considered safer for consumption.
In terms of taste, cured and uncured bacon differ slightly. Cured bacon is typically sweeter and has a more uniform pink color, while uncured bacon is often saltier and has a more natural appearance.
When it comes to cooking, both types of bacon can be cooked in the same way. However, because uncured bacon does not contain artificial preservatives, it may spoil faster than cured bacon if not stored properly.
Cooking Uncured Turkey Bacon: Tips And Tricks
Cooking uncured turkey bacon can be tricky, as it is a leaner meat than traditional pork bacon and can easily become dry and tough if not cooked properly. Here are some tips and tricks to ensure that your uncured turkey bacon comes out perfectly every time:
1. Use a baking sheet with a rack: Using a baking sheet with a rack will allow the bacon to cook evenly on all sides, and will also prevent it from sitting in its own grease.
2. Preheat your oven: Preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit will ensure that the bacon cooks at the right temperature and will help it crisp up nicely.
3. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil: This will make cleanup a breeze and will prevent the bacon from sticking to the baking sheet.
4. Don’t overcrowd the pan: Be sure to leave enough space between each strip of bacon so that they don’t overlap, which can cause uneven cooking.
5. Flip the bacon halfway through cooking: This will ensure that both sides of the bacon crisp up evenly.
6. Watch the bacon closely: Uncured turkey bacon cooks quickly, so be sure to keep an eye on it to prevent it from burning.
By following these tips and tricks, you can enjoy perfectly cooked, crispy uncured turkey bacon every time.
Handling Uncured Turkey Bacon Safely
When handling uncured turkey bacon, it is important to take certain precautions to ensure that it is safe for consumption. Here are some tips for handling uncured turkey bacon safely:
1. Check the packaging: Before consuming uncured turkey bacon, always check the packaging to see if it is safe to eat without cooking or if it needs to be cooked first. If the packaging indicates that it needs to be cooked, make sure to follow the cooking instructions carefully.
2. Keep raw bacon away from other food items: If you are handling raw uncured turkey bacon, make sure to keep it away from other food items in your kitchen. Wash any surface it touches with soap and hot water, including your hands and utensils.
3. Cook thoroughly: When cooking uncured turkey bacon, make sure to cook it thoroughly over medium-high heat before consuming. This will ensure that any harmful bacteria or parasites are killed off and reduce the risk of food poisoning.
4. Store properly: If you have leftover cooked uncured turkey bacon, make sure to store it properly in the refrigerator or freezer. Do not undercook raw meat and then store it for future use as this will not kill the bacteria in the product and may still cause food poisoning.
By following these simple tips, you can safely handle and consume uncured turkey bacon without risking your health.
Health Benefits Of Uncured Turkey Bacon
While uncured turkey bacon may not be a superfood, it does have some health benefits worth noting. Compared to traditional pork bacon, uncured turkey bacon is a leaner option with fewer calories and less fat.
In fact, a 2-ounce serving of uncured turkey bacon contains only 14 grams of fat, compared to the 22 grams found in pork bacon. It also has fewer calories, with 218 calories per serving compared to the 268 calories in pork bacon.
Additionally, turkey bacon is a good source of protein and contains essential B vitamins and minerals like zinc, selenium, and phosphorus. These nutrients are important for maintaining a healthy metabolism and immune system.
It is important to note that not all uncured turkey bacon is created equal. Some brands may still contain added sugars and preservatives, so it is important to read the label carefully before purchasing. Opting for nitrate-free options like Applegate Farms’ uncured turkey bacon can also help reduce the intake of harmful preservatives.
While it’s not recommended to consume large amounts of any type of bacon due to its high sodium content, pairing uncured turkey bacon with nutrient-rich foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can make for a healthier meal option.