What Is Black Bacon? The Key Facts

Bacon is a beloved breakfast staple, but have you ever heard of black bacon?

This unique type of bacon is gaining popularity for its rich flavor and traditional production methods.

Made from a variety of pig breeds, black bacon is typically dry-cured by hand and smoked over wood chips.

Some varieties are even soaked in molasses or treacle for an extra touch of sweetness.

But what sets black bacon apart is its deep, dark color, which comes from the curing process.

In this article, we’ll explore the history and production methods of black bacon, as well as some delicious ways to enjoy it.

So grab a cup of coffee and get ready to learn about this delicious and unique type of bacon!

What Is Black Bacon?

Black bacon is a type of bacon that is known for its distinctively dark color and rich flavor. It is typically made from a variety of pig breeds, including Berkshire, Yorkshire, and Saddleback pigs.

The curing process for black bacon is what gives it its unique color. The bacon is dry-cured by hand with a mixture of salt, sugar, and other seasonings, and then smoked over wood chips. Some varieties are also soaked in molasses or treacle for an extra touch of sweetness.

The traditional production methods used to make black bacon have been passed down through generations of farmers and butchers. This means that each batch of black bacon is made with care and attention to detail, resulting in a high-quality product that is truly unique.

The History Of Black Bacon

Black bacon has a long and fascinating history, dating back to the 17th century in Colonial Virginia. During this time, a rebellion known as Bacon’s Rebellion took place, which was the last major uprising of enslaved blacks and white indentured servants in the colony.

The rebellion was led by Nathaniel Bacon, a landowner who was related by marriage to Virginia Colonial Governor William Berkeley. The main cause of the rebellion was the conquest of the Powhatan Indian Confederation and the distribution of their lands to the English planter class. Despite their defeat, Indians associated with the Confederation continued squatting on these lands, which caused conflict between them and the colonists.

Bacon joined and led former indentured servants, freemen, black and white, newly arrived landless immigrants from England, Scotland, or Ireland, and enslaved blacks in attacking peaceful Indians to acquire their lands. This led Governor Berkeley to jail Bacon for a few months. Once released, Bacon declared himself the leader of these groups and marched on Jamestown, the colonial capital, with 500 men. He accused Governor Berkeley of corruption and being pro-Native American in his “Declaration of the People.”

The rebellion meandered through the late summer months until Bacon and his followers returned to Jamestown on September 19 and battled forces loyal to Governor Berkeley. They forced Berkeley and his followers to retreat and then burned the town. Despite his victory, Nathaniel Bacon died of dysentery in October 1676.

Although pockets of rebels throughout Virginia continued to resist colonial authorities into 1677, the confrontation at West Point effectively ended the Rebellion. It wasn’t until nearly 100 years later when Thomas Jefferson reframed the rebellion as a pre-cursor to the American Revolution that it became known as Bacon’s Castle.

While black bacon may not have any direct connection to Bacon’s Rebellion, its name serves as a reminder of this significant event in American history. Today, black bacon is still enjoyed for its unique flavor and traditional production methods that have been passed down through generations.

How Is Black Bacon Made?

Black bacon is made through a process of dry-curing and smoking. The first step in making black bacon is to select high-quality pork from specific pig breeds such as Berkshire, Yorkshire, or Saddleback pigs. Once the pork is selected, it is trimmed and cut into slices of the desired thickness.

Next, the bacon is dry-cured by hand with a mixture of salt, sugar, and other seasonings. This process draws out excess moisture, adds flavor, and helps to preserve the meat. Some varieties of black bacon are also soaked in molasses or treacle for an extra touch of sweetness.

After the curing process is complete, the bacon is smoked over wood chips. This process adds even more flavor and gives the bacon its distinctively dark color. The traditional smoking method involves hanging the bacon in a smokehouse or on racks over smoldering wood chips for several hours.

Once the smoking process is complete, the bacon is sliced and ready to be enjoyed. Black bacon can be eaten on its own or used in a variety of dishes to add depth and complexity to the flavor profile. Its unique taste and appearance make it a popular choice for food enthusiasts who are looking for something different than traditional bacon.

The Different Varieties Of Black Bacon

There are several different varieties of black bacon, each with their own unique flavor and texture. One of the most popular types is Wiltshire bacon, which is made from the belly of the pig and is known for its rich, smoky flavor. Another variety is Irish black bacon, which is made from the loin of the pig and has a leaner texture and milder flavor.

In addition to these traditional varieties, there are also newer types of black bacon that have emerged in recent years. For example, some producers are now making black bacon from rare breeds of pigs, such as Gloucestershire Old Spot or Tamworth pigs. These breeds have a different flavor profile than more common breeds like Berkshire or Yorkshire, and their meat is often leaner and more tender.

Another trend in black bacon production is the use of different types of wood chips for smoking. Some producers use applewood or cherrywood for a sweeter, fruitier flavor, while others prefer hickory or mesquite for a more intense smokiness.

No matter which variety you choose, black bacon is a delicious and versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide range of dishes. From breakfast sandwiches to pasta dishes to salads, this flavorful bacon adds depth and richness to any meal.

Health Benefits Of Black Bacon

While bacon is often considered an indulgent treat, black bacon actually has some surprising health benefits. Like regular bacon, black bacon contains unsaturated fats and oleic acid, which have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease. However, black bacon also contains higher levels of nutrients like iron, phosphorous, potassium, and selenium. Iron is particularly important for maintaining healthy blood cells and preventing anemia.

Additionally, black bacon is a good source of protein, with about 14 grams per serving. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body, and can also help you feel full and satisfied after a meal.

It’s important to note that like all types of bacon, black bacon should be consumed in moderation as it is high in saturated fat and sodium. However, incorporating black bacon into a balanced diet can provide some surprising health benefits while still allowing you to indulge in its rich flavor.

How To Cook And Enjoy Black Bacon

If you have never cooked with black bacon before, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you get the most out of this delicious ingredient. Here are some tips for cooking and enjoying black bacon:

1. Choose high-quality black bacon: Look for bacon that has been made using traditional methods and high-quality ingredients. This will ensure that you get the best flavor and texture from your bacon.

2. Cook the bacon slowly: Black bacon can be quite thick, so it is important to cook it slowly to ensure that it cooks through evenly. Use a low heat and cook the bacon for around 10 minutes, turning it occasionally, until it is crispy and golden brown.

3. Add black bacon to your favorite dishes: Black bacon is a versatile ingredient that can be added to a wide range of dishes, from soups and stews to salads and sandwiches. Its rich, smoky flavor pairs well with a variety of ingredients, including beans, asparagus, spinach, and tomatoes.

4. Experiment with different flavors: Black bacon has a rich flavor that can stand up to bold spices and seasonings. Try adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or some chopped jalapenos for an extra kick of heat. Alternatively, you could try soaking the bacon in molasses or treacle before cooking for a sweeter flavor.

5. Enjoy black bacon on its own: Sometimes the best way to enjoy black bacon is simply on its own, served alongside eggs and toast for a hearty breakfast or as a snack on its own.

Where To Find Black Bacon.

If you’re looking to try black bacon for yourself, there are a few options for where to find it. One place to start is at specialty meat shops or gourmet food stores. These types of stores often carry a variety of artisanal and unique food products, including black bacon.

Another option is to look online. Many small-scale producers of black bacon have websites where you can order their products directly. This can be a great way to support small businesses and try something new at the same time.

If you’re lucky enough to live near a farm or farmer’s market, you may be able to find black bacon there as well. Some farmers specialize in raising heritage pig breeds and producing traditional cured meats like black bacon.

No matter where you find it, black bacon is sure to be a tasty and interesting addition to your breakfast or brunch menu. Its rich flavor and unique color make it stand out from other types of bacon, and its traditional production methods give it a special place in culinary history.