Where Do Bacon Bones Come From? Everything You Need To Know

Bacon is a beloved food all around the world, and for good reason. Its smoky, salty flavor can enhance any dish, from breakfast to dinner.

But have you ever heard of bacon bones? These flavorful bones are often used to add depth and richness to soups and stews. But where do they come from?

In this article, we’ll explore the origins of bacon bones and how they’re made. So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn all about this delicious ingredient.

Where Do Bacon Bones Come From?

Bacon bones come from the pork belly, which is located in the belly area of the pig. Unlike other cuts of pork, such as the pork butt which is actually from the shoulder, the pork belly is a fatty and flavorful cut that is perfect for making bacon.

To turn the pork belly into bacon bones, it needs to go through a curing process. This involves marinating the meat in a special cure for two days before cooking and smoking it to perfection. Once cooled, the meat is cut into smaller pieces for consumer convenience.

Bacon bones are not meant to be consumed on their own, but rather used to infuse flavor and aroma into soups, stews, and other dishes. They can be added to a pot of beans or lentils for added flavor, or simmered in a broth to create a rich, smoky base for soups. They can also be used to add flavor to meat dishes like pulled pork or beef brisket.

What Are Bacon Bones?

Bacon bones are small pieces of pork belly that have been cured and smoked to create a smoky and flavorful addition to soups and stews. They are not meant to be consumed on their own, but rather used to infuse flavor into dishes. Bacon bones are often used in traditional recipes for soups like scotch broth, tomato and pumpkin soup, bacon and lentil soup, and cabbage and ham soup.

In some cuisines, meat bones are considered an essential part of the cooking process. In Asia, for example, meats are often cooked with the bones still intact because the texture and flavor of the meat hanging on to it is considered the tastiest and best-textured meat that you can have. However, in Western cuisine, the bones are typically discarded after cooking.

Bacon bones are a popular ingredient in many dishes because they add a rich, smoky flavor that is hard to replicate with other ingredients. They are easy to use and can be added to dishes like split pea and ham soup or bean and kale stew for an extra layer of flavor. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner, bacon bones are a great ingredient to have on hand for adding depth and flavor to your favorite dishes.

How Are Bacon Bones Made?

The traditional method for making bacon bones is known as dry curing. The process begins with a raw pork belly that is rubbed with a mixture of salt, sugar, and other seasonings. The pork belly is then left to cure in a cool place for a week or two, allowing the flavors to penetrate the meat.

After the curing process is complete, the bacon is rinsed off and dried. It is then smoked over wood chips at a low temperature to further preserve and flavor the meat. The type of wood chips used in the smoker can impart a specific flavor, such as applewood, hickory, or cherry.

If the bacon isn’t smoked, it can be air-dried in a cool place for several weeks or even months. This method is known as “hung bacon” and was commonly used in the past before refrigeration was widely available.

Once the bacon is cured and smoked or air-dried, it can be cut into smaller pieces, including bacon bones. These bones are often used to flavor soups and stews, adding a rich, smoky flavor to the dish.

It’s important to note that bacon bones are not meant to be consumed on their own. Instead, they are used as a flavorful ingredient in cooking. To use them in soups or stews, simply add them to the pot along with other ingredients and let them simmer until the flavors have melded together.

Culinary Uses For Bacon Bones

Bacon bones are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of culinary applications. One popular use is to add them to soups and stews to create a rich, smoky flavor. Simply add the bacon bones to the pot and let them simmer for several hours to infuse the broth with their delicious flavor.

Another great use for bacon bones is to add them to beans or lentils. The bones will add a depth of flavor that can’t be achieved with other ingredients. Simply add the bones to the pot along with the beans or lentils and let them simmer until tender.

Bacon bones can also be used to flavor meat dishes like pulled pork or beef brisket. Simply add the bones to the cooking liquid and let them simmer along with the meat. The result will be a deliciously smoky and flavorful dish that your family and friends will love.

Finally, bacon bones can be used to make a rich and flavorful broth that can be used in a variety of recipes. Simply simmer the bones in water for several hours, along with vegetables and herbs, to create a delicious broth that can be used as a base for soups, sauces, and gravies.

Nutritional Benefits Of Bacon Bones

Bacon bones are not just flavorful, but also packed with essential nutrients that can benefit your overall health. These bones are an excellent source of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, which are essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. They also contain trace minerals like selenium, which acts as a powerful antioxidant and helps protect cells from damage.

In addition to minerals, bacon bones are also rich in amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Amino acids are essential for muscle growth and repair, as well as for the production of enzymes, hormones, and other vital molecules in the body. The amino acids found in bacon bones can also help improve brain function and mood by increasing the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.

Bacon bones are also a good source of healthy fats, including monounsaturated and saturated fats. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to help lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Saturated fats, on the other hand, have been demonized in the past but recent studies have shown that they do not increase the risk of heart disease as previously thought. Additionally, saturated fats play an important role in hormone production and brain function.

Another important nutrient found in bacon bones is choline. Choline is a compound that is essential for brain and nervous system function, aids in memory and mood regulation, helps with muscle control and movement while aiding in the formation of membranes around cells. A recent study has suggested that choline’s use in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine might give it an essential role in reducing the cognitive decline associated with aging and in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

To fully reap the nutritional benefits of bacon bones, it is best to prepare them using a slow-cooking method like making bone broth. This allows for maximum extraction of nutrients from the bones into the broth. Bone broth is also easy to digest and has been shown to improve gut health by reducing inflammation and promoting healthy gut bacteria growth.

How To Store And Prepare Bacon Bones

If you have purchased bacon bones from the store or butcher, it is important to store them properly to ensure their freshness and quality. Bacon bones can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. It is recommended to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil before storing them in the refrigerator or freezer.

To prepare bacon bones for use in recipes, it is important to first rinse them under cold water to remove any excess salt or curing solution. Then, they can be added directly to a pot of soup or stew and simmered for several hours until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. Alternatively, bacon bones can be roasted in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes for a crispy and flavorful addition to any dish.

When using bacon bones in recipes, it is important to remove them from the pot or dish before serving and discard them. The meat can be shredded and added back into the dish for added flavor and texture. It is also important to skim any excess fat or impurities from the surface of the dish as it cooks.