There are many different types of bacon. Each of them is delicious and worthy of exploring. Cottage bacon is perhaps the most recognizable bacon to those who grew up with streaky, American-style bacon.
So what is cottage bacon? Sometimes known as Buckboard bacon, cottage bacon is cured pork made from cuts of the pig other than the pork belly, the portion used for American-style bacon.
However, the process of making it is the same as traditional American-style bacon – salt-cured and smoked.
Cottage bacon slices up into strips that fry up crisp and are perfectly suitable for layering up on your favorite BLT or sneaking into a hungry mouth.
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How Does Cottage Bacon Differ from Regular Bacon?
Cottage bacon tastes and smells quite similar to American-style bacon. One notable difference is that it is from a meatier, leaner cut of pork and will therefore have much less fat to render down.
How to Cook Cottage Bacon
Making cottage bacon is so easy that you may stop buying pre-made bacon altogether. There are three primary steps – trimming, curing, and smoking.
Steps to Prepare Cottage Bacon
When buying the pork for cottage bacon, look for a boneless pork shoulder roast. This cut of meat goes by many different names:
- Boston butt
- Pork butt
- Picnic roast
- Picnic shoulder
If you cannot find a boneless roast, you can use a bone-in roast, but you’ll need to remove the bone before curing yourself.
How to Trim Your Pork Before Curing
Before you get to curing, you may need to trim up your pork shoulder roast. If it still has its fat cap, trim that thick layer of fat away. If you still have a bone in your roast, carefully cut that free. Take your time and be attentive to your cuts to keep the final product in good shape.
The last step is to slice the roast down to roughly two-inch thick slabs. These slabs will cure evenly and result in finished slices that resemble streaky bacon.
Curing Your Cottage Bacon
Preparing bacon begins with a curing process. The particular method described here is a salt cure.
Salt-curing draws the moisture from the meat, sapping life-essential water in bacteria present in your meat and killing it. A standard salt cure does not remove the risk of botulism.
The bacteria responsible for botulism are called clostridium botulinum. Persistent and hard to kill, this bacterium can make a home within curing meat and lead to food poisoning.
One way to prevent this is with nitrates, which inhibit the growth of the bacterium and avert botulinum toxin from forming. For home cooks, nitrate is available as curing salt.
Nitrates can be toxic to humans if ingested at unsafe levels. Curing salt is therefore not a seasoning, and it’s essential to use only the amount necessary for curing meat and to remember to rinse the salt off after the curing is complete and before you smoke to prevent adverse health effects.
The Curing Process
To begin, you’ll want to create a blend of spices, salt, and curing salt. Curing salt is known by many names. You may find it marketed as pink salt, Prague Powder #1, Tinted Cure, Cure #1, or Instacure #1.
Note that Himalayan Pink salt is not the same thing as curing salt. It is 6.75% sodium nitrate in sodium chloride, dyed pink to ensure home cooks will not accidentally ingest it.
Do not sprinkle curing salt on food like a seasoning.
Using the appropriate amount of salt for your meat will prevent adverse health effects. 1.1 grams of pink salt per pound of pork will work for this curing recipe. The Equilibrium Curing method can give you precise amounts if you have a good digital scale.
With the EQ curing method, you are aiming for a final percentage of salt that’s 2.5% of the weight of the meat. 2.25% of that will be kosher salt, and the remaining .25% will be pink salt. The remaining spice blend is not vital to the curing process, so it doesn’t need to be accounted for in the calculation.
Once you’ve determined the proper ratio, it’s time to mix your rub. A good blend includes brown sugar, cracked black pepper, sweet paprika, and kosher salt. Mix these thoroughly with your pink salt.
Place your pork roast in a resealable bag and rub your pork with the mix. Make sure to use all of the cure on the meat and thoroughly coat every exposed piece of pork with the curing blend. Seal the bag and stick it in the fridge.
Every day, flip your meat over and give it a good massage to work the cure into the pork and help the process along. If you’ve trimmed your roast down to a 2″ slab, it can cure for 7-9 days. Leave it in for about 14 days if you’ve left it thicker.
Once it’s finished curing, remove it from the bag and rinse the remaining cure off. Thoroughly dry the meat with paper towels. You’ll be left with a dryer, noticeably darker slab of meat ready to enter your smoker.
Smoking Your Cured Bacon
Set your smoker to 200 degrees and load it with your favorite wood chips – apple is always a good bet for slabs of bacon-to-be. Place your slabs of cured pork on racks and allow them to smoke for two to three hours.
When the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees, the bacon is ready. Remember to use a digital thermometer to verify the final temperature.
Once they reach temp, allow the bacon to cool and store in an airtight container.
How to Store Cottage Bacon
If you plan to use up all the prepared bacon within the next week, an airtight container in the fridge is all you need. If you’ve made more than you can consume in that time, portion it out and store the rest in freezer-safe containers.
You can keep cottage bacon for up to a year in the freezer if you’ve vacuum sealed in good bags with a good sealer. A freezer-safe container is good for up to six months but is best if used within a month or two.
How to Cook Cottage Bacon
Cottage bacon can be used in place of American-style bacon. Since it’s leaner, it is a good alternative for those who want the salty, smoky, meaty delights of bacon without the risk of chewy fat that hasn’t fully rendered down. Preparing cottage bacon is similar to preparing streaky bacon.
How to Cook Cottage Bacon Using the Stove
How to Cook Cottage Bacon in Oven
In a preheated, 375(degree) oven, bake the slabs of bacon on a cookie sheet with a raised lip for about 20 minutes. Oven-cooking is an easy way to cook traditional American-style bacon evenly and consistently without smoke.
How to Cook Cottage Bacon Using the Grill
Directly over a lively fire, cottage bacon cooks up in about 3-4 minutes per side in a cast iron skillet. Keep a close eye on it to prevent burns from flare-ups.
Serve your bacon on toast slathered with mayo, topped with crisp lettuce and thick, juicy slices of tomato for a perfect BLT. Fry it up and serve alongside eggs for a hearty breakfast. Layer it atop a cheeseburger or dice it up in a pasta salad. The delicious potential of cottage bacon is only limited by your culinary imagination.
FAQs about Cottage Bacon
Is cottage bacon fully cooked?
Cottage bacon is not fully cooked as most versions require cooking, although there are some hot-smoked variations that are sold fully cooked and ready-to-eat. It is made from boned pork shoulder meat that is pressed into a round or oval roll, cured, and sometimes smoked. It has a taste and appearance similar to ham.
Does cottage bacon taste like bacon?
Cottage bacon does have a taste similar to bacon, although it tends to be more lean and fries up more like ham. However, you can still enjoy the delicious flavor of bacon. Take a look at the sliced cottage bacon.
What does cottage bacon taste like?
Cottage bacon has a taste that is a delightful blend of ham and bacon, thanks to its unique preparation using cured pork shoulder instead of pork belly. This results in a leaner and more flavorful bacon alternative.
Can you bake cottage bacon?
Cottage bacon can be baked in the oven. To cook it, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the bacon in for 25-30 minutes or until it reaches your desired level of doneness. The ingredients used in the curing process include water, salt, sugar, sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate, and sodium nitrite.
Is cottage bacon good?
Cottage bacon is indeed delicious, as it offers a flavorful and unique alternative to traditional cuts of meat. It is a shame that this cured pork shoulder, thinly sliced, is not more widely appreciated. Its underutilization could be considered a missed opportunity for meat lovers.
Is precooked bacon ready to eat?
Precooked bacon is ready to eat after warming and crisping, if desired. To warm and crisp, place separated slices in a cold frying pan and pan fry according to the provided cooking directions.
How do you know when bacon chunks are cooked?
Bacon chunks are considered cooked when the meaty parts exhibit a light pink color and the fat portions appear white. During the cooking process, bacon undergoes a color transformation from light pink to gradually darkening light brown, eventually acquiring a reddish hue. Once the meat layers of the bacon turn brown, it can be deemed fully cooked.
Is soft bacon still cooked?
Soft bacon is still cooked when it transitions from a light pink color to a golden brown shade, indicating that the meat is fully cooked and the fat has been rendered out. Although bacon is commonly served crispy, it is acceptable to remove the bacon pieces from the pan while they are still slightly chewy if that is your preferred texture.
Is precooked bacon crispy?
Precooked bacon is crispy and has a nice taste, with just the right amount of crispiness. It is almost as good as bacon cooked fresh and makes a great addition to any breakfast plate. It is one of my top choices due to its natural appearance. Additionally, it leaves behind minimal grease, unlike some other pre-cooked bacon samples.
Is cottage bacon a ham?
Cottage bacon is not a ham, but rather a cured pork shoulder that is sliced thin. It is leaner than bacon and offers a combination of flavors reminiscent of both ham and bacon. When cooked, it fries up nicely without excessive shrinkage, making it a versatile option for any meal of the day, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
What is European cottage bacon?
European cottage bacon is made from pork collars that are carefully chosen from hogs that are fed a strict diet of lean grains. It is slowly smoked over natural hardwoods, resulting in a delightful aroma and delicious taste. The bacon is cut thick, providing a substantial and flavorful bite.
What is the difference between cottage ham and regular ham?
The difference between cottage ham and regular ham lies in their cuts. Cottage ham, also referred to as a cottage roll, is not a true ham as it is not cut from the pig’s upper hind leg. On the other hand, regular ham is indeed obtained from the upper hind leg of the pig. Additionally, cottage ham, also known as a boneless pork shoulder butt, is specifically cut from the pig’s shoulder.
Why is baking bacon better than frying?
Baking bacon is preferable to frying because it is a healthier option. By placing the bacon on a rack, the excess grease drips off and is collected below, preventing it from being absorbed back into the bacon and ultimately into your body. Additionally, I make sure to pat the bacon to remove any additional grease, ensuring a crispy texture.
Why do you have to flour bacon before cooking?
The reason why bacon needs to be floured before cooking is because it helps to dry out the surface of the meat, provides a protective coating, absorbs any extra grease, and adds firmness to the bacon slices, preventing them from curling and ensuring they remain crispy.
Why is it called Cottage ham?
The term “Cottage ham” may have originated from a Cincinnati butcher in the 1800s who named them as such due to their small size resembling a cottage home, making them ideal for cooking beans.
What does sprinkling flour on bacon do?
Sprinkling flour on bacon helps improve its flavor and texture by drying the bacon and absorbing excess moisture, which is essential for achieving properly browned meats.
What is the white stuff that comes out of bacon when frying?
The white stuff that comes out of bacon when frying is primarily composed of water and denatured proteins from the meat. During the cooking process, the meat cells release moisture, resulting in a solution containing dissolved proteins that can give the liquid a light color and thick consistency.
How to cook redneck cottage bacon?
To cook redneck cottage bacon, start by tossing it into a greased skillet that is heated to medium-hot. Cook for approximately 2 minutes on each side until the edges turn brown and curl. It is important not to overcook the bacon. Once cooked, you can enjoy it! Remember to keep the bacon refrigerated.
Is cottage bacon the same as back bacon?
Cottage bacon is not the same as back bacon, as it is a whole cured meat with a distinct salty flavor and a smoky taste infused into every bite. Cottage bacon is also known as buckboard bacon. On the other hand, back bacon is made from pork loin, making it different from cottage bacon.
How to make chewy bacon in frying pan?
To make chewy bacon in a frying pan, start by preheating a large nonstick skillet over medium/high heat. Place 5-6 pieces of bacon in the pan, ensuring they do not overlap. Cook the bacon for 4-5 minutes for a perfectly cooked texture, 2-3 minutes for a rubbery texture, or 5-6 minutes for a crispy texture.
Is bacon crispier in oven or on stove?
Bacon is crispier when cooked in the oven rather than on the stove. To achieve a crunchier texture, it is recommended to bake the bacon on a wire rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet. This method allows the excess fat to drip away from the bacon, resulting in a crispier outcome compared to pan-frying. Therefore, if you are preparing bacon for a large group of people, it is advisable to use the oven.
How to cook bacon in pan heat?
To cook bacon in a pan, heat it on medium-low heat to allow the fat to render slowly. It’s important not to rush this process. Use tongs to turn the bacon occasionally, ensuring even cooking. Since pans often have uneven heat distribution, it’s recommended to move the bacon to a different section of the pan when flipping it.
How to cook bacon with butter or oil?
To cook bacon with butter or oil, the most common method is to use a frying pan. No additional oil is necessary as the bacon naturally releases its own fat while cooking. It is important to have kitchen tongs on hand to flip the bacon once it starts to buckle and curl. Continuously flipping the bacon ensures even browning and allows the fat to render throughout.
Is cottage bacon better than regular bacon?
Cottage bacon is not necessarily better than regular bacon, as it is made from pork shoulder instead of pork belly. However, it does have its advantages. Being leaner than regular bacon, it offers a healthier alternative. Additionally, cottage bacon is more cost-effective to produce. With these factors in mind, I embarked on my first attempt at making cottage bacon.
What is another name for cottage bacon?
Another name for cottage bacon is buckboard bacon. However, it is important to note that back bacon, which is made with pork loin, is different from cottage bacon.
What is the world’s best bacon?
The world’s best bacon includes Pancetta di Calabria from Italy, Zeeuws Spek from the Netherlands, Peameal Bacon from Canada, Gailtaler Speck from Austria, Boczek Słonina from Poland, Tiroler Speck from Austria, Speck Alto Adige from Italy, and Dalmatinska panceta from Croatia.
Do you flip bacon in the oven?
Flipping bacon in the oven is not necessary during the cook time, unless the bacon is very thick cut. If the bacon is thick, it is recommended to flip it after it has been in the oven for 12 minutes to ensure even cooking on both sides.