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Bacon by any other name

By Lisa Waddle, managing editor

April 20th, 2009

Shopping for an upcoming brunch, I was thrilled to see a newcomer in the specialty meat case of my local market: duck bacon. Made by D’Artagnan, the New Jersey-based gourmet food company, the bacon was packaged enticingly, with promises of having half the fat of pork bacon, and no nitrates or nitrites.

On closer examination, it was apparent this wasn’t bacon in the strictest sense (that is, the side of a pig that has been cured and smoked). It was really just a thinly sliced smoked duck breast that looked like bacon. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

It cooked up quickly (in fact, I probably overcooked it a tad) and was tasty. I found it a a bit too salty, though, and thought the smoke flavor overpowered any hint that this was water fowl. But it did make for a good conversation piece.

Afterwards, I did a little research and found all sorts of alternative bacons out there: veal, turkey, even wild boar. I’d love to hear from anyone who has tried any non-pork bacons, especially if you’ve got any you’d recommend to mix up the breakfast plate offerings.

posted in: Blogs, Lisa Waddle, bacon, duck
Comments (15)

chevreandvouvray writes: so excited to try this. duck and beef bacon are two of my favorites.
had chinese duck yesterday.
lamb bacon also sounds nice.
you couldn't give me pork bacon for free; read twice recently that cannibals say we taste like pork. stuff makes you sick even when fully cooked.
to all the pig lovers- "you are what you eat" and you can have my portion till the cows come home. Posted: 8:14 pm on October 27th

SophyB writes: They have this stuff at the co-op! I'm going to get some next time. Anything duck is good with me. Posted: 3:29 pm on May 1st

EMI48 writes: Duck bacon is very consumed in France. It is called "magret séché". It is the duck breast which is salted and sometimes smoked then dried.
It is consumed raw, I've never seen it cooked.
It is arranged on salad ("salade landaise"), with duck's gizzards "confits" (salted and then cooked in duck's fat)sliced and sautéed, and a little foie gras. You can add walnuts or pine nuts.
It is a speciality of the south-west of France, very appreciated.
It is'nt a pork substitute, it's something really different. Posted: 10:43 am on April 30th

bsmithfla writes: I'm a traditionalist and believe bacon is and will remain PORK. I've worked internationally for most of my adult life and been served more bacon substitutes than one could imagine. Keep them all I say pig is for me! Posted: 5:11 am on April 30th

boyofdestiny writes: The most tasty non-pork bacon that I've experienced is definitely lamb bacon. Yuuuuuuummmmmmmy. It's like what would happen if Tallegio cheese and bacon had a love child. It's kind of funky and rich. If you can source it, I'd suggest serving it in a polenta. Posted: 10:25 pm on April 29th

mikivanmom writes: we have been eating Turkey bacon for years! We stopped eating pork and at this point, you couldn't pay me to touch it! There are many varieties of turkey bacon out there, some are also nitrate free! Some are super fabulous and some are just mediocre. Remember that there are a LOT of people around the world who do NOT eat pork at all for either religious or health reasons. I am thrilled to have alternatives! It would be really nice if all the food and cooking shows and magazines acknowledged this large section of the population and gave alternatives more often! Posted: 6:16 pm on April 29th

Jayeno writes: Now, I love pig bacon, even with this swine flu thing going around, BUT HOW UNHEALTHY MUST DUCK BACON BE? Seriously, duck, regular, isn't so healthy, so bacon can't be great. Will I try it you betcha. After all, I could be very very WRONG. Posted: 5:27 pm on April 29th

PenniH writes: I cannot use pork bacon because of the sodium and fat content.
For slow cooking bacon flavor such as in bean dishes, I use bacon flavored soy chunks, which adds enough sodium for the dish without having to add salt.
Soy bacon has not evolved enough to use for a BLT or plate of bacon and eggs yet, so I use turkey bacon when I need strips of bacon. There are several brand names I like for the taste.
Still have to watch the sodium content on any bacon flavored product. Posted: 5:20 pm on April 29th

Vivian111 writes: We have been avoiding pork, so I've been using turkey-bacon.
It's a fair substitute, but varies by producer. I find it burns very easily, so watch it closely. The kind that looks like traditional bacon is best. Posted: 3:18 pm on April 29th

annemax writes: Try the other two D'Artagnan pork bacons, they're really wonderful! Posted: 3:06 pm on April 29th

JuliRoberts writes: Interesting indeed...but what's next....Tof-acon!

Did the smoked flavor make it taste more like pork? Is that what they might have been going for?

Definately something I would taste but I would still stick to the real thing :) Posted: 3:09 pm on April 21st

pumkinfolk writes: The debate is interesting, but what this welcome news about duck bacon gives me is a new excuse to eat duck, not bacon. Posted: 12:10 pm on April 21st

sbreckenridge writes: I had a lamb bacon at the tapas bar Boqueria in NYC. As a bacon, it was definitely stretching the definition, but it was mighty tasty in its own right. Posted: 2:11 pm on April 20th

DMickelsen writes: Lisa, I don't know how I feel about this whole "non-pork" bacon thing... Why mess with something that's perfect as is?! With that said, D'Artagnan also makes duck hot dogs(and beef and bison) that are very tasty. Posted: 12:39 pm on April 20th

GeorgeCooks writes: I've had venison bacon, although it tasted more like jerky than bacon. Can you make bacon out of any animal? Posted: 11:58 am on April 20th

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