29 thoughts on “Because You Need to Know

  1. The injected cure/drenched in liquid smoke just does not come close to a few days soaking in a cure and a few days over a smoldering mass of apple wood.

    Ever see the Scrap Iron Chef episode of Good Eats in which Alton Brown makes bacon in a junk yard?

  2. Good one. Now I’m off for some bacon and gravy (and pet food?)

    The slicing part looks like it takes so much time, that I’m now officially presenting for your approval:

    “It takes so much time, it’s like watching pork belly get sliced into bacon.”

  3. I am with Mark on this one. While it is quite difficult to put the words “bad” and “bacon” in the same sentence, there is certainly BETTER bacon! Bacon is like sex, even when it is not the greatest, it doesn’t suck.

    On second thought, maybe I need to think that simile through a litle more.

    Trey

  4. The process is a lot more automated than i realized, and involves very little actual smoking. Fortunately, the video didn’t start with the slaughterhouse.

  5. The narrator begins by saying “They start with a load of pork bellies…”.

    As a dedicated carnivore, I’m not going to go on an anti-meat rant, but I’m pretty sure a live pig is involved at some early stage in the creation of bacon. Or maybe this factory grows those bellies in vats, starting from swine DNA?

  6. Can you imagine being the poor SOB that has to service the machines that cut up bacon before it even cooks?

    Just imagine crawling underneath the the conveyor belts and a big piece of rotting flesh just falls right in your face while you’re trying to replace a shaft.

    Plus there’s the fact that everywhere you go you’ll smelled like smoked ham. I hope those people get special clothing bonuses.

  7. 1) I’m glad that they run the bacon through a metal detector.

    2) It’s sad to think that they would have to run the bacon through a metal detector. (who bit into the first few batches where they didn’t to that? ouch!)

    3) The images of the slabs jiggling back and forth while they’re in the slicer like some kind of bacon dance of the seven veils will stay with me for a while. And not in a good way. *shudder*

  8. Do you think they have a seconds store at the factory? I don’t care if the piece is broken. Do the calories leak out of broken bacon like broken cookies? Then again, I wouldn’t be buying pre-cooked bacon.

  9. It seems that bacon, like sausage and law, is one of those products best not examined during production, or at least modern production.

    Still having it for breakfast.

  10. mattw @10:

    Based on the thickness (or thinness) of the slices, the metal detector probably keeps the slicer and microwave safe, not people. (Little bits of metal in the microwave hidden in a pork belly probably= bacon bits).

  11. This exact episode of “How It’s Made” is why I now avoid mass-produced wet-cure bacon.

    (watches again)

    Oof.

  12. I’m not sure I go for the pre-cooking part, but I don’t know if I can judge which is better, injecting liquid smoke or real smoking of the meat.

    Many would say, “Well of course, the old way is the best!” While that may be true, I am not enough of a bacon master to say so with authority.

  13. Mark @2

    I remember the Scrap Iron Chef! We even tried that technique, minus the junkyard. It makes some very good bacon, although it made the whole yard smell like a wood stove. Now we get our bacon from the farmers’ market. It’s just as good and we don’t have to deal with cranky neighbors.

    I don’t know if I ever saw precooked bacon in packaging like what we saw in the video. But I suspect those paper-thin, dispirited wisps of bacon we get on top of fast-food probably go through this exact process.

  14. And here I always wondered why “pork bellies” were part of farm commodity reports. Now I know! And knowing is half the battle. Or something like that.

    And I love that a cooked animal product gets a segment on “How It’s Made”. Right after kayaks and right before bolt fabrication?

  15. I like my women like I like my food.

    Long dead, and heavily processed.

    Er.

    Uh.

    Well… can I at least keep the … no.

    Helllllllooooooo Laydeeeeeeeeeeez! I won’t hang you off hooks and slice you! How many guys say *THAT* up front?

  16. Scott
    I remember the Scrap Iron Chef! We even tried that technique, minus the junkyard. It makes some very good bacon, although it made the whole yard smell like a wood stove. Now we get our bacon from the farmers’ market. It’s just as good and we don’t have to deal with cranky neighbors.

    What sort of horribly mutated fiends do you have living next door who would be cranky about having the yard smell like smoking bacon? Seriously, have you tested their DNA for alien proteins?

  17. Sam’s Club carries bacon packaged for restaurants, 10 lbs at a price that is competitive with the cheapest per-pound package at the grocery store. It’s about 100% better quality, especially if you pick and choose (I suspect it’s one or two bellies because the pieces are fairly uniform).

    It is raw bacon strips on sheets of some kind of paper that keeps the ‘leaves’ separated, we part them out into approx. 1 lb packages and put them into the freezer.

    Very good, very easy to flip onto the griddle, etc. We loves our bacon here, for sure.

  18. Wow, that brought back some memories. I spent nine years writing warehouse management software and some of our biggest contracts were meat packing plants. I spent many long weekends on the “slicing line” trying to correct problems with the code.

    As an aside to those of you who were somehow disturbed by the video, bacon processing is the least of the horrors I witnessed in some of those places.

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