I remember with vivid intensity the day I realized that the bacon bits my mother sprinkled over our hot baked potatoes were not made out of actual bacon. In fact, the Boyardee-esquely titled Bac-Os she used didn’t have any meat in them at all and are, to this day, a vegan product. “Well,” my 13-year-old self said upon the discovery, “this is just bullshit.”
It was one of those Wizard of Oz moments when you get a peek behind the curtain, only to discover that the all-knowing, all-powerful wizard is, in reality, a paunchy, middle-aged liar. It’s the kind of moment that leads people to punk rock and social activism, or even nihilism. Bac-Os masquerading as a bacon product was every bit as phony as the politicians on TV who always seemed to interrupt The A-Team or Knight Rider with their blathering, and it pissed me off just as much.
So, you can imagine my glee when I was informed that a new product called Bacon Dust, made of honest-to-goodness bacon, was coming to market. Master Purveyors, the New York company known for supplying high-end Manhattan steakhouses with dry-aged prime beef, debuted the product recently at the Great Big Bacon Picnic in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Their Bacon Dust burger patties combined the product with prime short rib, chuck and brisket, and were said to be a big hit. Sadly, I wouldn’t know, since I couldn’t attend the festival. But much to my good fortune, the nice people at Master Purveyors offered to send me some.
I didn’t know what to expect, seeing as the product is spanking-new and there’s little marketing information available. I imagined, perhaps, a can of crisp, airy bacon sprinkles much like the Bac-Os of my youth, only not filled with lies. This, it turns out, is not what I received in the mail. No, what I got was actually four pounds of uncured, fruitwood-smoked raw bacon chunks. And you have to admit, “raw pork hunks” sounds significantly less intriguing and appetizing than “Bacon Dust.” Apparently, some assembly was required.
Undaunted, I set out to turn this comically massive package of pork into something resembling my idea of what Bacon Dust should be. It wasn’t particularly difficult; cooking perfect strips of bacon is probably a little trickier. I accomplished the task two ways: At 400F in the oven for about 11 minutes on a bed of aluminum foil, and simply fried up in a skillet. In no time, my crispy bacon was ready, and the house smelled wonderful. The bits were still larger than what loomed in my imagination, though, so I gathered about five ounces of the cooked bacon, dried it as much as possible with paper towels, and gave it a few good pulses in the food processor. Et voila: Bacon Dust two ways, both in small chunks and in lighter, more delicate bits. I wouldn’t describe either as being dust-like, but they sure would come in handy when it came time to add some bacony delight to whatever I might decide to cook up.
The main thing you should know about Bacon Dust is that it’s delicious. It’s described as “uncured, applewood smoked” bacon but, as we’ve come to know, smoking is actually a curing process, though there seemed to be no evidence, taste-wise, of added nitrates. The meat itself was mildly salty, and you can immediately tell that this was a cut above supermarket bacon. I was eager to see how it would hold up in some composed dishes.
Bacon Dust Deviled Eggs
Bacon is a natural addition to classic deviled eggs, because bacon and eggs are soulmates. The result was exactly as good as I’d hoped. I kept the recipe simple—people tends to fuss with deviled eggs too much and everything gets lost—topping the filled egg halves with a sprinkle of paprika, chives, and Bacon Dust. The result? Top notch, fantastic devils with the perfect balance of creaminess in the egg mixture, bite from the onion, and smoky, porcine, beautiful bacon.
Bacon Dust TKG (Tamago Kake Gohan)
This dish is not for everybody, but it’s definitely for me. I have absolutely no problems eating raw eggs as long as they’re fresh. Put simply, tamago kake gohan is a basic breakfast dish consisting of rice and raw egg served all over Japan. In its simplest form, TKG is those two main components, with a little soy sauce and whatever condiments you want to sprinkle on top. For me, this meant a smattering of diced nori, a pinch of chicken salt I smuggled back from Australia, a few sesame seeds, and Bacon Dust. The verdict on this one comes in the form of a question: Why don’t you see bacon bits on tamago kake gohan all the time? Two big thumbs up here, 10/10, would eat again. Probably tomorrow, as a matter of fact.
The Bacon Dust Elvis
In honor of my family in Memphis and the lasting culinary and musical legacy of Elvis Presley, I deployed the Bacon Dust on a classic, open-faced Elvis sandwich—peanut butter, banana, honey, and bacon—It was a no-brainer, and an out-of-the-park home run. I don’t think I have to say much more about this one other than that I firmly believe the King himself, were he alive today (and who knows, maybe he is), would shake his hips in approval.
Bacon Dust is a really great idea. Sure, having to actually cook the product yourself is a little messy and time-consuming, certainly less so than buying a can of “Fake-Os” at the store. But it’s worth the effort. I now have a considerable amount of the stuff at my disposal, and I doubt it’ll last long, as I plan to put it on pizza, in omelets, salads, guacamole, tacos… maybe even on top of strips of bacon.
The old saw rings true here: Bacon really does make everything better.